Category Archives: Inspired To Act

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Honoring a Libyan Human Rights and Democracy Champion: Salwa Bugaighis

By Scott Lansell On the evening of July 16, I had the honor of participating in a gathering of friends and family of Salwa Bugaighis, a lifelong advocate for democracy and human rights in Libya. She was assassinated in her home on June 26 in Bengazi soon after voting in her home town in the parliamentary elections. In the well-attended reception at Vital Voices’ office, where participants joined together to share their stories of Salwa, I spoke of my chance to meet this great woman two years ago alongside my daughter, who was only 10 years old at the time. Despite our brief meeting, Salwa left a great impression on our lives. This became most apparent when after hearing of Salwa’s assassination less than a month ago, I told my daughter the tragic news. This was the very first time (and hopefully the last) … Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, Civil Society/Institutional Strengthening, CSOs, Inspired To Act, News, Policy Advocacy, Women and Girls, Youth | Leave a comment

The Rwandan Genocide, 20 Years Later

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the ethnic conflict in Rwanda. From April to July 1994, as many 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority, were murdered. Lily Kruglak was only five years old when this all occurred, but has much to say about the long-term effects she witnessed on the ground as an SIT Study Abroad student in 2010. As an SIT alumna, she remains passionate about peacebuilding and works to prevent conflicts like these from happening again. Kruglak was a peace and conflict studies major at Juniata College when she applied to the Rwanda/Uganda program with SIT Study Abroad. Her goal was to have an abroad experience that would bring a new element to her studies. “It was an opportunity to study something tangible instead of the abstract,” she said. “It felt irresponsible to … Continue reading

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World Learning Recieves $70,000 Grant from Newman’s Own Foundation

Newman’s Own Foundation has given World Learning a $70,000 grant to support its Alumni Engagement Initiative (AEI). The initiative gives recent student alumni of World Learning’s inbound exchange programs to the United States opportunities to build on their experiences through training, mentorship, and community service projects in their home communities. The grant from Newman’s Own Foundation will help fund the fourth AEI cycle. AEI’s goal is to empower a diverse, global group of fellows to become community service leaders in their home countries and to help fellows and their communities realize the value of philanthropy. Each program begins with an online training course in business planning, budgeting, and reporting, connects a global cohort of fellows to each other and to experts in the United States for lessons, monitoring, and real-time collaboration. Participants also work with mentors selected from the World … Continue reading

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SIT Study Abroad Alumna Recognized for Social Innovation in Microfinance

First Access Tanzania Team It is estimated that 2.5 billion people in the world have no access to financial services because they have no financial identity and live in areas that are still too expensive and remote for microfinance institutions to reach. Nicole Stubbs was recently recognized as the winner of the William James Foundation Sustainable Business Plan Competition. She and her company are using social innovation to change this trend and put those in the informal economy on the financial information grid. “Think about everything in your wallet,” says Stubbs. “Your license, your bank cards, your key cards are all part of a formal financial identity that many don’t have.” Stubbs is co-founder of First Access, which has developed a new technology that will use mobile and other records to establish formal financial identities for people in informal markets … Continue reading

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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

“Stitch by Stitch”: How Two SIT Students Helped Launch a Sewing School in South Africa

By Jessica Tremayne and Ashley Wagner On a sunny day in March, Roselina Nombhinqo Shiyani greeted us with a grin. We soon found out she would be our host mama for our time in Tshabo, a small village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Jobs are increasingly hard to come by in Tshabo, with more and more people leaving each year in search of employment, but she has created her own source of income. Sewing anything from aprons to pants, she is a talented seamstress, as her sales — and she — will tell you. One afternoon, while sewing in the kitchen, Mama asked us if we knew of any means to get funding for sewing machines and supplies. She wanted to teach the other women of Tshabo how to sew, so that they could create an income for … Continue reading

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Giving Back

Lisa Gurwitch’s connection with World Learning goes back to the 1970’s when she traveled to Mexico and Spain with The Experiment in International Living. After her programs she lost touch with the organization, but was reintroduced to it by a board member several years ago and was impressed with its growth and “the breadth of its engagement around the world.” However, she felt there were still opportunities for World Learning to expand its work and, more personally, to use her extensive professional experience in philanthropy to give back to the organization that opened “a window into the world” for her. She rejoined as senior vice president for institutional advancement and external relations, with the goal of growing the community of individuals, organizations, companies, and others that support World Learning’s mission and programming. Gurwitch explained that many people are unaware of … Continue reading

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Providing Micro-economic Support for Sub-Saharan Africa

Susan Plimpton is an alumna of both The Experiment in International Living and SIT Graduate Institute. She also served on World Learning’s Board of Trustees from 1998-2010 and is now a trustee emerita. This profile was originally featured in the 2012 World Learning Annual Report. Visit our website to read the full report. When Susan and David Plimpton were asked by World Learning six years ago to consider funding a leadership program for young-adults in the war-ravaged country of Uganda, they quickly agreed. Their abiding concern for this part of the world had started years before—first when a summer in Sweden with The Experiment in International Living raised Susan’s international awareness, and later during her internships in Tanzania and Italy while a graduate student at the School for International Training (now SIT Graduate Institute). “When I visited the program, I … Continue reading

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Feeding the World

For more than 30 years October 16 has been recognized as World Food Day, dedicated to raising awareness of global hunger and poverty and celebrating the efforts of those working to eliminate them. Worldwide nearly one billion people still suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition. Find out how you can take action to help end hunger today. Then read about some of the ways World Learning has contributed to the fight against hunger. In Ethiopia, primary school teacher Almaz W/Senbet makes sure her students never go hungry. A group of women entrepreneurs in Latin America use sustainable agriculture to spur economic development. A policy advocacy course inspired graduate student Joshua Davis’ work on local food security project.

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Alumni Grant Brings Computers Back to School

It was a simple program requirement, 10 hours of volunteer work, that taught Jaime Montoya one of the most important things he learned while on the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD)—the value of community service. “Now I cannot think about myself without volunteering,” he said. Montoya spent the 2009–2010 academic year as a Global UGRAD exchange student at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, studying computer science and learning about American culture. World Learning administers the Global UGRAD Programs in three regions on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. When he returned home to El Salvador, Montoya completed his degree and continued contributing to the community by volunteering with ConTextos, a local nonprofit that creates libraries and provides teacher training for schools in need. This year Montoya was one of the first participants in … Continue reading

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