Me and GE
Global Explorers is a Mission-Driven Nonprofit Organization that believes in education, service, cross cultural exchange and provides support in helping students experience the physical and cultural diversity of our world. When I first heard about Global Explorers I wanted to get involved right away. Their values are my values.
The student travel industry is more than just a field trip to the Statue Of Liberty. That’s important, and has its place, but with our planet experiencing dangerous ecological, social, political and economic shape shifting, the future of our global community depends on the young people of the world. And if we expect them to rise to the occasion and lead us into the 21st Century then we better make sure they understand the world. And the only way to do that is to let them see it.
Global Explorers connects young people with the ‘real’ world. Not the world of tourist attractions and museums. The world of people. And through service, provides them with perspective changing life altering mechanisms for understanding the importance of globalism.
This is no ordinary student travel experience. No other travel organization requires extensive educational preparation prior to travel as well as a follow-up service leadership project after travel. GE’s interdisciplinary preparatory curriculum prepares students for travel with lessons on leadership, service, science and culture — all with an eye towards responsible global citizenship. This nationally recognized program content, developed in partnership with experts and input from such organizations as the Peace Corps, the Jane Goodall Institute, The Center for Creative Leadership and the World Wildlife Fund, comes alive through hands-on activities while traveling. A service project in country helps students discover the impact they can have in the world. Science transforms from abstract classroom lesson to concrete experience when the students practice ethno-botany in the Amazon or conservation biology on the plains of Africa. After traveling, the group comes together to coordinate a follow-up leadership project, exercising the skills acquired during travel in service of their own community. These exceptional programs have been featured on ABC Nightline, ABC World News Tonight, The Travel Channel and CBS Sunday Morning.
When I travel, I learn. And my life changes. I was in Botswana last year with the Juntwazee, the legendary bushmen of the Kalahari in the Aha Hills just outside of Xai Xai. One day we made rope, thin rope, by scraping the filaments from a plant and winding them together. We used the rope to make short 5 foot long lassos which we pegged into the ground with an improvised trip wire. we baited the catch-zone and waited a day, returning one afternoon to see if we caught any small animals. We had a few birds in our snares, we rejoiced and I was asked to retrieve the birds. I took out a small knife to cut them from the traps and a huge stir broke out amongst my tribal friends. They were stunned. How wasteful could I be to cut the rope? The rope needs to be re-used they explained. I was mortified and apologetic. In my house we cut kitchen twine and throw it away. In the Aha Hills they only take what they need, re-using every resource, shunning personal property concepts. It wasn’t even my rope to cut you see. Well, that changed my life. I became an impassioned resource manager in my own home and have never forgotten how that cultural mis-step impacted me. I want the leaders of tomorrow to learn those lessons, ones that are best taught on the road.
GE and Travel Channel have a special partnership with the Global Explorers Compass program, and I hope you will come to our event in a few weeks (A Night With Travel Channel) and also donate whatever you can to our worthy cause. The Global Explorers Compass program, co-created by Travel Channel and Global Explorers will provide scholarships for DC metro students to participate in educational, service-oriented adventures around the world. In June, the inaugural Compass team of 20 students from Kipp DC: AIM Academy will travel to Costa Rica. I had an opportunity to share an hour with these young travelers at the Finnish Embassy in Washington DC and they are bright and energetic. Many of them haven’t had an opportunity to travel like this before, and take part in the programs that GE has arranged for them. My excitement was barely controllable as I watched these young people ask questions of the Ambassador and myself. The thrill of the trip was on their lips, but the anticipation of a life changing impactful series of experiences was in their heart, waiting to be harvested in the warm Central American sun.