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Inspiring a New Generation of Internationalist Leaders
an article by Joanne Tawfilis, Vienna, Austria

I recently heard about an organization, Americans for Informed Democracy (AID), and their intent and success in training students who have lived abroad to become active voices for global understanding on their own campuses after they return home. The objective of the AID was formulated on the basis that Americans who study abroad tend to be more internationalist in their outlook on global affairs than the general student population.

The organization recently held a symposium called "Bringing the World Home" at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, Germany and featured workshops to equip distinguished student leaders with the tools to raise global awareness on USA university campuses. A follow up series of retreats was conducted in Vermont that brought 60 students from over 30 U.S. universities together on how to organize teach-ins and raise global consciousness.

Since AID was established in October of 2002, it has been very successful in fostering global understanding and inspiring a new generation of internationalist leaders in promoting America’s image in the world, by bringing together more than 7,500 young leaders. They have discussed topics such as anti-Americanism, transatlantic relations, and the compatibility of Western and Islamic worlds.

In a December 2003 CNN Interview, Ambassador Joseph Wilson said, "What (AID) is trying to do is something I believe in strongly. That is, getting young people more involved in the decision making process, getting people to own our democracy."

It is heartening to know that there are effective programs that provide young leadership with activities and options upon which to "own our democracy", during this International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.


Question(s) related to this article:

International Students, What is their potential to foster global understanding?

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Latest reader comment:

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This report was posted on September 18, 2004.