Witnessing Our World! (WOW)
WOW is a cultural immersion, global leadership development program that allows young leaders from across the United States to acquire first-hand experiences outside the country.
The world continues to become devoid of borders regarding business, social connection, and humanitarian interests. Those positioned to be successful in this environment will need to adopt a global mindset to effectively understand cultural perspectives across multiple countries and continents. Our guiding principle is that high cultural contact combined with a high challenge missions will drive high personal transformation.
WOW embraces this concept with the understanding that it is never too early to develop a global mindset:
1) an openness to and awareness of multiple spheres of “meaning”
2) complex representation and articulation of cultural and strategic dynamics
3) mediation and integration of ideals and actions oriented both to the global and the local
Focusing on providing opportunities for high school and college-age students to understand leadership at a global level, our participants are not viewed as “tourists”. Instead, the travel opportunities include a challenge specifically related to the destination country. Prior to the travel, participants will research issues facing the host location and choose a problem that, if resolved, may illicit significant change in the area. Possible topics include physical aid, education, environmental concerns, food security, globalization, governance, health, human rights, human trafficking, poverty reduction, peace-building, refugees, water and sanitation. The objective is to challenge the participants to think, understand, and propose solutions to real-world problems and interact with local residents in the discussion/vetting of the proposed solutions.
Prospective participants will be required to complete a pre-assessment Global Competencies Inventory to determine their current levels of global and intercultural awareness. This evaluation is to determine a baseline for the participant’s global competency, but will not be a basis for acceptance of denial into the program. Rather it will help determine the participant’s respective dispositions related to interacting with people whose cultural norms and behaviors differ from their own.
Regardless of their respective starting points, participants can expect to increase their self-confidence as they address the group challenge in a flexible yet facilitated environment. This opportunity to view and solve problems from a world view that may be different than their current lens is the foundation for acquiring life skills in a cross-cultural setting.
High School Juniors and Seniors
The program consists of 2 parts:
4-6-week preparation, in which the students participate in light “coursework” designed to explore concepts related to global leadership
5-7-day Domestic or Global Trip (once per year)