In June, World Learning and School for International Training entered into a new partnership with Diversity Abroad, which aims to create positive, systemic change within the organization to ensure our internal and external operations reflect our core values, especially social inclusion and justice. The partnership strengthened our long-standing relationship with Diversity Abroad, which is the leading professional consortium of educational institutions, government agencies, and for-profit and nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusive good practices that increase access, achieve equitable diversity, and foster inclusive excellence in global education.
“This organization is committed to advancing the movement for social justice and equity. Our partnership with Diversity Abroad is an important milestone in our journey as an institution to make sure we are doing our part to support this vital work,” says World Learning Inc. President and CEO Carol Jenkins.
“In order to move forward, you’ve got to know where you are. Even if where you are isn’t where you want to be, knowing that puts you in a really strong position to move forward in a thoughtful, sustainable way.”
The long-term goal of this initiative is twofold, to build a culture of inclusion and belonging in the workplace that attracts, retains, and advances professionals from diverse and historically marginalized backgrounds, and to increase participation, improve the experience, and enhance the learning of marginalized and underrepresented participants in global education and exchange programs. As part of this initiative, Diversity Abroad is conducting an evaluation that will consider three areas: strategy and communications, operations, and academics and student/participant success.
The first phase of Diversity Abroad’s evaluation involves gathering information about the current state of the organization, which Diversity Abroad founder and CEO Andrew Gordon says is crucial to creating a roadmap for change.
“In order to move forward, you’ve got to know where you are,” he says. “Even if where you are isn’t where you want to be, knowing that puts you in a really strong position to move forward in a thoughtful, sustainable way.”
This assessment will make use of quantitative data, staff surveys, focus groups, and interviews with partners, among other methods, and is expected to continue through late December 2020. Diversity Abroad will then analyze their data and compile their findings and recommendations and submit their final report to World Learning and SIT by mid-February 2021. World Learning and SIT will then be responsible for applying the recommendations, which will include some changes that can be made immediately and others that the organization will need to work toward over time.
“This will not be a quick or easy solution, but I know it will be meaningful,” says Jenkins. “I look forward to what we will learn through this process and how it will help us grow as an organization.”