What We Do
- WHERE WE WORK
Welcome Message from Carol Jenkins
For more than 90 years, World Learning has equipped individuals and institutions to address the world’s most pressing problems. We believe that, working together with our partners, we can change this world for the better.
On my travels, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many of those who have joined us in this mission. In Baghdad, we’ve trained more than 2,300 Iraqi youth who are already giving back at home. In London, our partners in the TAAP Initiative strongly believe that we are all responsible to practice inclusion. And in Vermont, our Experiment in International Living and School for International Training participants prove every day that they have the tools and the determination to change the world.
Please join us in our pursuit of a more peaceful and just world.
- Get Involved
How an Exchange Program Strengthened Sister National Parks in the U.S. and Slovenia
When U.S. Park Ranger John Duwe travelled to Slovenia as a Fulbright Specialist in June, it was his first time in Europe. The 33-year-old education coordinator at Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon received a two-week grant to share his technical expertise at the host country’s scenic Triglav National Park.
His program was coordinated to coincide with the park’s second GeoBioBlitz, an event which enables “citizen scientists” to work side-by-side with specialists documenting biodiversity in a specific area. This particular two-day activity also showcased the unique geology and geomorphology of the Vrata Valley of Triglav, the country’s only national park.
The previous month, a Memorandum of Understanding officially recognized Triglav and Crater Lake as sister parks — though the Slovenians refer to the relationship as “brothers.”
Duwe’s visit was perfectly timed to establish cooperation between the two parks and kick off the busy summer season — when throngs of visitors descend upon the area to enjoy the alpine splendor.
“It was an incredible experience,” says Duwe, who has worked for the U.S. National Park Service, part of the U.S. Department of Interior, since 2009. “Even though it’s short, there is a professional network ready to work with you. They’re excited to have you there. I don’t know if you could pack as much in the time if you tried to set it up yourself.”
Following the GeoBioBlitz, Duwe offered his Slovenian counterparts a few ideas for increasing public involvement in the event, such as youth activities for families who came to the park by chance.
“I gave them some tips on how they could incorporate new activities next year and easy ways to market the GeoBioBlitz via banners in the park and social media in the weeks leading up to it — things that work for us at Crater Lake,” he says.
In addition to sharing knowledge with local park rangers about common concerns like park management, educational scientific programs, and event marketing, he said his experience as a Fulbright Specialist sparked new innovative ideas to engage a broader community in educational activities back home in Oregon and beyond.
“I want to connect teachers in Oregon with teachers in Slovenia to establish bio pen pals,” says Duwe, who designs science curriculum for school trips to Crater Lake and earned a Master’s degree in environmental education. In addition, he would like to propose establishing a park ranger exchange between Triglav and Crater Lake — a sort of short term ranger-in-residence program — so each can learn best practices from the other.
He also discovered that Slovenia’s junior park ranger program is designed to develop the next generation of park rangers. In the U.S., junior park ranger activities are meant to engage youth across 400 national parks as a means to foster deep appreciation of nature conservation.
“Maybe we could do both,” says Duwe. “A longer term development program without giving up the fun stickers and patches.” Likewise, he notes, “Triglav park rangers think there is a lot of value in how we’re doing it in the U.S. — an inexpensive way to grow a junior program that’s more inclusive.”
Duwe’s colleagues back at Crater Lake National Park share in the excitement of the lessons learned from his Fulbright Specialist grant.
“John’s trip to Slovenia was the perfect way to kick off our new sister park relationship with Triglav,” says Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman. “He made great connections with Triglav National Park staff and came back excited with new ideas to try at Crater Lake that will enhance our junior ranger program as well as future BioBlitzes at the park. None of this would have been possible without the support we received from the Fulbright Specialist Program.”
Duwe is no stranger to international travel. He served with Peace Corps in Oruro, Bolivia in 2007 and 2008 as a Natural Resources Management Volunteer. Before that, he spent a year in La Serena, Chile as a Rotary Youth Exchange student during high school.
