The One World Youth Project (OWYP) program has given me the opportunity to communicate with peers my age in the U.S., Kosovo, Turkey and Pakistan, as we share our stories, our histories, and things that motivate us in life,” explains University of Guyana student Onika Stellingburg.
Onika and eleven of her peers are part of a new initiative at the university called One World Youth Project, which empowers university students as facilitators of cross-cultural dialogue between local Grade Seven classrooms and classrooms in the U.S., Kosovo, Turkey and Pakistan.
The world has changed significantly over the past century. The global economy is flattening, there is unprecedented migration and we are experiencing a digital revolution. As One World Youth Project Founder, Jess Rimington, explains “Those prepared to operate within this new reality will see our increasing global interconnection as an opportunity. Those not prepared will see this changing landscape as a threat.” Schools want to prepare young people with a global mindset, enabling them to be ready for university and a career.
The University of Guyana is helping make this possible. In partnership with One World Youth Project, a Washington D.C. based non-profit, the University is providing Richard Ishmael School students with a unique global-learning opportunity that enables grade 7 students to be exposed to the world without actually having to leave the classroom.
After a semester of training administered by One World Youth Project, University of Guyana students have connected their younger peers atRichard Ishmael School with youth in Pakistan, Kosovo, Turkey and the United States.
The University of Guyana students have successfully guided their 7th grade classrooms through an 18-week global education curriculum. Every week, 5 classrooms around the world have connected with their partner classrooms through video, pictures and written pieces. Together the partner classes have examined points of cultural similarity and difference, built skills for cross-cultural communication, and collaborated in discussing global challenges and solutions.
This past year, the University of Guyana student team of volunteers has been managed by two student leaders, Ryan Hoppie and Onika Stellingburg, who were awarded a Project Manager Fellowship by One World Youth Project. Together Onika and Ryan have worked with University of Guyana staff member, Daniella King, to lead the One World Youth Project work within Georgetown, and they will pass on their leadership positions to students Persia Martindale and Jessica Surrey for the upcoming year. As Project Manager Fellow Ryan Hoppie explains, “In working for this program, we are helping these kids see that we can affect change one community at a time, one nation at a time, all coming from the hearts and the minds of young people around the world.