Category Archives: Asia

A Message from World Learning President Donald Steinberg on the Nepal Earthquake

We at World Learning were saddened by last weekend’s devastating earthquake in Nepal. We are grateful to report that all students and staff of our SIT Study Abroad programs in Nepal are unhurt and in safe locations. We have already begun evacuating them from Nepal.  We are posting regular updates on our SIT website, World Learning has a long history in Nepal. We have had programs in the country for more than 40 years, and we have deep bonds with communities where we operate. Over the past few days, we have heard from many alumni and community members who want to help those in the SIT family who have been impacted by this tragedy. The outpouring of support and well wishes underscores the strength of our connections with this beautiful country. In response, we have established the SIT Community … Continue reading

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Propelling Pakistani Women Forward in Modern Agriculture

When you think of a farmer in Pakistan, you don’t immediately think of a woman. Rabia Sultan is rapidly changing that perception. As an educated Pakistani entrepreneur who has been working in agriculture for the last twenty years, she is doing more than just breaking stereotypes – she is farming better than her peers. She credits this to training funded by the U.S. government which has added to her skill set and knowledge. At the ten-day “On-Farm Water Management Training” arranged by the USAID Training for Pakistan Project, she learned about an essential part of farming – how to use water economically and effectively. Training on this topic imparted modern irrigation techniques to a group of 32 progressive farmers and public sector representatives “The training challenged traditional ways of thinking about water management and helped to determine solutions that work in our … Continue reading

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Sharing development stories with the Pakistani people

World Learning’s Training for Pakistan Program helps fill gaps in training for Pakistani partners of USAID development projects. Aisha Sarwari, the program’s communications officer, speaks to Kimberly Abbott, Vice President of Communications, about spreading the message of USAID’s work in the context of Pakistan’s active and growing media environment. Aisha Sarwari, communications officer for World Learning’s Training for Pakistan Program, has 12 years of experience working in the private to government sectors in the US and Pakistan. She was recognized as a development innovator by the Pakistan Innovation Foundation in 2014 for spearheading an organization for development sector professionals and has worked on project focused on issues including business, agriculture, and women’s empowerment. Sarwari has written on women’s issues for the past 10 years in her columns in Daily Times and Express Tribune (affiliated with International Herald Tribune). Her opinions … Continue reading

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Building a Culture of Literacy in Pakistan

Pakistan has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. In this interview with Vice President of Communications Kimberly Abbott, Dr. Meredith McCormac explains how World Learning is working on the ground to help build a culture of literacy in Pakistan. Dr. Meredith McCormac, World Learning’s country representative in Pakistan, is an international educationist with 10 years’ experience working globally on programs to improve educational access and quality. Meredith was awarded her Ph.D. in International Education Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2012, after completing her dissertation work in Ethiopia on a U.S. Department of State Fulbright research grant. Meredith has worked with World Learning since 2010 in various capacities and countries including Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia, Liberia, Burma, Algeria, Peru, and the U.S.

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Pakistani Grower Follows Training in Holland, Builds His Own Greenhouse

Naeem Qazi participated in this course as part of World Learning’s Training for Pakistan Program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development. This post was originally published on It was republished here with permission. Read the original post. Controlled environment agriculture might not be the first thing that you will associate with Pakistani farmers, but nothing less is true. Grower Naeem Qazi was one of the first to build a greenhouse with a steerable climate. In order to learn the ins and outs of greenhouse cultivation he went all the way to Holland to follow a training course at GreenQ in The Hague.  “Greenhouse growing is not something completely new to Pakistan”, Naeem told us. “But greenhouse growing with the help of heating systems is something that has not had much practise yet. I was interested … Continue reading

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Sydney Temple: Advancing Leadership

As a sophomore at Macalester College, Sydney Temple was weighing his study abroad options when he came across some photos of Nepal. “I grew up in the mountains,” he says, “and there was something about the scale and grandeur of the Himalayas that pulled me in.” Syd went on to spend six months in Nepal with SIT Study Abroad, living with a local family and studying traditional Nepalese belief systems. After just two weeks studying the Nepali language, Syd arrived in the country and found himself in a household without a single English speaker. The immersive experience paid off, and Syd and his peers quickly became comfortable holding basic conversations in Nepali. “People were so open and welcoming,” he recalls. “We may speak different languages or seem foreign to each other at first, but deep down, everybody’s pretty much the … Continue reading

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New Technologies: Cisco and World Learning

Cisco Systems plays a vital role in helping World Learning empower the next generation of global citizens. In partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Cisco, and World Learning have established technology training programs to improve economic opportunities for young people in Mexico and Burma. This year Cisco also donated equipment with a market value of more than $92,000 to help World Learning upgrade its infrastructure. “World Learning is proud to partner with Cisco on programs that improve youth employment opportunities and strengthen communities,” said President and CEO Donald Steinberg. “We’re also grateful for Cisco’s generous donation of equipment. Having high-quality technology enables us to continue our work implementing education, exchange, and development programs around the globe.” In Northern Mexico, Cisco, World Learning, and USAID are collaborating to create Cisco Networking Academies that provide Information Communications Technology and … Continue reading

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Celebrating Human Rights in Myanmar

By Adam LeClair, program director for the Institute for Political and Civic Engagement World Learning’s Institute for Political and Civic Engagement (iPACE) in Myanmar celebrated Human Rights Day with an event featuring prominent human rights advocates, group discussions, and a documentary screening. More than 100 people attended the December 10 event, which was held at the American Center in Yangon. The day kicked off with opening remarks from three well-known human rights advocates: Aung Myo Min, executive director of Equality Myanmar; Khin Lay, director of Triangle Women Support Group; and Dr. Saw Hlaing Bwa, a professor at Myanmar Institute of Theology’s Judson Research Center. Referencing this year’s Human Rights Day theme Human Rights 365, the speakers emphasized the need to defend human rights on a daily basis, 365 days a year. They also called upon men to take up the … Continue reading

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The Power of Collaboration in Southeast Asia

Nearly two-thirds of Southeast Asia’s population is under the age of 35. The region is undergoing rapid economic, political, and social change, and this next generation will need strong leadership skills to navigate the challenges associated with these changes and shape their countries’ futures. In 2013 President Barack Obama launched the Youth Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) to support the region’s best young leaders. As part of these efforts World Learning organized the YSEALI Generation: Power of Collaboration conference in Myanmar (Burma) for 20 young leaders from 10 Southeast Asian countries in November. The three-day conference exposed participants to Myanmar’s unique development environment, where young people seek to take on greater leadership roles in their countries’ democratic transition. It included panel discussions, workshops, and meetings with members of civil society, technology start-ups, and government officials. The conference culminated in a … Continue reading

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Dalai Lama Holds Private Audience for SIT Students

Students studying Tibetan and Himalayan history and religion got the experience of a lifetime last week when they had a private audience with the Dalai Lama. The twenty students participating in SIT Study Abroad’s Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples program, met with His Holiness during an educational excursion to Dharamsala, India, and discussed the importance of finding happiness within, employing secular ethics, and practicing compassion toward others. Explaining that he thinks of himself as “one being out of seven billion human beings,” the Dalai Lama said people are all essentially the same and want a “happy life and no more suffering.” However, he underscored that happiness can only come from within. “The ultimate source of happiness is not on money, not power, but within ourselves,” His Holiness said. He told the students that it is everyone’s responsibility to teach the next generation and … Continue reading

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