As a Fulbright Specialist, Duwe was reminded of the benefits of engaging with colleagues overseas.
“This trip to Slovenia really opened my eyes. I don’t just want to make someone in Chicago know about Crater Lake, I want to open it up internationally,” he says. “Conceptually my idea of distance learning has changed a lot and I’m excited to see how it plays out this winter when I’m designing new curriculum for the Crater Lake National Park website.”
He adds: “I hope other national parks will utilize the Fulbright Specialist exchange. It was perfect. It brings more rigor to the partnership.”
Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars
Participants are alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs and vary in age and level of expertise, but all will be engaged in the seminar topic and highly motivated to create change in their communities.
Please consult the list of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs below.
- U.S. citizen: https://exchanges.state.gov/us
- Non-U.S. citizen: https://exchanges.state.gov/non-us
Alumni TIES participants who are not U.S. citizens are nominated by the U.S. Embassies or Consulates in their countries. Please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country to learn how you can participate in Alumni TIES. Potential Alumni TIES participants who are living in the United States can apply for specific seminars managed by World Learning. The web link to online application will be distributed widely by the Office of Alumni Affairs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and also available on this web page two months before these select seminars.
All participants for Alumni TIES seminars are selected by the U.S. Department of State.
Alumni TIES seminars take place in six world regions and the U.S.; each seminar is three to four days for small groups of alumni. The seminars include speakers, capacity development trainings, and alumni networking activities. Through the small grants initiative, alumni have the opportunity to take action and make a positive difference in their communities.
Watch more videos about the Alumni TIES program.
Read stories from past participants about their experiences at the seminars or with their small grant projects on the Alumni TIES blog.
For information on programs for U.S. government-sponsored exchange program alumni visit the International Exchange Alumni website.
Alumni TIES is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by World Learning and the Office of Alumni Affairs, in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at State.
Communities Connecting Heritage
Communities Connecting HeritageSM Program Impact
CCH Alumni Small Grants
At the conclusion of the program’s third year, the CCH team opened the Communities Connecting Heritage Small Grants to organizational and community member alumni from all three CCH cycles. The following projects were selected for CCH Small Grant implementation.
Kristina Llane (Albania)
Title of Project: Beekeeping Tradition as and Educative Tool
This project aims to preserve and share the importance of local beekeeping traditions in the Gjirokastra community of Albania. Kristina will work with elementary school students to cultivate youth interest in beekeeping’s cultural role in their community. Throughout the project, students and teachers will contribute to an educational book on beekeeping to that will equip teachers to continue sharing with future classrooms. The project will conclude with a panel discussion focused on protecting and preserving culture, tradition, and the environment in Albania.
Kalpana Gagdekar (India)
Title of Project: Connecting Community with Their Traditional/Heritage Cuisine
This project will explore and document the Chhara community’s traditional cuisines, which are experiencing a disappearing effect under modern global influences. Kalpana aims to document the rituals and heritage of Chhara cuisine through seven video interviews with Chhara women elders. The project combines modern technology with traditional food heritage and welcomes Chhara members of all ages to reclaim and rediscover their own heritage.
Mandala Theatre (Nepal) and Creative Connections (Connecticut, U.S.)
Title of Project: Hamro Sanskriti: Preserving Cultural Heritage through Participatory Theatre
The goal of this project is to provide youth in Connecticut and Nepal with a deeper connection to their own culture through student-led virtual workshops. The workshops – spearheaded by theater trainers in Nepal and Connecticut – will teach participatory theater techniques to 250 high school students and conclude with a model forum theater piece produced by students for the public.
