February 2012 Newsletter

Welcome to the February 2012 issue of the Global Washington newsletter. If you would like to contact us directly, please email us.


Note from our Executive Director

Bookda Gheisar

In the month of February, we celebrate love on Valentine’s Day. At Global Washington, we want to express how much we love our members and the work that they are doing! Scroll down to the announcements section in this newsletter and you will have a chance to read about some of their wonderful projects, new accomplishments, and exciting events that are coming up this year. If you love global development work too, don’t forget that we have an opportunity for you to support some of our member projects through our online giving platform. If you are a member, you can be featured here! Contact us to find out how.

Last year, we focused a lot of attention on global education—we believe that our young people need good global knowledge and experience to truly thrive in our interconnected economy. Education benefits all of us because this year’s students are next year’s leaders. In 2012, we are continuing this work in support of global education and we very much want your input as a citizen of Washington State. If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to fill out our global education survey and add your voice to this movement.  The final paper reflecting back our research, interviews of over 400 key stakeholders, and survey findings will be released on April 5th. Look for an announcement about this event soon.

Finally, we are excited about a new partnership with the Alliance FOR Nonprofits Washington. This collaboration will help us offer more and better trainings for our members. This month, they hosted a CEO/Executive Director Forum. Keep an eye out for more opportunities soon!

In unity,

Bookda Gheisar

Bookda Gheisar, Executive Director

Back to Top

Featured Announcements

Tell us what you think about global education!

Last year, we brought together diverse global education stakeholders to form the Global Education Initiative, a coalition dedicated to preparing Washington State students to enter the professional world with global knowledge.  We also invited feedback from educators, nonprofit leaders, students, and policymakers at our first annual Summit on Global Education, where they were able to discuss and refine recommendations for improving education in Washington.

Now it is your turn to participate! We want as many Washingtonians as possible to take our Global Education Survey. Over 700 people have already responded, saying things like global education “provides a broader perspective and open mind, which ultimately leads to innovation, creativity and greater success.” What does global education mean to you?

Take the survey and receive a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to $10 iTunes gift certificate or an ExOfficio shirt!  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/globaledcommunity

Global Washington announces a new partnership with the Alliance FOR Nonprofits Washington

Global Washington and Alliance FOR Nonprofits Washington are partnering this year to provide valuable training opportunities for Global Washington members. AFNW already offers high-quality trainings to strengthen nonprofit leaders and employees. With this new collaboration, Global Washington members will be able to participate in AFNW trainings–such as last week’s Executive Director/CEO forum–at member prices. AFNW’s mission is “to advance a strong and powerful nonprofit sector supporting a vibrant community and economy.” We feel that this fits will with Global Washington’s mission to convene, strengthen, and advocate on behalf of Washington State’s global development community. We hope you will have the opportunity to participate in some of these trainings!

Back to Top

Featured Organization

From local to global: Community development and the YMCA

By Megan Boucher

Global teens in Korea

Global Teens in Korea

When people think of the YMCA, likely the first word that comes to mind is “community.”  Affectionately called “The Y” by many, the YMCA is well-known for its community centers, featuring fitness equipment, activities, and youth programs. What most people likely don’t think of but should is the word “global.” The YMCA not only has locations and programs all over the world, but the organization is also actively involved in community development in those countries.  “It’s all about connection” stated Tom Horsley, Senior Vice President – Emeritus for the YMCA.  The Y is building community from the ground up and making connections within and in between those communities —from the local communities that are home to Y locations to the global community of which we are all a part. “Connections are in everything we do,” Horsley emphasized.  Monica Quill Kusakabe, Director -International Development, added that these connections are not just person to person, but are also community to community, especially with the Y’s global development work. “They’re about how we connect our community here to projects that are happening over there,” she explained.

The mission statement for the Y’s global programs is “to support strengthening of the global community at home and abroad, by empowering adults and youth to become global citizens.”  The organization accomplishes this mission through movement strengthening abroad, including a new microfinance program; through international programs, particularly service learning and exchanges for young people; and by local community engagement with immigrant populations.

Y-Micro: Strengthening communities abroad

Ymicro loan recipient in The Gambia

Ymicro loan recipient in The Gambia

One exciting way the YMCA is accomplishing its global mission is through a new microfinance platform called Y-Micro (housed at www.ymicro.org), launched in the fall of 2011. The idea for the project came during a visit Horsley made to Cali, Colombia. The Y had opened a community center in the poorest area of Cali to get children off the street. “We met with this group of women,” Horsley recalls. “They said to us ‘now we need jobs.’  We met with 18 women and 16 of them had been prostitutes. They no longer wanted that to be their lives. They got their kids off the street and now they wanted real work. So that’s where the germ of the idea began.”

Y-micro is an online giving platform that allows people to donate small amounts to fund microloans for entrepreneurs in the developing world, like the women in Cali. The project uses the funds twice. First, the entrepreneur invests the loan in her business. Second, the loan is repaid and the proceeds fund the local YMCA in that country.  Another key component of the platform is the connection between donor and recipient. Donors can follow reports on the loan that they funded through the online platform.  Recipients can also log in at Y locations and learn about the people funding their loan. Though spearheaded by the Seattle YMCA, the program is supported by other Ys across the country. It is currently operating in Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Colombia, and Liberia, with plans to launch Y-micro in more countries soon.

