The Camino de Santiago in Spain, also known as the Way of Saint James, has been a route for pilgrims seeking personal growth for centuries.
Next spring, 12 students from Miami Dade College will embark on a transformative, nine day journey on the historic path, courtesy of a new program focusing in human rights.
The group International Solidarity for Human Rights is underwriting the students’ travel expenses, fees and lodging. Miami business man and philanthropist Mike Fernandez , a long time MDC supporter who walked the Camino in 2014, is collaboration on the itinerary as well.
“This opportunity, for students, it is the perfect time for them to learn about themselves and who they will become.” said Fernandez, chairman of the private equity firm MBF HealthCare Partners and namesake of MDC’s Miguel B. Fernandez Family School of Global Business, Trade and Transportation.
Fernandez, wrote a book: Humble by the Journey; Life lessons for my family … and Yours, recounting the influence of the 508-mile pilgrimage on his success as a health insurance magnate. The book will be a pre-travel reading assignment for students, who must complete a capstone project after they return as a way to pay forward the opportunity. They will also participate in a human rights class led by the Solidarity organization and conduct a human rights workshop at Miami Dade County public school.
This merit based scholarship – the only one funded by a third party for study abroad – will be awarded to students who demonstrate outstanding change making potential.
In Spain, the students will hike through the 13 stops of the Camino Primitivo path- part of the longer route, while considering how to transform their journey into meaningful action respectful of human rights. The Camino Primitivo has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Eric Belokon, a psychology professor at Wolfson Campus, who helped create the program, said it showcases “the College’s commitment to social and civic outreach. It will be a guide for our students as lifelong change-makers and advocates for human rights”