Athar Lina (Egypt)
Title of Project: Rawya: The Water Women
Rawya: The Water Women is a Cairo-based project aimed at restoring the historically significant Sabil Um Abbas, a 19th century religious building and gathering place, into a usable community space once more. In addition to restoring aspects of the building, the project will connect U.S. and Egyptian women storytellers Donna Bryson and Chirine El Ansary to curate a storytelling experience of powerful 19th century women from their respective countries. Their work will culminate in a video exhibition that will be on display in the newly renovated Sabil Um Abbas for the local community to experience.
Bhasha Research and Publication Centre (India) and University of Northern Colorado (Colorado, U.S.)
Title of Project: Reclaiming Heritage II: Building Social Bonds and Bridges with Cultural Heritage
This project will utilize digital library resources at UNC to create and share cultural heritage “snapshots” with the broader community. These short videos will help immigrants and refugees in Colorado and indigenous peoples in India share their cultural heritage while building bonds with their local communities. The project will provide its participants with the ownership and platform to share their own heritage while paving a pathway for integration with others in their community.
Outside the Lens (California, U.S.)
Title of Project: Youth Tellers
Youth Tellers is a cross-cultural collaboration between Latinx youth in California and Bosnia-Herzegovina, relying on the concepts of past, present, and future to explore students’ complex cultural identities. Using digital media tools including photography, videography, and youth-facing communication forums like Discord, the project will culminate in a virtual exhibition showcasing the participants’ cultural heritage exchange with one another.
Explore the Story section on the right to learn more about the unique cultural heritage projects implemented since 2018.
Digital Communication Network
Examples of Past Digital Communication Network Projects
- Internet vs. Democracy Forum
- Roaring 20s #Digital Forum
- Combatting Disinformation Training Program
- Digital and Media Literacy for NGOs Training Program
- Tolerance and Coexistence 2.0 Forum
- Montenegro Digital Influencers Hub
- Humor and Games for Social Good Forum
Fulbright Specialist Program
Link U.S. Experts and International Institutions
A program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Specialist Program is a unique opportunity for U.S. academics and established professionals to engage in two- to six-week consultancies at host institutions across the globe. Host institutions, including universities, non-profits, and other organizations, develop and submit projects for approval by the U.S. Embassy or Fulbright Commission in their country in wide-ranging academic and professional fields that build capacity and promote long-lasting linkages between individuals and institutions in the U.S. and abroad.
Address Priorities and Build Institutional Capacity at Institutions Around the World
An important companion to the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, the Fulbright Specialist Program differs by providing short-term exchange experiences that tackle discrete, sometimes rapid response, projects. The Fulbright Specialist Program encourages participation of both university faculty and highly experienced non-academics, including legal experts, business professionals, public health practitioners, scientists, IT professionals, artists, and journalists. The program is a mutually beneficial opportunity for the Specialist who may not be available to leave their position for an extended period of time and the host institution which needs an experienced partner to jointly tackle a problem or examine an issue on a short-term basis.
Become a Fulbright Specialist: Apply to Join the Roster
Fulbright Specialists are a diverse group of highly experienced, well-established faculty members and professionals who represent a wide variety of academic disciplines and professions. In order to be eligible to serve as a Fulbright Specialist, candidates must have significant experience in their respective professional field and be a U.S. citizen at time of application. Eligible disciplines and professional fields supported by the Fulbright Specialist Program are listed below.
- American Studies
- Biology Education
- Business Administration
- Chemistry Education
- Communications and Journalism
- Computer Science and Information Technology
- Engineering Education
- Environmental Science
- Library Science
- Math Education
- Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies
- Physics Education
- Political Science
- Public Administration
- Public/Global Health
- Social Work
- Urban Planning
Interested candidates can find more information about the Fulbright Specialist Program and apply to serve as a Specialist at fulbrightspecialist.worldlearning.org. Candidates who meet all eligibility requirements will have their full applications reviewed by a panel of their professional peers. Candidates who are approved by the peer review panels will then join the Fulbright Specialist Roster. Individuals remain on the Specialist Roster for a three-year term and are eligible to be matched with a host institution’s project abroad during that tenure.
