In 1988, four friends co-founded Global Exchange to fight a worldview based on greed, domination, and unvarnished worship of power. We envisioned building a robust U.S. movement capable of creating change from the grassroots, powered by people-to-people ties. This year we celebrated our 25th anniversary, and we are proud to honor the dedication of people like you who have sweated and sacrificed to forge a working alternative from the ground up.
Reality Tours, a cornerstone piece of our building people-to-people-ties mission, connects people to issues, issues to movements, and movements to social change. This year 929 travelers joined 56 trips to 23 countries, including several new destinations. Here’s a wrap up of some of our favorite trips this year!
After years of honoring the travel boycott called for by civil society to Burma, we sent our first trip in April after the boycott was lifted late last year. Under change and transition, the Reality Tour aimed to learn directly from the people themselves about their launch on the road to democratic reforms.
One traveler, Nancy Penrose, wrote an account of her experience, and it’s best summed up by her last few lines: “Now, when I read about events in Myanmar, I understand so much more, I care, I pay attention. And I watch for ways to help.”
To raise and honor the radical roots of the state Oklahoma, local expert Rachel Jackson led a trip this July, which culminated at the Woodie Guthrie Folk Festival. Enjoy an extensive blog series which details the trip, including the joyous days at the folks festival, and learn more about the radical past unmatched for activism and racial solidarity of the 46th state!
In another ‘first’, a Reality Tour focusing on the Rights of Nature traveled to India and spent four days on the Naydanya farm operated by Dr. Vandana Shiva in Dehradun. The trip was so interesting that we’re sure to run it again in 2014, but can’t be certain that the same royal guest will show up.
Our 25th Anniversary Reality Tour to Oaxaca, Mexico during the Day of the Dead observations, linked the significance of history and tradition to current political and organizing context and struggle for rights. A special thank you to everyone who joined this trip and was part of our year of quarter century celebrations!
And lastly, eighty-one permaculture experts traveled with Reality Tours to Cuba, and joined hundreds of others at the International Permaculture Conference this November. Global Exchange is a licensed Travel Service Provider (TSP) by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and is excited to arrange educational travel for parties traveling under the General License or a People-to-People license.
We’re proud of what we’ve done together. But to achieve the visions we set out all those years ago, we’re going to need your continued support.
Hope to see you on a Reality Tour in 2014,
Customized Cuba Director
P.S. Share your values with family and friends. This holiday season give a gift of Global Exchange membership and ensure our strength for the next 25 years!