A very warm welcome back to all the participants that returned from Cuba, Ecuador and India on our New Year’s and customized tour delegations. We welcome you to our dynamic and informed alumni pool as well as the Global Exchange family. Once a month you will receive this update from us and hopefully be inspired to click on links to past participant stories, our blog, news pieces and actions from our partners.
As we begin 2012 and ring in the Lunar New Year, we honor two important milestones. This March, Global Exchange is commemorating our Ten Year Anniversary of sending delegations to Afghanistan for International Women’s Day.
Last year marked the 10th year of US involvement in Afghanistan. Early in 2002, Global Exchange, in response to the popular justification that we were at war “for the women of Afghanistan,” decided to see reality on the ground for ourselves. We convened a women’s delegation that included women who had left Afghanistan in the 1980s when the Soviet Union invaded, US women interested in women’s development and micro-finance, a concert producer and celebrity, all committed to spread the word after we got back.
And after ten years, we continue to partner with Afghan women, teachers and local organizations to offer trips for peace, friendship and women’s rights. Please check out this blog – Laughing in Afghanistan – by trip participant Jennifer Huber.
January also marks the second year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti where over 300,000 lost their lives. We know from our partners in Haiti that most of the first responders have packed up and moved on to other global crises, that promises of aid have not been fulfilled, and that a great need remains to support Haitians rebuild their infrastructure, institutions and economy. After years of being on hold, Global Exchange’s educational and socially responsible program is reinstating our grassroots solidarity delegations this year to Haiti.
Finally, our Customized Tours programs continue to grow and I am excited to be working on insightful programs for clients to the former Yugoslavia, Turkey and Burma. If you have a group of 6 or more, contact me to make your ideal journey a reality!
Stay tuned for next month, when we will announce our 2011 photo and video contest winners.
Here’s to an insightful 2012,
Reality Tours Director (External Relations)
PS. Valentine's Day is around the corner. Show your love of social justice by giving those you love a Global Exchange Valentine's Day gift of membership.