The following costs are covered for those Fulbright Specialists who are matched to a project: international and domestic airfare, ground transportation, visa fees, lodging, meals, and incidentals. A daily honorarium is also provided.
Become a Host: Bring a Fulbright Specialist to Your Institution
The Fulbright Specialist Program allows universities, cultural centers, non-governmental organizations, and other institutions abroad to host a leading U.S. academic or professional to work on diverse, short-term collaborative projects where the Specialist conducts activities which may include, but are not limited to:
- Delivering a seminar or workshop
- Consulting on faculty or workforce development
- Developing academic or training curricula and materials
- Lecturing at the graduate or undergraduate level
- Conducting needs assessments or evaluations for a program or institution
Institutions interested in hosting a Fulbright Specialist should contact their local Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy for country-specific requirements and deadlines.
Contact information for all participating countries is available on the fulbrightspecialist.worldlearning.org website.
For more information or questions about the Fulbright Specialist Program, please email [email protected].
The Fulbright Specialist Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government and administered by World Learning.
International Visitor Leadership Program
End of Year Report
Chosen by U.S. embassies worldwide to participate, distinguished professionals include:
- government officials
- NGO leaders
- arts administrators
- mid-career professionals
Programs focus on policy issues in areas such as:
- international security
- foreign policy
- economics and trade
- women’s leadership
- public health
- disability rights and inclusion
World Learning staff members design national itineraries, arrange logistics, set up meetings in Washington, DC, and coordinate the collaboration of U.S. Department of State program officers, interpreters and International Visitor Liaisons, and more than 85 community-based member organizations from the Global Ties U.S. Network who arrange local programs nationwide.
Most participants are mid-career professionals and emerging leaders, and for many, this is their first visit to the U.S. Groups are of varying sizes, from single visitors to groups of 25 or more. World Learning program staff work closely with their State Department counterparts to design a program customized to the project objectives and the visitors’ interests.
IVLP candidates are selected solely by U.S. embassy personnel in each country. There is no application form. World Learning is a private sector partner of the U.S. Department of State; our role is limited to designing programs for participants once they arrive in the U.S. For further information regarding the program, please consult the U.S. Department of State’s website.
A typical project includes up to a week of meetings in Washington, DC, to provide an orientation and overview of the theme and to introduce visitors to federal officials and agencies, national organizations, academics and think tanks, nonprofits and NGOs, and professionals in their specific field of interest. All projects include a briefing on the US federal system of government. Meetings may include panel discussions, site visits, workshops, individual interlocutors, job shadowing, or service opportunities. Visitors typically travel to an additional three or four cities in geographically diverse regions of the country; the itinerary may include a state capital and a small town to provide first-hand exposure to the great diversity that exists in the U.S. Also included in the program design are hospitality dinners, school visits, community service activities, and cultural events such as rodeos, state fairs, festivals, visits to national parks, or events that highlight some unique aspect of the region visited.
“My recent experience in the IVLP program is so far the deepest ever for me to see and understand the full picture of what America as a country is like. I strongly believe this program will have a very long-term impact on my views about America and the world and to some extent it has already helped me to understand many long-time questions.” – Journalist from China
The International Visitor Leadership Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning.
Leaders Lead On-Demand Program
Examples of past leaders Lead On-Demand Projects:
- Vietnam Legal Aid
- Refugee Integration and Resettlement in Central and Eastern Europe
- Sports Leadership Program for Colombia
- Mongolia Disability Rights Legislation and Implementation
- Promoting Open Educational Resources: Middle East and North Africa
- Tourism and Development in Serbia and Kosovo
- Religious Freedom and Interfaith Dialogue for Myanmar, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand
- Emerging Leaders Exchange for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
- Environmental Advocacy for Mongolia
- Getting Connected Program for the South Pacific
- Civic Engagement Program for Moldova
- Disinformation and Fact Checking in Kenya