A “global citizen” is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community, and whose actions contribute to building global values and practices. Frugality, integrity, humility, and cultural awareness guide our mission in creating the next generation of environmental leaders and responsible global citizens.
You may know Sustainable Summer for bringing together high schools students in an immersive and transformative education experience. Leadership development and understanding global citizenship drive our programs. And regardless of location- abroad on a global learning expedition, or here in the states on a college campus, we believe exposure to diverse perspectives is a key component to developing global citizenship. Our Sustainable Summer programs are designed for high school students, principally from the US, but we also work with post-secondary and non-US student populations to grow the community of youth environmental leaders.
Sustainable Learning (Sustainable Summer’s ‘parent’ non-profit) has collaborated with Project Harmony for the last 4 years in another initiative to foster the next generation of environmental leaders. RYEP, or the Russian Youth Environmental Program, brings 40 Russian undergraduate students to the United States each summer, funded by a grant through the US State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. The first portion of the RYEP program is facilitated by Sustainable Learning at Dartmouth College. We support students through a structured curriculum to develop their leadership skills and create a direct action plan to solve an environmental problem in their own community, back home in Russia. The program includes opportunities for students to learn about sustainability initiatives in the US, particularly those that are community-led or grassroots in nature. They see how Dartmouth students, and the larger Dartmouth community, are involved in creating positive environmental change on campus, but they also gain a wide perspective from a variety of other fascinating people they meet along their way through New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Washington, D.C.; everyone from their homestay families to a hiker on the Appalachian Trail. RYEP participants are inspired by the work they see being done while they join us in the United States, but they are also continually inspired by each other- a group of passionate young scientists and activists from across Russia.
Cross cultural exchange brings unique opportunities for collaboration and connection. RYEP students come together from all over Russia, and spend their time with Sustainable Learning facilitators, members of the Dartmouth community and the Hanover community. Free sharing of ideas and open discourse allow us all to benefit. And like any student on one of our pre-college programs, RYEP participants are enthusiastic and ready to learn.
Change on a global scale first requires change on a local scale. Global citizenship demands that individuals from all over the world acknowledge and appreciate our differences, and see them as opportunities to learn from one another.
RYEP has a lasting impact. Time on program forges deep connections and strong bonds…between participants, staff, host families- and between participants and their commitment to creating a socially just and environmentally sustainable future for all. We’re proud to be a part of the development of environmental leaders around the world.
Want to learn more? Stay tuned…I went to Russia a few weeks ago to join our 2019 RYEP cohorts at their annual conference in Moscow. I can’t wait to share the progress they’ve made on their environmental projects and let you know what’s next!