Category Archives: Film

Seeds of Change

Gretchen Powers is a photographer, documentary filmmaker, and alumna of SIT Nepal: Development and Social Change. During her independent study project, Powers filmed “Seeds of Change,” a documentary about apple growers in the Kali Gandaki River Valley of Nepal. Purna’s brown weathered hand offered me a bright yellow apple.  Kept for five months in cold storage below her guesthouse in the foothills of the Himalayas, the apple still felt firm and tasted completely fresh.  It was a little drier and had a tougher skin than the apples that I grew up with back in Vermont, but it was an apple just the same.  Purna had just finished an on-camera interview with me for a short documentary film I was working on, sharing her story of the changes that were occurring due to the new bi-pass road that had been constructed … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Environment, Field Notes, Film, Photography, SIT Study Abroad, Sustainability, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

World Learning and Girl Rising on International Day of the Girl

World Learning marked International Day of the Girl on October 11 with a panel discussion focused on the UN’s 2013 theme, “Innovating for Girls’ Education.” Inspired by the film Girl Rising, the panel discussion featured an introduction by World Learning President and CEO Donald Steinberg, and was moderated by Tara Sonenshine, an Emmy–award winning journalist and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Three panelists discussed the variety of successful solution-oriented programs that are being implemented around the world to improve girls’ access to both primary and secondary education. The panelists included: Gary Barker, international director of Promundo-DC, a Brazilian-based NGO that works locally, nationally, and internationally to promote gender equity and to reduce violence against children, women, and youth. Barker discussed research on men, violence, gender, health, and conflict around … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Event, Film, International Day of the Girl, International Development, Women and Girls | Leave a comment

World Learning screens “Wretches and Jabberers” to promote a more inclusive world.

Last week World Learning hosted a screening and discussion of the film Wretches and Jabberers, about two men with autism working to change perceptions about intelligence and disabilities. World Learning President and CEO Donald Steinberg and Charlotte McLain-Nhlapo, coordinator of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office for Disability and Inclusive Development, opened the screening by discussing the importance of inclusive development practices. Steinberg said it is essential to involve historically marginalized groups, such as persons with disabilities, in efforts to create “a more inclusive, democratic, prosperous, and peaceful world.” “We simply can’t afford to waste the talents of the 10 to 15 percent of the world’s population who have disabilities,” he said.  “At World Learning, this means ensuring that we are organizing specific development, exchange, and education programs for people with disabilities; prioritizing issues of disabilities in all … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Global Citizenship, Global Dialogues, Global Health, Inspired To Act, International Development, international exchange | Leave a comment

Documenting the Ganges, From Start to Finish

Alex Cunningham is a filmmaker and alumnus of SIT Study Abroad India. His newest film, Rose Tree Apple Island, was an official selection at the 2012 Raindance Film Festival and the 2013 Victoria Film Festival. It is my birthday, a Saturday in April 2011, and I squat down on a rock and dip my cupped hands into an ice cold river in northern India. This water has only been in liquid form for a few moments now.  I am at the glacial source. As I watch my hands turn purple from the freezing water it, strikes me that these drops of water will eventually make their way downhill and support hundreds of millions of people throughout the Indian subcontinent. I had seen the holy Ganges River before on several occasions without making the connection. The river did not look anything … Continue reading

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School-Community Partnerships for a Better Tomorrow

Nearly one million children in Ethiopia are affected by the AIDS epidemic. Through the School-Community Partnership Serving HIV-Affected Orphans and Vulnerable Children (SCOPSO) program, World Learning has provided comprehensive care and support for at least 52,000 children in need across the country. Sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the program also empowers schools and communities to improve the wellbeing of children affected by HIV/AIDS and lessen the local impact of the AIDS epidemic. World Learning is in the process of completing a documentary about the program, which showcases some of the students who benefit from the program and hard-working staff who make it possible. We’ll be posting the new video soon. In the meantime get an overview of the SCOPSO program by watching this short video … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Education, Ethiopia, Field Notes, Film, HIV/AIDS, International Development, NGOs, Video, Youth | 1 Comment

