Impact Abroad Selected as Top Program by U. S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy & U.S. Department of State

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Impact Abroad is pleased to announce its selection as a Top Program by the International Voluntary Service Task Force and the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD). The U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy is a national meeting presented by the USCCD in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

Impact Abroad would give a presentation on its activities and share volunteers’ experiences at the National Awards function in the Summit on the 17th of November, 2:15pm - 5:00pm.

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The International Voluntary Service Task Force will look at innovative volunteering projects based in the U.S and abroad with a view to not only increase the number of Americans participating in international service but also the effectiveness of the volunteers through services of non-profit organizations, religious institutions, and professional associations abroad.

Impact Abroad places Americans, as well as individuals from other countries, who want to volunteer abroad in China and India into volunteer placements in nonprofit organizations. It is, in a sense, like a short-term peace corps. In addition to helping local projects both at Kunming in Yunnan, China and at Kolkata in India, we help our American volunteers develop an understanding of a new culture and society outside the US. All of our volunteer programs, from placement, to support and training before and during their trip are provided completely free of charge; volunteers only pay for their flight and housing. The program itself, placement, orientation, three meals a day, and their cell phone are all free.

Impact Abroad is funded by and partners with Minds Abroad which runs student exchange programs in China and India.
In both countries, Minds Abroad offers class in:

  •     Languages - Mandarin and Hindi, which are limited to a max class size of 3 students
  •     Culture - a six week intensive program touching topics like history, philosophy/religion, art, daily life, society, and economics/business each week.

Through all our programs we encourage cultural understanding and try to bring students and volunteers closer to the life of people in both these countries. Through service learning among volunteers, educational excursion and hand-on activities for students in the course of our India and China tours we aim at an intensive immersion experience. Additionally Yunnan being a paradise of geographical diversities, from tropical rain forests to Himalayan mountains, magnificent lakes and an easy access to 5 Southeast Asian countries, the opportunities for volunteer travel is endless.

Our mission is to make an impact on the lives of both our volunteers and the disadvantaged community of migrant laborers they volunteer to help. By participating in community service and educational development programs, Impact Abroad volunteers make an impact on the lives of poverty stricken women and children and also help bridge the gap between their culture and that of the community they volunteer in.
The upcoming U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy is to be held November 16-19, 2010 in Washington, DC.

The Summit is a national meeting presented by the USCCD in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Designed to broaden the momentum generated from the work of the USCCD as a national resource base it will help build a network for Americans to be engaged as citizen diplomats. This would include two major leadership forums focused on the revival of citizen diplomacy as a critical component of U.S. public diplomacy and a foreign policy strategy. Impact Abroad carries out this mission of “citizen diplomacy” in Yunnan, one of China's most undeveloped provinces. We feel that voluntary work in a foreign country can be a valuable experience for people of all ages and is something that has the power of "citizen diplomacy" to build understanding among the peoples of the world. This program is also open to international volunteers from other English speaking countries.

The Summit will be the first such meeting since President Eisenhower’s People-to-People conference on the same subject 54 years ago, and will serve as the launch for a “Decade of Citizen Diplomacy” with the goal to double the number of American citizen diplomats by 2020.

Impact Abroad; the volunteering wing of Minds Abroad collaborates with local non-profit organizations in Kunming to coordinate volunteer opportunities. Working across a varied cross-section of the society, volunteer work includes teaching homeless children, helping women and children develop vocational skills or take part in rural projects in micro-finance for peasants.

The International Voluntary Service Task Force, chaired by David Caprara, Director, International Volunteering & Service Initiative at the Brookings Institution and Steven Rosenthal, Executive Director of Cross-Cultural Solutions, will look at such innovative projects, policies, overcoming market barriers, and lessons learned around the globe from volunteer citizen diplomats in order to increase not only the number of Americans participating in overseas volunteer programs, but also the effectiveness of the volunteers through services of non-profit organizations, religious institutions, and professional associations abroad. These presentations would describe new, innovative and collaborative programs that engage multiple organizations and involve public/private partnerships both in the U.S. and abroad.

Impact Abroad would give a presentation on its activities and share volunteers’ experiences at the National Awards function in the Summit on the 17th of November, 2:15pm - 5:00pm.

Impact Abroad and the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy stand together in their commitment to the expansion and promotion of citizen diplomacy initiatives and urge their fellow Americans to join the effort. Please visit ImpactAbroad.org for more information about our activities.

The U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established in 2006 to promote and expand opportunity for all Americans to be citizen diplomats, and affirm the indispensible value of citizen involvement in foreign relations. Registration and additional information about the USCCD and the U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy may be found at: http://www.usc4cd.org

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