When I began my term as board chair in October 2019, no one anticipated how much would change in just a few short months and how quickly we would need to adapt to a new reality. This year has been one of the most challenging the organization has ever faced and I am grateful to our dedicated board, staff, faculty, participants, and supporters for everything they have done to help us navigate this global crisis.
In a world facing increasing divisiveness, isolationism, and inequality, our mission has never been more relevant and important. The World Learning Inc. family builds bridges—helping future leaders and everyday global citizens engage with other cultures, listen to different perspectives, and combat divisive rhetoric. Even during this time of social distancing, we are touching lives around the world. More than 15,000 participants from 90 countries have participated in our virtual program offerings over the last several months—providing a vital outlet for global connection during this critical time. While in-person exchanges remain the foundation of our organization, this year has pushed us to explore new approaches to international engagement that can enhance our future programming and strengthen our ability to fulfill our mission of creating a more peaceful and just world.
Since 1932, this organization has been known for its resilience in the face of the unknown and ability to adapt in times of change. During key moments in our history, when the instinct of many Americans was to disengage from the world, World Learning and SIT advocated for openness, humility, and understanding. We have done this by advancing practical solutions to engage with and learn from other cultures, appreciate different points of view, and combat fear of the other.
Our experience over the last 88 years shows that building relationships is a critical step in confronting these challenges. We believe it is vital to bring people together and learn from one another if we want to truly solve the most pressing critical global issues facing individuals and communities around the globe and create a better world for all people.
Your support plays a crucial role in this process. It will help us relaunch our invaluable in-person programs as well as continue developing innovative new programming to provide opportunities for intercultural learning and exchange at a time when it is needed most. Thank you for being part of our global family.
World Learning Inc. Board Chair