September 2011 Newsletter
Welcome to the September 2011 issue of the Global Washington newsletter. If you would like to contact us directly, please email us.
IN THIS ISSUE
- Note from our Executive Director
- Featured Story: Mayoral Proclamation Celebrating Global Action Day 11.1.11
- Featured Organization: PeaceTrees Vietnam: Healing After War
- Changemaker: Kristin Hayden, Founder of OneWorld Now!
- Welcome New Members
- Global Washington Events
- Other Events
Note from our Executive Director
As Washington’s dynamic global development sector continues to grow, Global Washington urges you to join hands and celebrate the accomplishments, leadership and impact of our Global Development Sector’s work for the betterment of the world on November 1, 2011, 11.1.11, recognized as “Global Action Day” by the mayor of the City of Seattle.
Global Washington invites you to be a part of the movement on Global Action Day and explore the many opportunities to get involved through philanthropy, travel, volunteer opportunities and critical investment opportunities.
On the Global Action Day, join Global Washington and it’s 140 members to strengthen our global development sector and become a leader in making the world a more equitable, secure, prosperous, and sustainable place to live for all. We will be sending more information to you about the ways you can get involved with this day.
Global Action Day will take place on the second day of the conference. We hope that you have registered to attend our upcoming third annual conference: Opportunities and Obstacles in Turbulent Times. There are several ways that your organization can be a part of the conference:
- submit a proposal to present during a conference session on innovations
- become an exhibitor
- support the conference by becoming a sponsor
- attend and contribute to this growing community.
The annual conference is an important milestone in Global Washington’s work to convene, strengthen, and advocate on behalf of the global development sector in the state. Diverse players will find opportunities for collaboration and high-caliber speakers will provide valuable insight and the latest knowledge. All of this increases the impact of the work being done around the world, and enhances the reputation of Washington State as an international hub for innovative and effective development activity. Small and large organizations, businesses, government, academic institutions, and interested individuals are all encouraged to participate, joining our mission of working together to create a more equitable and prosperous world. I hope that you have seen the request for abstracts for our member organizations to present at the conference. Be sure to submit your presentations to us and use this opportunity to showcase your work.
We look forward to your participation in our many programs and our annual conference.
Bookda Gheisar, Executive Director
Mayoral Proclamation Celebrating Global Action Day 11.1.11
Washington’s global development sector is a leading international force, making important contributions in the areas of global health, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and education.
Dedicated to finding innovative, sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, hundreds of businesses, non profits, academic institutions, foundations and government entities in the global development sector are zealously working in all 144 developing countries, impacting billions of lives abroad and creating opportunities at home.
The international development sector impacts the economy both in our state and abroad. Washington State exports nearly $40 billion worth of goods and services to every country on the planet. International nonprofit organizations headquartered here such as World Vision, PATH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation create hundreds of high wage jobs and attract top talent from around the world. Washington is also the largest exporter in the nation on a per capita basis and one in three jobs here is tied to international trade.
As our dynamic global development sector continues to grow, Global Washington and its members urge Washingtonians to celebrate the accomplishments, innovation, leadership and impact of our global development sector on November 1, 2011, or “11.1.11,” which has been proclaimed “Global Action Day” by the mayor of the city of Seattle.
Join this growing movement on Global Action Day, and explore the many opportunities to give, learn, support fair trade, advocate, travel, and become a member of Global Washington to make the world a more equitable, secure, prosperous, and sustainable place to live for all. Find your opportunity at globalwa.org.
PeaceTrees Vietnam: Healing After War
By Sarah Horrigan
Healing the emotional and environmental wounds of the Vietnam War by removing landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) and planting trees on the cleared land, was the original goal of PeaceTrees Vietnam when it was established in 1995. The seed for PeaceTrees Vietnam had been planted 26 years earlier, when PeaceTrees co-founder Jerilyn Brusseau’s brother was killed when his helicopter was shot down in one of Vietnam’s southern provinces. Her desire to turn sorrow into service resulted in the first visit of PeaceTrees “citizen diplomats” soon after the U.S. and Vietnam normalized their diplomatic relations.
