This program helped me explore who I am, and I am a leader.
World Learning’s programs help the next generation of global leaders gain a stronger sense of civic responsibility, establish relationships across ethnic, religious, and national lines, and develop the skills and knowledge to transform their communities and countries. We cultivate our program participants’ sense of civic responsibility in order to foster local activism and develop leadership and problem-solving skills that benefit their communities. The core principles of leadership, including mutual understanding, engagement in community and respect for others, are nurtured by our programs and recognizable in our results. Program participants routinely report an increase in confidence, cultural intelligence and empathy, and a clearer understanding of what it means to lead.
I always try to listen to everyone’s ideas, share mine with respect, and try to inspire others to be open-minded and choose to be different and help others, even with small actions. Because I believe that everyone can be a change maker.
Participant, Jóvenes en Acción
We develop leaders through our international youth exchanges, including our flagship program, The Experiment in International Living, which foster greater understanding and respect between young people around the world and their peers in the U.S. Our Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program brings Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish high school students to the U.S.to explore the themes of leadership development, civic rights and responsibilities, respect for diversity, and community engagement. These programs are designed to help young people understand their world, develop leadership and communication skills, build lasting friendships across cultures, and cultivate the ability, confidence, and motivation to make a difference in their communities. Our youth exchanges do not end with the participants return home - many go on to design and organize action projects in their communities, creating a multiplier effect by engaging friends and peers.
I learned that I still have to do a lot of things in my country, be more socially engaged and participate more in volunteer work; most important are the new ideas, because this gives us a strong way to change our country; that we could improve our leadership skills and this program made me stronger; people are the same all around the world.
Brazilian Participant from the Youth Ambassadors Program
Our programs develop a sense of duty among our participants to take initiative and drive change. Through professional development exchanges, for instance, teachers learn what works from their peers in other countries and bring those insights back to their own classrooms. We help promising young leaders network with peers in their region, such as through our Leaders Advancing Democracy Mongolia program, which brings young democratic activists together to collaborate on ways to solve their country’s most pressing issues. In Kosovo, our Transformational Leadership Program: Scholarships and Partnerships program gives a new generation of Kosovar leaders the opportunity to pursue master’s degrees at U.S. universities, then return home to work in the economic, political and social sectors, where they can use their new knowledge and skills to influence skills from within. We employ the same strategies in our global development programs. For example, In Algeria, our Algerian Innovation and Mentoring for Entrepreneurs (AIM-E) program provides participants with the skills and professional networks necessary to succeed in the job market.
Upon completing our programs, participants report a sense of responsibility to “pay it forward”, which they do through volunteerism, civic engagement initiatives, and continued involvement in their communities.