Looking Back at a Year of Collective Efforts Towards a More Just, Peaceful, and Sustainable World

Over the past year, we’ve published stories of how World Learning programs and participants have had a positive impact on individuals and communities and led the way on pressing global issues. Program alumni have forged new paths for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), tackled climate change, run in local elections, and more. As we close out 2021, we’re looking back at stories that highlight World Learning’s collective efforts to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

  1. World Learning and Sightsavers Use TAAP Toolkit to Examine Inclusive Education in Bangladesh
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Societies are more sustainable and equitable when they include those historically marginalized based on their age, disability, gender, race, and more. From the institutional level to everyday practice, World Learning and its partners are driving transformational social change by integrating inclusion into policies, procedures, and programs. In Bangladesh, the Transforming Agency, Access, and Power (TAAP) approach has enhanced access to and improved the quality of education for children with disabilities.

2. What 100 Days in Office Taught Eight LEAD Mongolia Alumni

LEAD Mongolia Fellow Soronzonbold Alexandr

On October 15, 2020, Mongolia held its most recent election for local councils known as Citizen’s Representatives Khurals (CRKs). Eighteen alumni from World Learning’s Leaders Advancing Democracy (LEAD) Mongolia program ran in the election, with eight winning seats in either their provincial, sub-provincial, or district council. We interviewed them to hear of their experiences running for office and learn about the first 100 days of their term.

3. Women in STEM: Fulbright Specialists Bridging the Gap

Fulbright Specialist Alicia Santiago (back row, sixth from left) poses with some of her students after a STEM workshop in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Data from a recent UNESCO report indicates that only 35 percent of STEM students in higher education globally are women, and women make up fewer than 30 percent of the world’s researchers. Recent Fulbright Specialists Alicia Santiago and Tatiana Goris are helping to change that. They are among the women in STEM working with universities, government ministries, non-profits, and other institutions around the world to promote science education to the next generation and serve as role models for girls and young women.

4. The Long-lasting Impact of International Visitor Leadership Program Exchanges

Serhii Letuchyi, 2017 alumnus of IVLP.

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) equips participants with new knowledge and connections through international learning experiences and exciting projects. Recent IVLP alumni have forged new paths with real impact, establishing the first transgender shelter in Singapore, leading the construction of wheelchair-accessible ramps in eastern Ukraine, and empowering women across the globe.

5. The Experiment Digital Climate Alumni: What Are They Doing Now?

José Rivera Martínez, 2021 The Experiment Digital alumnus.

In May 2021, The Experiment Digital’s Climate Change & the Environment program took more than 60 students in 21 countries on an educational journey to gain a comprehensive understanding of climate change and sustainability. We asked a group of alumni to tell us what inspired them to participate, what lessons they took away, and what’s next for them in their exciting educational journeys.

6. STEAM Training Addresses Key Challenges for Teachers in Egypt

This summer, the Best Practices in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) for Egyptian Teachers program, or BP-STEAM, trained 67 teachers in upper Egypt on a wide range of essential pedagogical skills and strategies. Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, these trainings helped meet BP-STEAM’s goal of preparing students to become skilled problem-solvers and ready for the workforce.

7. How QITABI 2 Helped Teachers and Students Successfully Transition to Distance Learning

Grace Sawwan, director of educational IT at the Center for Educational Research and Development (CERD) in Lebanon.

Education and training programs in Lebanon have shifted online due to COVID-19. We wrote about how the USAID-funded Quality Instruction Towards Access and Basic Education Improvement (QITABI) 2 program provided distance learning training to 102 academic experts and trainers at the Ministry of Education and the Center for Educational Research and Development.

8. Youth Discuss the Future of Education and Employment in El Salvador

World Learning representative Betsy de Cosme speaks to a focus group.

In June 2021, World Learning and partner ITCA-FEPADE, a Salvadoran educational institution, held a series of focus groups with more than 90 youth from across El Salvador to learn more about their experiences in education and employment. Their feedback led to the design of a project concept that aims to improve psychosocial support and provide career guidance while connecting them directly with a network of companies to increase the hiring of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.

9. Young Iraqi Professionals Find Their Direction through Bawsala Career Mentorship Program

We showcased the success of the Bawsala Career Mentorship Program in southern Iraq. Bawsala — Arabic for “compass” — is a program created by World Learning to help college-educated youth access the private-sector job market in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition to teaching job-seeking skills, the program offers an experience of self-discovery that can lead young workers to more fulfilling careers.

10. Massively Open Online Course Enhances Critical Thinking and Cultural Understanding for Fourth Year in a Row

World Learning’s growth in online programming since 2002 has enabled teachers to shift their practices to more active, student-centered learning while promoting critical thinking and intercultural understanding. Thanks to massively open online courses, or MOOCs, hundreds or thousands of participants are able to join free online courses. We showcased the “Integrating Critical Thinking into The Exploration of Culture in an EFL Setting” that demonstrably enhanced participants’ skills in critical thinking and cultural understanding.

Explore our Impact Report to learn more about how SIT and World Learning program participants, students, faculty, and staff helped create a more sustainable, peaceful, and just world in 2021.

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World Learning empowers people, communities, and institutions to create a more peaceful and just world.

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