In the intervening 16 years, the mission of PeaceTrees Vietnam –to renew relationships with the people of Vietnam and to promote a safe, healthy future for its families and children – has remained true, while the programs have greatly expanded. “It’s a holistic approach to mine action,” explains Executive Director Blair Burroughs, leading to community building on a broad scale, with a broad and complex impact.
Burroughs starts the story with the magnitude of the problem of mines and unexploded ordnance. The statistics are staggering. From 1945 to 1975, almost four times the amount of munitions was deployed in Vietnam than were used throughout the entire world in WW II. Over 15 million tons of explosives were dropped by U.S. forces—equivalent to the power of 400 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. On average, ten percent of the munitions did not explode, which means that they pose an ongoing threat to people who might come across them in the countryside. One type – cluster bombs or “bombies” – had a particularly high failure rate and remain as dangerous today as when they were dropped. Sadly, these bombies can look like toys to children, who may be injured or killed when they attempt to play with them.
From its outset, PeaceTrees Vietnam chose to focus on Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam, once the northernmost province of the Republic of Vietnam. Already a poor region due to its geography of steep slopes, narrow valleys, and unproductive soils, Quang Tri was disproportionally affected by activities during the war. Located near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and the Ho Chi Minh trail, it housed many American bases, and consequently bears more than its share of war remnants. More than 40% of the ordnance used by American forces in the war was dropped in Quang Tri Province, which is roughly 1.2 times the size of the State of Rhode Island. If all the ordnance used there were to be spread out over the entire province, each square meter of land would have been bombarded with an average of 140 pounds of ordnance from both aerial and naval attacks.
The poverty of the province leads many residents to try to supplement their incomes by collecting scrap metal, much of which can be deadly. Indeed, scrap metal collection is the most hazardous occupation in the province. Farming, a more traditional occupation, is the second most deadly occupation, as farmers can unknowingly come across deadly ordnance while plowing their fields.
This grim picture is in stark contrast to Executive Director Burroughs’ excitement and enthusiasm. He clearly relishes the challenges of finding creative ways to address the problems, from individual victims to the community as a whole. To educate people about the risks from mines, PeaceTrees Vietnam has worked in local traditions, incorporating role-playing and skits along with traditional songs. Burroughs’ office walls are covered in colorful posters to warn about mines, the result of a poster contest sponsored by PeaceTrees Vietnam. Radio service announcements target vulnerable populations and those who collect scrap metal.
From its inception, PeaceTrees Vietnam has provided aid to victims of accidents. It strives to find creative ways to help such victims, particularly after their initial hospitalization. Sometimes a student needs an apartment in a nearby city so that he can attend high school and thus attain a more productive future. Children of accident victims need only $50 per child per year to stay in school, and PeaceTrees Vietnam provided scholarships to 200 such children this year. A farming family that lost its breadwinner now has a water buffalo to plow the fields, thanks to PeaceTrees Vietnam.
In recent years, PeaceTrees has expanded its programs in the community in partnership with local groups as well as other Seattle-based groups and the U.S. State Department. The Women’s Union of Quang Tri province is a strong community voice. With the Union’s input, PeaceTrees Vietnam has constructed kindergartens and libraries, which also serve as community centers for women in small villages. These centers may be expanded to provide temporary shelters for women who experience domestic violence.
Another project recently implemented in partnership with the Women’s Union focuses on growing nutritionally balanced gardens. PeaceTrees Vietnam’s role is twofold; initially to clear the land of mines and UXO, followed by training in sustainable agricultural techniques and providing necessary tools and seeds. Seattle-based Washington Women’s Foundation has provided the funding for 132 women in the province to be trained in growing nutritionally balanced gardens. In addition, over 200 acres of farmland has been cleared of UXO and restored for use with grants from the U.S. State Department. The land can now be used to grow cash crops such as pepper, coffee, and a fast-growing native acacia tree for pulp. Earned income can help reduce the economic need for scrap metal collection, turning the vicious cycle into a virtuous one.
