Our Story

We are educators at heart. We help teachers identify the best way their students learn, one child at a time. We help young adults access the hard and soft skills they need to find relevant jobs, and help organizations identify what they need to succeed. We help civil society activists connect with one another to build vibrant democracies. We work with students, teachers, refugees, health care workers, education ministers, coffee farmers and everyone in between. In all of our work, we help people find their voice, transform, lead, and become the best version of themselves. We help them: Graduate. Advocate. Learn. Lead. Disrupt.  We help individuals, communities and institutions create the change needed for a more peaceful and just world.

Making the world a better place takes time and we’re in it for the long haul. For 85 years we’ve invested the time and resources to educate, train, and reduce poverty and conflict. 

Welcome to World Learning, a nonprofit organization working to empower people, communities and strengthen institutions around the world through education, sustainable development, and exchange programs. Our mission is to create the change necessary for a more equal, prosperous and peaceful world.

Global Development

World Learning has programs in over 100 countries.  We’re hard at work improving education, lifting up women and children, wiping out poverty and exclusion, encouraging youth participation, and supporting government accountability.  We’re creating the foundations for a better tomorrow.

But we don’t do it alone. We work with local experts, organizations, and institutions in respectful, collaborative, and adaptable partnerships.  Our local partners value our core strengths in teacher training, workforce development, civic engagement and institution-building to help them drive change.

We believe in the importance of context. Each place and story is unique, and our programs are implemented by local experts who are leading the way in their own communities. We support those leaders with local, regional, and international experts who foster an exchange of knowledge and skills across the globe.World Learning’s development programs have bettered the lives of tens of thousands of individuals from many different walks of life.

For example, our Quality Instruction Toward Access and Basic Education Improvement project in Lebanon expands access to high quality education in public schools and helps Syrian refugee children integrate into the school system. Another education initiative, The Pakistan Reading Project, builds the reading skills of more than 2.5 million primary school students through teacher training, educational policy reform, and community engagement. In North Africa, The Algeria STEAM Resource and Training Center offers educational programs for youth in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) to stimulate innovation, critical thinking, and communication skills. In higher education, The Malawi Scholarship Program offers master’s degree, certificate, and other academic programs for some 800 healthcare workers in order to improve healthcare delivery and management in the country. In Asia, the Leaders Advancing Democracy- Mongolia Program supports the country’s next generation of democratic leaders through training, civic education activities, and international exchanges. Similarly, our Institute for Political and Civic Engagement in Myanmar provides workshops for emerging leaders of diverse backgrounds on fundamental democratic principles and their practical applications, and promotes citizen engagement to foster more representative and accountable governance.

People-to-people Exchanges

GlobalTies U.S. logo In addition to working in communities around the globe, World Learning brings emerging leaders to the U.S. each year on a variety of exchange programs.

We offer short-term visits for individuals seeking professional development through meetings with U.S. and international counterparts, onsite industry and community discussions, and a broader view of core U.S. values and culture. Our academic exchanges place international students in U.S. colleges and universities to strengthen their leadership and career-specific skills while they explore U.S. culture. On our youth programs, young people and high school students from around the globe learn about leadership, current affairs, and peacebuilding. Through these exchange programs we empower a cross-section of people to participate in the development of their careers and the transformation of their communities.

Our International Visitor Leadership Program customizes programs for professionals in almost every field to get a first-hand look at trends, best practices and new ways of tackling challenges with their professional counterparts in the U.S. Our UGRAD program exposes university students from around the world to the U.S. educational system, civil society and as well as our country’s racial, religious, and ethnic diversity. The Transformational Leadership Scholarships and Partnerships Program helps train a new generation of Kosovar leaders to drive economic, political, and social change in their country through higher education opportunities in the U.S.  The Jovenes en Accion program helps teenagers in Mexico promote a culture of well-being among their peers and build leadership skills by participating in community projects and training in the U.S. Our Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program brings Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish high school students to the U.S. to learn about leadership, diversity, civic responsibility, and community engagement. These are only a sample of the dozens of programs we run each year.

Our youth programming extends to U.S. teens too. We provide opportunities for high school students to travel overseas through World Learning’s flagship program, The Experiment in International Living. Founded in 1932, The Experiment offers three-to-five week summer programs abroad in more than two dozen countries. Experimenters connect deeply and engage meaningfully with the richness and complexities of another country through homestays, outdoor excursions, and meetings with local leaders and civil society groups. Program themes include cultural discovery, sustainability and the environment, language study, and community service.

How We Do It

All World Learning programs are built around five key principles. The first is what we call our “teach, listen, learn approach to collaborating with community partners to tailor our work to the local, cultural context, makes what we do more effective and sustainable. We also evaluate and reflect on each program after it is completed to measure its impact and discover ways to improve future programs. Our programs develop leaders who have a strong sense of civic responsibility, can establish relationships with diverse groups of people, and have the knowledge and skills to create positive change in their communities. We promote inclusion across our programs by making sure typically marginalized groups, such as women, people with disabilities, LGBT persons and religious and ethnic minorities are represented. Their contributions improve our programs and help us expand their reach by drawing on the full knowledge, experience, and skills of all parts of society.  Our work strengthens institutions to better serve their communities by helping them develop more effective and accountable systems and policies. Finally, we continuously seek innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges by partnering with a diverse group of individuals, communities, and institutions.

How can I help?

Our global impact depends on you. Your gift will touch lives in dozens of countries thanks to World Learning's decades of experience and extensive local networks on the ground.

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