An exciting 12-day program for youth takes place around the state of Vermont and on the campus of our US member, World Learning, every June. The Governor’s Institute of Vermont (GIV) celebrates its 30th anniversary this year–initiating residencies all across the state, with an increasing international presence at World Learning where the focus is on Current Issues and Youth Activism.
Working with faculty and staff at World Learning and the SIT Graduate Institute, students take a look at the critical connections between current issues, policy and the political questions that directly impact young people today, with a focus on Ecology, Environment, Politics, Leadership & Social Justice, and Global Children concerns.
Federation member organizations in Ireland and Germany were among those who sent international students to participate in Vermont, the birthplace of the Experiment in International Living.
They returned home to rave about it:
I’ve never shared a classroom with that many cultures and had the opportunity to discuss global subjects together. (EIL Germany)
We are all passionate about making this world a better place. (EIL Ireland)
My personal highlight was the 4th of July: we took part in parade in Brattleboro carrying signs to raise awareness about problems facing the world today. (EIL Germany.)
(No one) mentioned how difficult it would be to say goodbye to the community we have built here over that past twelve days. (EIL Ireland)
I am glad to say that I have friends on almost every continent of the world now. (EIL Germany)
Experiment e.V. in Germany has been sending participants to GIV since 2011; while EIL Intercultural Learning, Ireland began participating in 2008. High school students from Vermont benefit immensely from the presence of these international peers:
“Having a group of students from a multitude of cultures really helped the GIV program include an intense diversity of opinions,” says participant Quinn Oliver, of Vermont, age 15. “In this way we realize that the issues discussed effect us on a global scale, and that we need to work together if we are to have any hope of changing our future.”
This international partnership among youth at GIV exemplifies one of the main aims of the Experiment:
- To inspire global citizenship;
- To build communication and leadership skills;
- To develop active citizens in an interdependent world.
Director Kevin Hickey of EIL Ireland says GIV delivers 100% in this regard: “The GIV team are without doubt one of the most passionate and inspiring groups of people I’ve come across. The programme empowers young people to take ownership and responsibility in their world and to be agents of positive change.”
Kevin says that he is “hugely proud” to be involved with GIV,”even from a distance,” and credits the program for inspiring change at home: “Participants from earlier years take on leadership roles in their communities, in business, in politics and in education. A number of them now play leadership roles within EIL Intercultural Learning and constantly challenge the organisation to be relevant and to make an impact.”
For more information about the Governor’s Institute of Vermont on the campus of World Learning, click here.