By J.E. Rash, Founder, President, Legacy International
As I listened to the President’s comments on Civil Society, Religion, Peace and co-operation yesterday at the Clinton Global Initiative and today at the United Nations, I could not help reflecting on the past 36 years of our work at Legacy International.
Iraqi Youth Leadership participants develop food delivery project
Over that time our commitment, our capabilities, and our successes have only multiplied. Our commitment to youth began with a small Summer Camp, it grew to be an venue for addressing the needs of refugees, youth involved in conflict and American minority youth, as well as a cross-section of youth from all walks of society. We were the first to bring young Palestinian and Israeli youth together in this country; we expanded our vision to N. Ireland and to S.E.Asia; then again we expanded our work to addressing not only conflict resolution but also conflict prevention, both in the public and private sectors. At the same time, we created and continued to refine our cross cultural and subject specific leadership trainings, and training of trainers programs. We again expanded to work with young professionals, governmental agencies, and educators (as we developed curriculum) especially our LivingSidebySide® program; now being used in Kyrgyzstan and other venues.
Kyrgyz Women’s program participants overcome ethnic differences and organize joint cultural event.
We focused and continue to focus on diverse subjects: Environment in the 1980′s, and later Public Health in Middle East and North Africa; Legislative and Parliamentary Development; education programs and exchanges in Central Asia, Disabilities in Ukraine and Russia; Dialogue with Religious Leaders in Indonesia and Central Asia.
As the President rightly said, (and which you can imagine made me very happy to hear) we are creating a Legacy, ’We are asking you to help us create this Legacy’… Well, Mr. President, we have been doing exactly that at Legacy International for 36 years.
Today with our Teams of Excellence™ we are continuing to offer a network of experts and their expertise to the global community. We have designed seminars and exchanges, consultations and we provide subject matter experts to global organizations, governments, corporations, universities and young entrepreneurs, on Entrepreneurship, Social Marketing and Digital Marketing, Trade and Development , Educating for Employment, Technology for Young Women. We are developing with our partners here and in other countries, Centers for Public Health Education, English Language Programs , New approaches to Literacy Training that also educate youth to public health issues, Mother Child Health programs, Hygiene and safety programs.
Legislative Fellows Program participant with U.S. Congressional Mentors in Washington, DC.
Our work has placed us in Morocco, Algeria,Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Indonesia, Russia, Belarus, Bosnia, Indonesia, China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Mauritania, and other countries. What often began with grants from the Department of State of the United States, often from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and our Embassies were seeds for and remain incentives to sustain that work, even after the grants are completed. That is the Legacy International Commitment to those whom we serve. The very best projects are growing to be sustainable programs run by our former Fellows, in partnership with Legacy International and our subject specific partners.
I cannot commend or praise enough the young professionals and the partners we work with here and abroad. Dedicated public servants, educators, NGO staff, and our network of experts. You will find that list in this years new business prospectus. We are committed, as I said, to sustain the successes of those who we serve.
Indonesian Youth Leadership program participants plant trees to prevent beach erosion
Sustainability is a key; education is the foundation, opportunity for all, regardless of gender, religion, sect, tribe, nationality … we work on the the principle of Universal Values and Helping People to Help Themselves. We offer only the very best service, the most up to date knowledge and technical abilities, and most of all sincere concern and deep regard for service.
So I am grateful to finally hear the President of the United States affirm our commitment our life work, our vision and dream and our tireless effort and I wait to hear similar comments and promises from other World Leaders. Education and it’s consequent results, provides opportunity for a life free of preventable disease, free of poverty and hunger, free of ignorance and inhuman treatment, is at the core the way to overcome extremism and terrorism. The need is to serve, educate and create opportunity for the youth (14-35) of the world; especially where the majority of a nation’s population is under the age of 29.
The President rightly addressed the critics of policies and apparent disparities in his UN address today; the world is not wrapped up in a neat package; it is complex and demanding and dangerous; but any action today must be based on a vision over the horizon of a better future.
Educators from Samara, Russian representing community based programs work together to support people with Disabilities.
He said, what I too have said many many times over; no child is born (bad) or evil; I firmly believe that goodness is at the heart of each child and it is incumbent upon us, with all our frailties and errors to strive to change ourselves, our nations, our world for the future generations, for the sake of humanity.
Our partners around the world share our dedication and our hope and our vision; even those who are living today, as I write this, in places away from their homes due to the ravages of war and criminal activities directed against them. I am humbled by the courage and the positivity I read or hear daily from former Legislative, Health, Professional Legacy Fellows and former Global Youth Village Alumni, as well as the many Alumni of Community Connections Professional educators and businessmen and women.
Visiting Microsoft in NYC, girls from MENA countries learn technology in US TechGirls program
The world we tend to work in is to say the least, volatile and unpredictable, but there is hope and we will not give up our effort, our three and half decade effort to bring Peace and Understanding, education and opportunity to our brothers and sisters around the world. Join us, support us, work with us. It is a noble goal to build truly civil Civil Societies. As we said many many years ago: The Future is in Our Hands.