The search for sustainable solutions demands leadership in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This year, we prepared to expand our STEAM programming to Saudi Arabia with a new center and a STEAM-focused virtual exchange program for U.S. and Saudi youth. We also supported women in the Fulbright Specialist Program who are working to promote science education among the next generation of girls and young women.
“It’s really important that we bring women into the STEM workforce,” says Alicia Santiago, a 2020 Fulbright Specialist, scientist, and informal science educator who works on community outreach and mass-media STEM programs with Latinx youth. “Otherwise, we all lose if only half the population participates in science.”
As those who stand to inherit the planet, young people have a keen sense of the urgency that climate change presents. Over the past year, hundreds of youths have participated in World Learning programs aimed at building a better future. Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action) participants addressed deforestation in Mexico with Acción CocoWood, waste reduction and recycling promotion in schools with Más vale reciclaje en mano, que desastre humano, and water scarcity with a project called Bucket.
In the virtual learning environment, too, young people are leading the way. Included in the currently virtual Youth Ambassadors fall 2020 Bolivia and Peru cohort were two environmental projects presented to the U.S. Embassy in Lima. Eco Tree—Larga Vida al Algarrobo raised awareness about the protection of a native tree, while Llevame Contigo addressed recycling efforts and pollution.
"We all lose if only half the population participates in science.”
Meanwhile, our International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) examined urban emissions and sustainable improvements to urban air quality across the Indo-Pacific region, and the LEAD 2020 U.S Exchange Program on the Environment and Urbanization provided solar panels at a child welfare center in one of Mongolia’s ger districts.
These and other projects and programs demonstrate our multifaceted and diverse efforts to address climate change and sustainability by developing leaders of all ages and backgrounds.