The demining work begun in 1996 continues with former Vietnamese military deminers trained to UN standards. And citizen diplomacy trips continue to renew the relationships between the people of Vietnam and the United States. As Burroughs so eloquently states, “We must remember that everyone, from veterans to opponents of the war, always wanted what was best for the people of Vietnam.” Now PeaceTrees Vietnam is providing a living example of what “the best” can mean.
Kristin Hayden, Founder of OneWorld Now!
By Carolyn Hubbard
Kristin felt the tension rising in the room as she danced with the boy at her host family’s party. She was 15 years old at the time, on a Rotary Exchange program in Johannesburg, South Africa, during Apartheid. “We were really making people uncomfortable,” Kristin recalls. “But I was having so much fun.” For the first time since arriving in South Africa, she had finally found someone she could relate to, a new friendship that felt genuine. The only problem: he was black.
It was hard for her to fathom that she couldn’t pursue this friendship because of politics. She was stuck between wanting to respect her host family’s rules and her own moral code. How do you deal with that kind of an injustice? Thinking back to that moment, Kristen pauses, and then explains, “There were forces way bigger than me at play, and I didn’t know how to navigate them in a way that felt empowering.”
It was a bitter lesson to learn for a young person whose parents instilled in her the values of social justice and self-empowerment. But it was also one that helped form Kristin’s conviction that she could be and needed to be an agent of change. Fast forward to today: Kristin Hayden is the founder of OneWorld Now!, the Seattle-based organization providing under-served high school students, leadership training, Chinese and Arabic language courses, and international study opportunities. This two-year program provides the students the tools to build their global awareness and to open doors to further international studies.
Growing up, Kristin knew she had the permission and the possibility to study abroad. She also knew that plenty of other students did not have that same access. “This is not a luxury of the youth now,” she states. But it is a luxury that she wants to make possible for others—especially communities of kids that are most often overlooked and marginalized—by providing them an opportunity to transform their lives.
Her experience in South Africa piqued her curiosity about other countries undergoing transformation, or countries where, as she describes it, “there was a lot of hype, [but] where few people have direct experience.” In 1990, she headed to Moscow, Russia, just prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, to study for a college semester. “Things were boiling,” she recalls of the oppression, but she also observed that, “when you are under oppression for a long time, you don’t see the change happening.” Having witnessed, almost first hand, the end of Apartheid and the fall of the Soviet Union, two historic moments her high school history teachers said would never happen in their life times, Kristen knows change is possible.
Her own transformation continued, as she picked up a triple major with honors in Soviet Area Studies, Russian Language, and International Relations, at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She then honed her skills in global thinking and project management while living and working in London, Paris, Moscow, and Tbilisi, Georgia.
She returned to the States, ready to merge her entrepreneurial acumen with her interest in social justice and international learning opportunities. OneWorld Now! took its first 12 students in 2002, and has been growing ever since.
OneWorld Now! is now in it’s 9th year and has enrolled some 2,000 Seattle sophomore and junior high school students in the program. Philmon Haile is one such student that continues to excel. A son of Eritrean refugees in Sudan, Philmon started the OWN program his sophomore year at Garfield High School, studying Mandarin Chinese and building his leadership skills. “He was always late to class,” recalls Kristin, “and had no idea about what he wanted to do with his life.” OWN organized an internship for him to be a congressional page on Capitol Hill, followed by a scholarship to study in China. Philmon continued on with a scholarship to Swarthmore College, returning to China on a Confucius Institute Scholarship. “Students like Philmon are changing the world,” states Hayden. They also exemplify “what is possible and how these transformational experiences can shift the trajectory of a student’s life.”