Connecting local to global

Young adult volunteer with village women in Thailand

Young adult volunteer with village women in Thailand

Beyond the direct goal of assisting entrepreneurs, the Y-Micro also accomplishes two auxiliary goals. The first is to get the word out that the YMCA has global programs. “Y members in the U.S. don’t realize that we’re a global organization,” said Horsley. “We think there is great benefit to having people know that, particularly in a city like Seattle.” The second goal involves engaging a new generation of philanthropists —young people who expect and respond to a different donation model than their older predecessors. “Our donations to the Y skew older,” explained Horsley. “Young people don’t like giving to the big organization in the sky, thinking their money is going to be lost to overhead.”  Y-micro appeals to younger philanthropists by making it clear that the donation is going specifically to a person and allowing the donor a more personal connection to the gift. Connecting young donors to Y-micro entrepreneurs helps the Y accomplish its goal for 20% of its members to have some kind of international connection.

The Y is actively facilitating these connections in other ways as well, and has been for many years. The Seattle Y has had a partnership with Kobe, Japan for 46 years and has facilitated nearly 1000 youth exchanges.  Through its Global Teens program the YMCA also facilitates home stays, cultural experiences, and service learning programs for teens and young adults to learn and serve in Thailand, Colombia, South Korea, and Senegal.  Additionally, the Youth Ambassadors Program provides an opportunity for local Seattle teens to host visiting teens from YMCAs around the world.  Kusakabe explained that the goal of these programs is to “expose young people to the situation outside in the world and make them more aware and connected. We hope that they’ll grow into young agents of change. We’ll be nurturing them to lead more and more groups abroad and build more and more connections.”

Japan tsunami relief

Global teens feeding displaced labor workers in Japan

Global teens feeding displaced labor workers in Japan

A massive tsunami hit Japan in 2011 and because of the longstanding relationship between Seattle and Kobe, sending disaster relief to Japan was a natural response for the Y. The Seattle YMCA was one of three organizations to receive support and funding from Seattle Japan Relief, and the Y quickly began sending volunteers to Japan to help with the relief efforts. More groups are slated to go to Japan this year to continue with rebuilding efforts and potentially launch a microfinance program. Horsley and Kusakabe emphasized the Y’s commitment to continuing work in Japan now that the outpouring of support following the disaster is starting to wane. “Now is the time that it’s even the most critical,” explained Kusakabe.

Youth leadership

Young adult Volunteer group working in Thai Village

Young adult Volunteer group working in Thai Village

The mission of the YMCA is “to build a community where all people, especially the young, are encouraged to develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind and body.” Youth leadership is clearly at the heart of the Y, and the global component is a critical aspect of developing these future leaders. Some of the youth who have participated in Global Teens and other programs have continued to stay engaged with Kobe or the other parts of the world that they visited. Though Y service programs have traditionally focused on young people, Kusakabe explained that many of these teens want to go back as adults. The Y has recently started putting together trips for adults in addition to their teen programs, showing that the YMCA is succeeding in turning service-oriented youth into service-oriented adults. To learn more about the Y’s global programs for youth, visit http://www.seattleymca.org/Locations/Global/Pages/Home.aspx.

“When I went to Colombia the first time,” Horsley recalls, “I was totally blown away by the commitment of their young people.” He suggests that these youth’s passion towards making a difference in their communities can be a model for young people in our own community. And the commitment of the youth of the YMCA both in Seattle and abroad can be an inspiring model for us all.

Back to Top

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!

Oxfam America
Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. Together with individuals and local groups in more than 90 countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice.

Healing the Children Oregon and Western Washington
Healing the Children envisions a world where every child has access to good medical care. We are a non-profit organization passionately committed to securing donated medical services for children in need around the world.

Global Family Travels
Global Family Travels offers meaningful vacations by providing heartfelt and mind-opening travel for families. Our tours offer families enriching cultural immersion and bonding experiences through unique cultural activities, homestays and service work with the local community we work with.

Back to Top


Western Regional International Health Conference held at UW in April. 

The 9th annual Western Regional International Health Conference will be held at the University of Washington in Seattle, April 27th through 29th. Entitled “At A Crossroads: Choosing Hidden Paths in Global Health,” this year’s conference will feature keynote speaker Kavita Nandini Ramdas, Executive Director of Ripples to Waves: Program on Social Entrepreneurship and Development at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law. For more information or to register, visit http://www.wrihc.org/

Participate in International Humanitarian Fair at Seattle Central Community College

Represent your organization at the International Humanitarian Fair, hosted by Seattle Central Community College of February 28th. Students get to learn about your work and you get to meet potential volunteers, recruit employees, and increase awareness about your mission. About 10,000 students are expected to participate! Global Washington’s Executive Director, Bookda Gheisar, will be speaking during the fair, as well as Nadia Eleza Khajawa of Jolkona and Darren Wade of UW Global Health. To sign up, contact Jeb Wyman at JWyman@sccd.ctc.edu.

