When thinking about the state of education, one needs to know that only 11% of young Americans in the U.S. use the Internet to keep up with current events around the world, and over 80% of educated youth cannot find Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran on a map, to realize that schools around the world are not preparing youth to be responsible, global-minded citizens. Though the world is becoming increasingly globalized, education hasn't evolved to prepare youth for the changing landscape.
A small organization is working hard to change that. One World Youth Project (OWYP), an international education non-profit organization is educating global citizens while empowering students in their local communities, all within existing educational infrastructure.
According to Jess Rimington, the executive director and founder of OWYP, youth who do not receive a multicultural education are likely to view the interconnected society and economy as a threat rather than an opportunity. They also may passively perpetuate global injustices rather than work to create a better, shared future.
To address this critical issue within national education systems around the world, the OWYP team has developed an internationally adoptable program for university students to lead a comprehensive global citizenship curriculum in secondary schools in their community, teaching teenagers about global interconnectedness, cross cultural dialogue and local leadership. Through the program, university students connect local secondary school classrooms with participating classrooms abroad using social media, enabling youth to have impactful international experiences within their own school settings -- and because of those international experiences, students are better equipped to be citizens in the new, global world, less likely to feel threatened and less likely to perpetuate global injustices.
"When I was in middle and high school, I never learned about world cultures, global issues, or local challenges; I had to seek these things out on my own," shares Zenen Jaimes, OWYP Project Ambassador at Georgetown University. "I think I'm doing something necessary by helping youth in Washington DC think critically about their community and their relationship with the rest of the world." Georgetown University incubated the youth-led social enterprise and was the first university to launch One World Youth Project's new high-impact and interdisciplinary university program on its campus.
After a successful pilot program in Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., USA, and the University of Prishtina in Prishtina, Kosovo, One World Youth Project is expanding to eight additional universities in the USA, Guyana, South Africa, France, Turkey and Pakistan, and plans to launch in 120 universities by 2015.
To join the OWYP team as a sponsor, collaborator or volunteer, get in touch with Anjali Daryanani at firstname.lastname@example.org.