Kristin surrounds herself with stories of transformation. Her favorite movie, “Billy Elliot,” tells the story of a scrawny boy who overcomes oppressive social codes and family expectations to become a star ballet dancer. For Billy, dancing is “this fire in my body. I’m just there. Flyin’ like a bird. Like electricity.” Like Billy, Kristin doesn’t question this drive she has; she just lives it. “In my heart of hearts, change is possible,” she says with impressive conviction. Sure there have been frustrations. She notes that her vision for OneWorld Now! exceeds the current reality. And she’s not so sure the U.S is ready for the kinds of changes she wants to see happen. But she sees social entrepreneurs as being the game changers that will create a shift towards a more collaborative and less self-absorbed national culture.
Another inspiration for her is the novella Jonathon Livingston Seagull, a story of perseverance, overcoming conformity and seeking self-perfection. Or simply stated, it’s a story of learning to soar above it all.
Kristin dons her motorcycle helmet and prepares to leave. She’s got Bali, her brand new sparkling cherry red Vespa, waiting for her. It’s what gives her a chance to soar, to feel some quick moments of bliss, before settling in to make sure more teenagers get a chance to travel, and that fewer have to endure a lost friendship because of intolerance and fear.
Welcome New Members
Please welcome our newest Global Washington members. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with their work and think of opportunities for support and collaboration!
The Institute for Self-Reliant Agriculture (SRA) encourages farmers to grow what they eat to provide family nutrition through a progressive approach to self-sufficiency in agriculturally-fertile developing nations. SRA works in cooperation with international organizations, local governments, universities, NGOs, and others throughout the developing world to disseminate the Small-Scale Agriculture Family Self-Reliance Program. www.tifsra.org
Kirlin Charitable Foundation serve as a catalyst and innovative partner in positive social change, helping children and their families become lifelong learners and thoughtfully active, compassionate members of our global community. www.kirlinfoundation.org
Guatemala Village Health is a group of health workers, engineers, teachers, administrators, college students, kids, and more, working to help improve the health of a group of villages in Rio Dulce and in Monterrico – eastern and southwestern areas of Guatemala. They update community assessments, conduct health care screenings, provide clinical care and health education then work at ongoing village improvement projects. http://guatemalavillagehealth.org
- Individual Members
- Saira Abbasey McDonald
- Jennifer Geist
- Robin Hibbs
Global Washington Conference registration is now open!
Don’t forget to register for our 3rd Annual Conference, Opportunities and Obstacles in Turbulent Times. This conference, the largest gathering of the international development community on the west coast, will take place on October 31st and November 1st at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond. Early bird registration ends on September 28th, so reserve your spot today!
For more information or to register, visit our website.
Global Washington invites individuals in education, nonprofits, and businesses, to participate in the Community Conversations, a key component of the Global Education Initiative. Community Conversations provide those interested (or even just curious) about encouraging change in our state’s global education priorities with an opportunity to have their voices heard by a wider audience at the Summit on Global Education on November 18, 2011.
These conversations will be held in September and October throughout the state. Check out this link for the dates and locations: http://globalwa.org/our-work/global-education-initiative/community-conversations-on-global-education/
Contact Eugenia Ho at firstname.lastname@example.org for how to get involved.
Looking for a thought-provoking movie? If you’ll be in Los Angeles or New York City from September 23rd to 30th, grab some popcorn and settle in to enjoy To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America. This full-length documentary, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2010, follows Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Yunus as he brings his unique and revolutionary micro-finance program, Grameen, from Bangladesh to the US. Grameen America is a non-profit organization that provides education, resources, support, and affordable non-collateral micro-loans to help low-income entrepreneurs achieve the American dream.
Funds raised at the screenings will be used to increase distribution of the movie and to bring financial literacy campaigns to schools and communities across the country. To support the movie and Grameen America, Kickstarter receives donations. Read more about the movie, find other screening dates, and learn how to request a screening at http://www.tocatchadollar.com.
For all educators, international school administrators, and everyone interested in broadening their awareness of youth exchange programs, the 4th Annual 2011 National School Conference on International Youth Exchange, “Building Generations of Youth Exchange,” will provide opportunities to network with colleagues, as well as attend seminars on best practices and more. The Conference follows the two-day 27th CSIET Annual Conference. Mr. Kelly Aramaki, Principal of Beacon Hill International School and the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award, will deliver the keynote address. The International Youth Exchange conference is cosponsored by Global Washington’s Education Initiative, iEARN, Global Washington member One World Now, as well as the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Washington.
