Category Archives: Exchange

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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Youth Leaders Reflect on their US Exchange

World Learning recently hosted the Youth Ambassadors Program with Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The program brings high school students to the United States for several weeks to build leadership and civic engagement skills. The students visit different cities throughout the country to live with host families and participate in American cultural events and community service projects. We caught up with two of the students, Irene from Ecuador and Joe from Peru, at the end of their program in Washington, DC, to find out more about their time in the United States and what they learned on the program. What has your experience in the United States been like? Irene: This is the best experience ever because we shared moments with people from other countries, from South America—from Bolivia and Peru—and from here too, … Continue reading

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Class is in Session

It’s fall, the weather is cooling down, leaves will start turning soon, and students are back in class. This semester more than 1,400 students are going back to school through World Learning programs. Students on SIT Study Abroad programs immerse themselves in other cultures and conduct original research in more than 30 countries. At SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont and Washington, DC, master’s degree candidates will prepare to be effective leaders, professionals, and citizens in intercultural and international environments. Through the Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, college students from dozens of countries will spend a semester or a year at colleges and universities across the United States. High school students from Eurasia and from countries with significant Muslim populations will also spend a year in the United States through the State Department’s Future Leaders … Continue reading

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IYLEP Participants Meet Vice President Biden

It was the culmination of a remarkable summer in which more than 140 youth and mentors from Iraq and the US gathered as part of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). Joe Biden, vice president of the United States, asked to take a selfie with the group during their meeting with him at the White House. At the White House meeting, the IYLEP group sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) heard remarks from Biden about the hope he has for Iraq. He reminded the group of the struggles and long history the United States has and continues to face in becoming a prosperous democracy. Biden also emphasized that both countries share an incredible ethnic and political diversity in their societies, a diversity that can be promoted and leveraged by youth. At … Continue reading

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Reflections on an IVLP Exchange

By Meghan Simpson, World Learning Program Officer In May 2014, World Learning hosted a group of 10 visitors from South Asia for an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) exchange on the topic of “Combating Trafficking in Persons.” IVLP is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Our visitors, all Bengali-speakers, represented non-governmental organizations in neighboring areas of India and Bangladesh. Over the course of their three-week program, they traveled from coast to coast. Beginning in Washington, D.C., they also visited New York, New York; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Tucson, Arizona; and San Francisco, California. In addition to a focus on efforts to stem the tide of trafficking in persons (TIP) and support to survivors of trafficking, their program was designed to stimulate thinking about cross-border collaboration. I followed up with two visitors, Sujit Ghosh of India and Mohammed Tariqul Islam of Bangladesh, … Continue reading

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The Nail That Sticks Out

By Lauren Perrino, World Learning intern The nail that sticks out gets hammered in, or so the Japanese proverb goes. What if that nail completely popped out to create something new? Eight Japanese entrepreneurs participating in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program are great examples of this. They are innovative regional producers, many specializing in agriculture, and are participating in a program titled Regional Producers as Drivers of Innovation, Global Partnership, and Economic Growth. This project will introduce visitors to technical aspects of production, innovative technologies used by local entrepreneurs, and marketing techniques for launching new products. At American University the visitors conversed with Richard Linowes, assistant professor, and William Bellows, executive in residence at the Department of Management, about the different models of entrepreneurship in Japan and the United States. Eagerly, the group posed questions about … Continue reading

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International exchanges, the key to unlocking a country’s social and economic development?

By Maegan Shanks, World Learning Intern International exchange in many ways is the pulse of our global society. Each individual from each country and culture is stunningly different. Just like fingerprints, no two individuals are identical, and with over seven billion people inhabiting the earth, there are opportunities to learn and teach tolerance and how to accommodate for all differences. International exchanges are opportunities to engage, learn, teach, and support other members of our world. It is amazing how a simple idea of socializing with people from other countries/cultures can have a profound effect on a country’s social and economic development. For example, imagine, I go to a country with the idea of giving away 500 USD to each family to build a house on the hill that will help protect them from floods. I am confident that I have … Continue reading

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Mentoring a New Generation of Peace Builders

A Washington Nationals baseball game isn’t the most likely place to begin a peacebuilding process, but that’s exactly where SIT Graduate Institute alumni Jaime Horn and Kim Massey saw two young women from Syria and the United States put their differences behind them. Horn and Massey are the founders and sole staff members of the Andi Leadership Institute for Young Women (ALI), a new organization that brings together women from the United States and abroad for short-term peacebuilding and leadership workshops. The first ALI group, which included participants from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, spent three weeks in Washington, DC, and New York City this past August, where they engaged in dialogue sessions, met with prominent peace builders, and bonded during backyard barbecues and sporting events. While ALI is a new organization, Horn and Massey have been friends since 2008, when … Continue reading

Posted in Alumni, Education, Exchange, SIT Graduate Institute, Women and Girls, Youth | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

World Learning Reaffirms Longtime Commitment to Inclusivity for Persons with Disabilities

World Learning has long been committed to empowering a new generation of global citizens to build peace, prosperity and inclusive societies. Our work ranges from international professional educational exchanges to youth leadership programs to capacity-building support for NGOs. This fall brought an opportunity for all parts of the organization to consider how persons with disabilities can and should be included across programs and within our workplaces around the world. We marked National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October by coming together for a discussion by the District of Columbia Department on Disability Services (DDS) focused on employment services in Washington for persons with disabilities. The discussion encouraged us to explore how we can better ensure global offices that reflect a culture of inclusivity by actively hiring persons with disabilities, creating accessible workspaces, and presenting positive posters and materials representing an accommodating … Continue reading

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Ukrainian Journalist and IVLP Participant Considers Media Freedom

By Mykola Voroiov In August, I came to World Learning as a participant in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) titled “The role of civil society in fighting corruption.” I am a local political journalist and chief-editor of the investigative bureau for Euro-Patrol and I joined four other journalists from Ukraine for three weeks. During this time, we had the opportunity to visit different cities in the United States, including Santa Fe, San Diego, Cleveland, Washington, New York, and Chicago. For me, IVLP was an unprecedented opportunity to not only visit the US, but to also receive more information about its media, NGO and civil institutions, public sphere, etc. Currently, the information we receive in Ukraine concerning the US reflects a negative aftermath from our history with the USSR. Ukraine is an Eastern European country, and for … Continue reading

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