2012 World Learning Changemakers

2012 was quite a year for World Learning, from celebrating our 80th anniversary, to new program developments across the board.  To end 2012 on a high note, we reached out to our program staff, faculty, and academic directors to learn about some of the most innovative and energetic young World Learning Changemakers. Below is a list of extraordinary young people who have passed through World Learning in recent years as. Keep an eye out for these names, as we expect to hear much more about them in the years to come. Hiba Ahmed and Marwa Athari – Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program Upon returning to Iraq after the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, Hiba Ahmed and Marwa Athari  teamed up to create Healthy, Clean, Green Iraq, a group that encourages social change and grassroots activism in their hometown of Najaf, … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Experiment in International Living, Film, Global Health, International Development, international exchange, International Honors Program, SIT Graduate Institute, SIT Study Abroad, Sustainability, Uncategorized, Video | 3 Comments

SIT Study Abroad Academic Director Explores Personal History Through Film Trilogy

Though Ismael Saavedra, academic director of SIT Study Abroad’s Bolivia program, has directed dozens of films and documentaries around the world, it took more than 20 years for him to begin telling his own story. In 1980, Saavedra was imprisoned and subsequently exiled from Bolivia during the dictatorship of Luis Garcia Mesa. He spent the next twenty years creating documentary films about indigenous cultures around the world. Jiwasa, a documentary film released in 2008, begins with Saavedra’s return to Bolivia in 1999 (the same year he became the academic director of the SIT Study Abroad Bolivia program), and ends with the inauguration of President Evo Morales in 2006. The film includes clips from Saavedra ‘s first trip back to the area where he grew up, cultural festivals, parades and political rallies. Like much of Saavedra’s work, Jiwasa wraps a personal … Continue reading

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Lens on Latin America

In March documentarian Mark Kendall premiered his film “La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus” at SXSW in Austin, Texas. The film tells the story of a decommissioned American school bus and the five men who purchased and transformed it into a vehicle for public transport and financial opportunity in Guatemala. Kendall, who first picked up a video camera as a student on SIT Study Abroad’s Bolivia program, is no stranger to exploring social issues in Latin America through film. Kendall was initially drawn to the story when he learned that a bus he was riding on during a trip to Guatemala came from a school district only twenty minutes from where he attended college in Tennessee. The discovery left him wondering about all the different lives the bus had affected in the US and in Guatemala. He … Continue reading

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Filmmakers Capture Wangari Maathai’s Vision

A decade ago, filmmakers Alan Dater and Lisa Merton began working on a feature length film about Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and a World Learning trustee. Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai was released in English in 2008 and today marks the release of the first international edition of the film–just a few months ahead of the first anniversary of Maathai’s death. The new edition features dubbed versions of the film in three languages, with eight more languages coming soon. World Learning spoke with filmmaker Lisa Merton and the film’s outreach coordinator Susal Stebbins Collins–both SIT Graduate Institute alumnae–about Maathai, the film, and the Green Belt Movement. World Learning: Taking Root: The vision of Wangari Maathai was initially released in 2008. Were you planning to release the international edition all along, … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Film, Global Citizenship, SIT Graduate Institute, Uncategorized, Video, Women and Girls | 1 Comment

World Learning Alumna Recognized by the State Department

Congratulations to Noof Assi, the US State Department’s State Alumni Member of the Month for May 2012. She was selected for her efforts to promote youth civic engagement through social media in Iraq. Assi traveled to the US in 2010 on the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) administered by World Learning. The program inspired her to become a youth activist in Iraq and she co-founded the grassroots organization Iraqi Streets 4 Change after returning home. Assi now works as a project assistant and social media trainer for the nonprofit Iraqi Al-Amal Association. More than 800 Iraqi high school and undergraduate students have participated in the IYLEP program since 2007. World Learning is excited to host a new group of students this summer and will have more details to share on the upcoming program soon. Check out our recent interview … Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, Film, Global Citizenship, Global Dialogues, Inspired To Act, International Development, international exchange, Interview, Video | 1 Comment