Since we began this bold, cross-cultural “experiment” 90 years ago, diversity, equity, and inclusion have been the guiding principles for all World Learning programming and partnerships. Whether our participants are building robots, honing job skills, gaining access to education, or experiencing a new and different culture, the through thread of each World Learning program experience is inclusion.

We recognize that progress requires contributions from all parts of society, including those typically marginalized from political and economic power such as women, older people, youth, people with disabilities, indigenous people, LGBTQI+ communities, and racial, religious, and ethnic identities.

The connections and positive impacts of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) touch the lives and careers of both our international visitors and their U.S. counterparts.

  • Through her IVLP experience, June Chua, a transgender woman, was so inspired by LGBTQI+ advocacy organizations that she created a safe space for young, transgender people in Singapore.
  • After learning about the Americans with Disabilities Act on his IVLP experience, Serhii Letuchyi, a wheelchair user from eastern Ukraine, organized a review of accessibility at municipal buildings in his city, which led to the construction of five ramps. For his extraordinary and creative work to advance disability rights and social inclusion in Ukraine, in 2020 Letuchyi was recognized as a Gold Star by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Office of International Visitors.
  • Raquel Beneby Hart, returned to Grand Bahama after her IVLP exchange and founded an online streaming network to encourage women and girls in the Bahamas and elsewhere to become entrepreneurs. Raquel was also featured on a local TV station where she discussed her IVLP experience.

Read more on the World Learning blog.

‘Tapping’ into diverse experiences

Another way we promote inclusion is through Transforming Agency, Access, and Power (TAAP), an approach founded on the principle that transformative social change requires the inclusion of all those who have been excluded from power. Our open-source TAAP toolkit, launched in 2018, provides development practitioners with a series of steps they can take to “tap” into the voices, skills, and experiences of all people.

In fall of 2020, World Learning joined forces with Sightsavers to improve access to education for disabled children in Bangladesh. Using TAAP practices, we worked with families in poor and rural areas to enhance the education and social integration of their children with disabilities.

This year, through the USAID-funded Leaders Advancing Democracy (LEAD) Mongolia program, we rolled out the Mongolian version of the TAAP toolkit as a resource for civil society leaders, development practitioners, government officials and the private sector. Inclusion has been a hallmark of LEAD programming. Since the program started in 2016, LEAD Mongolia has supported thousands of young people in gaining knowledge and skills in democracy, advocacy, civic engagement, and social inclusion.

Our support for inclusive education also extends to North Africa, where World Learning Algeria is advancing Universal Design Learning (UDL), a framework that draws on neuroscience research to support flexible learning environments and accommodate individual learning differences. World Learning’s Algeria team continues to demonstrate their expertise in their area. In fall 2021, they presented their research at a Global Education Summit.

Watch the Global Education Summit presentation video.

Create connections. Transform the world.