Lumana launches new video

On Tuesday, Lumana hosted a happy hour at HUB Seattle to celebrate the launch of their new video. We love this snappy, fun look at the power of microfinance and the work that Lumana is doing in Ghana! “Making a large impact doesn’t take a large commitment,” the video states. “The people of Ghana are naturally resourceful. They can overcome the challenges of poverty with the opportunities Lumana creates.”  You can view the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX0Vum_LQNc&feature=youtu.be

Burmese human rights advocate Bo Kyi comes to Seattle in March

In 2007, the world watched as never-ending columns of saffron-robed monks streamed through the streets of Burma, calling attention to the government’s overnight spike in fuel prices. Days later, the army cracked down, arresting thousands of peaceful protestors.

January 13, about 300 of Burma’s political prisoners were released. Yet hundreds more remain behind bars. This month, Bo Kyi, a former political prisoner, an award-winning advocate of human rights in Burma, and Joint Secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma will visit a handful of cities in the U.S., including Seattle.

If you are interested in Burma’s steps toward democratic reform, please review the following line-up of events inspired by Bo Kyi’s upcoming visit…

  • Friday, March 16, 7:00-9:30 pm: Bo Kyi will speak briefly after a screening of the newly released documentary “Into the Current: Burma’s Political Prisoners.” For details, visit www.bridgings.org/images/Flyers/IntoTheCurrentV4.pdf
  • Saturday, March 17, 2:00-3:00 pm: Bo Kyi will speak at Elliott Bay Book Co. On hand will be copies of two related books: Nowhere to Be Home: Narratives from Survivors of Burma’s Military Regime and Abhaya: Burma’s Fearlessness.
  • Saturday, March 17, 4:30-6:00 pm: The World Affairs Council will host an insightful talk by Bo Kyi about the struggle for human rights and democracy in Burma, followed by a Q&A session. For details, visit www.world-affairs.org/events/2012/03/17/burmas-struggle-human-rights-and-democracy

Recent Briefings on USAID and Foreign Affairs

We encourage our members and friends to stay informed on the United States’ budget for and involvement in global development and foreign affairs. Please take some time to review recent statements and briefings related to this subject:

Global Washington has posted the transcript for a February 13th briefing on the 2013 State Department and USAID budgets to our blog.  For more information, see USAID’s press release.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah gave remarks on the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) and USAID Forward on February 15th. For a transcript, visit http://www.usaid.gov/press/speeches/2012/sp120215.html

Gardner Center for Asian Arts and Ideas Hosts Saturday Lecture Series

A new winter and spring lecture series, “The Future of Asia’s Cities: Design, Environment, Health,” will address the unprecedented growth of Asia’s cities and what this means for the world. These talks will take place at the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park and are sponsored by the Gardner Center for Asian Arts and Ideas, The University of Washington’s College of Built Environments and Jackson School of International Studies, Asia Society, and The Elliot Bay Book Company.

These will take place Saturdays, February 18–April 7 from 9:30–11:00am. For more information and a complete list of talks, visit http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/gardnercenter/

UW Annual Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition

Young social entrepreneurs will showcase their projects at An Evening of Innovation, March 1st, 2012 at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. Don’t miss this awards ceremony for the 8th Annual Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition, sponsored by the UW Global Business Center. Ben Packard, Vice President, Global Responsibility of Starbucks Coffee Company will be the keynote speaker.  For more information or to register, visit www.bit.ly/gsecbanquet.

World Water Day is on Thursday, March 22nd!

In honor of World Water Day, UN Water is hosting a forum and exhibition on March 22nd, from 10am to 4pm at Seattle City Hall in the Bertha Knight Landes Room. Bookda Gheisar, Global Washington’s Executive Director, will give remarks at noon. Take some time to appreciate clean water and learn about the work going on to ensure that people have access to it across the world. Local organizations that focus on water will be participating, including many Global Washington members!  For more information about World Water Day, visit http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/.

Back to Top

Upcoming Events

Thursday, February 23
 2012 International Symposium – Our Thirsty Planet
World Café: Exploring our connections to Vietnam and one another

Friday, February 24
2012 International Symposium – Our Thirsty Planet
World Dance Party!

February 24 – 26
 #SocEnt Weekend

February 27 – 29
9th Annual Western Regional International Health Conference

Wednesday, February 29
 i4 2012 – iLEAP’s annual fundraising event
DOING WELL & DOING GOOD: Boeing Co. Elizabeth J. Warman, Director, Global Corporate Citizenship – NW Region

Thursday, March 1
Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition – Celebration Dinner

Saturday, March 3
The Future of Asia’s Cities lecture series. “Why Asia’s Cities Strangle Rivers”

Friday, March 9
Landesa’s Seed the Change Luncheon

Saturday, March 10
The Future of Asia’s Cities lecture series. “Life in an Asian Slum”

Thursday, March 22
World Water Day Forum & Exposition

Saturday, March 24
Prosthetics Outreach Foundation Auction!

March 25 – March 28
The 2012 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference

Contributors: Megan Boucher

Back to Top