The Conference will be held on October 29, 2011, from 9am to 5:30pm, at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 515 Madison St. To register, go to the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) website http://www.csiet.org/index.html. Registration is now open.
Global Washington has recently launched a Careers in Global Development Center on our website—your resource for attracting quality talent to your organization! Global Washington members have full access to postings—from paid jobs, to internships, to board positions, to consultant opportunities. Non-members can also post paid global development positions by emailing their job descriptions to us at email@example.com. Job seekers, don’t forget to look here for new positions at our member organizations!
Global Washington member Schools for Salone will celebrate their past year achievements with a star-studded dinner and fundraiser. Margaret Larson, host of KING-5’s New Day Northwest, will be the Master of Ceremonies. Ishmael Beah, best-selling author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, will be there to sign books and discuss his book, and professional soccer players from Sierra Leone will be in attendance. This 1st Annual “Together We Can: Building Schools and Hope in Sierra Leone” will highlight the work Schools for Salone is doing to rebuild rural schools destroyed during Sierra Leone’s civil war.
The dinner and fundraiser will be held on November 3, 2011 at Herban Feast, 3200 1st Ave. S, Seattle. Purchase tickets by October 15th at the Schools for Salone website http://schoolsforsalone.org/Pages/ProjectEvents-AP.html.
Tickets are now available for the second annual Women in the World breakfast, presented by the Seattle International Foundation. Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, will be the keynote speaker for this event, which celebrates the work Seattle’s organizations are doing to advance the economic and social status of women around the world.
This well-attended breakfast will be held from 7:00 to 10:00 am on November 15, 2011, at the Seattle Four Seasons Hotel, at 99 Union St. Purchase tickets at www.womenintheworld.eventbrite.com.
World Resources Institute and Landesa have launched the online education tool, Focus on Land in Africa, which aims to help policymakers and practitioners understand the links between land rights and critical development outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa. Using slideshows, timelines, maps, videos and more, the site aims to provide an engaging way to learn about these crucial issues. For more information, see Landesa’s guest post on the Global Washington blog!
Net Impact hosts its 2011 Annual Conference in Portland, OR, from October 27th to 29th. With over 2,500 attendees, 300 speakers and some 100 panels and workshops, the Conference brings together changemakers and leaders to find creative and sustainable ways to use their business savvy to bring social and environmental health to the world. Speakers will include Sally Jewell, President and CEO of REI, and Lord Michael Hastings, Global Head, Citizenship & Diversity, KPMG International.
Register for the conferences at www.netimpact.org/conference. (Early registration ends September 23rd.)
The Washington Global Health Alliance recently completed a study that tallied and mapped the work being done by Washington global health organizations. 59 organizations were included, working in 156 countries on more than 2500 projects. The full study is available here and the economic opportunity portfolio can be accessed here.
The study was released at a special event on Tuesday, September 13th, attended by 60 legislators and members of the global health community. If you missed this event, the program can be viewed here. Other media coverage is listed below. Congratulations to WGHA for this important accomplishment!
- September 14, 2011, The Seattle Times
State groups work toward global health
- September 14, 2011, Puget Sound Business Journal
Slideshow: What global health work means to Washington state
- September 15, 2011, Humanosphere
A look at the local global health “industry” of Washington state
Global Washington Events:
Special Showing of The Linguists, with Dr. David Harrison
Perspectives on International Development at Microsoft
October 31st and November 1st
3rd Annual Global Washington Conference, Opportunities and Obstacles in Turbulent Times
Summit on Global Education in Washington State
Lumana Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction
Make Strides Walkathon
UNA Seattle Annual Membership Meeting
Business of Hope Luncheon
WASCLA 2011 Language Access Summit
UN Day of Celebration