To Christian Ledford, knowledge goes beyond what’s learned in class—he has spent his college experience gaining different perspectives, engaging in productive dialogue and traveling to learn more about international relations.
Ledford has an adamant desire to both learn from and network with others.
“I have never been absent an opportunity to discuss issues and compare and contrast rival viewpoints on them,” he said. “I have always strived to learn above all else in the studies and courses in which I have engaged myself, many times at the expense of my preconceived notions and biases; this is a vital aspect of both a difference maker and conscientious student.”
Ledford’s authentic interest in others’ points of view and thoughtful contributions in class discussion opened a door that he considers a life-changing opportunity. He joined Professor Ronald Stockton on a 10-day study excursion organized by the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) to the Sultanate of Oman on the Persian Gulf. Since that trip, Ledford has been offered an internship with the U.S. Embassy in Oman.
“Christian is one of the most talented students I have had in the last decade,” Stockton said. “I am not sure where life will take him, but he is going to be a significant person. He has demonstrated those qualities that we most seek in a Difference Maker.”
Ledford, who volunteers with the Kiwanis Club and as a youth minister at his church, also is an award-winning member of campus’ successful Model Arab League team, a Pi Sigma Alpha political science organization member, and staff writer and op-ed contributor to The Michigan Journal.
He said his UM-Dearborn education will help him when he pursues law.
“This goal of mine is primarily based on my passion for individual liberty and dream of protecting individual rights,” he said. “A career in law and politics would allow me to protect the rights of others in a twofold fashion: In the legal field I envision working to defend the rights of others from unjust violation from either other individuals or the government; while in politics I envision drafting, supporting and passing legislation that fosters individual liberty and promotes self-reliance.”