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FEATURED PARTNER: The World Leadership Corps

Human need is borderless, and the talent and desire to serve can be found everywhere. The World Leadership Corps provides a new approach to global service.

In his recently published book, The Meaning of the 21st Century, Dr. James Martin, World Leadership Corps founder and chairman, advocates the creation of an international service program that unites the energy and idealism of youth with the power of digital media to meet global educational needs and to build awareness of critical issues facing the planet in this new century. Dr. Martin, a long-time authority in the information technology and the author of more than 100 books, endowed The James Martin 21st Century School at Oxford University, and the WLC became a program associated with this new school.

The WEC was originally created by Dr. Martin as a powerful means of enlisting young people - the "transition generation" - in the 21st century struggle to create a sustainable future for the world. During the past several months, as the lessons of the Pilot Program began increasingly clear, we have moved toward a new understanding of the WLC's opportunities for leveraging global change. Rather than placing primary emphasis on the work product of the volunteers, important as this is, we will have a greater impact in this critical time of global transition by focusing on the preparation, through a powerful and integrated service-learning program, of 100 to 125 young people, annually, who have the promise to become leaders of the transition generation. These young people, drawn from all over the world, will undertake demanding and important service assignments and pursue a rigorous academic program focusing on 21st century challenges, leadership, and international studies.

The WLC stands out in the crowded field of international volunteer service organizations by virtue of its policy of recruiting volunteers from all over the world and its parallel practice of placing volunteers in both developing countries and in underserved communities in developed nations. A second distinguishing feature of the WLC is its academic component, a master's program currently under development that will also integrate the year of service. A third characteristic is that unlike virtually every other international service program, the volunteer?s time of service is fully funded. Core principles guiding the WLC, including reliance on international partners for the definition of appropriate programs, respect for local traditions and cultural norms, freedom from religious doctrines and political partisanship, and commitment to fostering sustainable practices

The WLC will partner with a number of international agencies, competitively selected, whose missions attach to one or more of the principal emphases in the 21st century agenda of Dr. Martin and the Institutes associated with the 21st Century School at Oxford. Innovative and successful organizations pursuing important work in these areas will soon be invited to submit proposals for working with one or more WLC volunteers. The WLC can best fulfill its mission by establishing a cluster of partnerships with organizations who are doing exemplary work in areas that are central to the WLC mission, including public health, education, economic development, the environment, and social justice.


WLC and Curriki

The WLC?s pilot partnership with Curriki currently involves two WLC volunteers working with the Earth Charter Initiative. Katharine Cooley in China is looking for Curriki to be an integral part of a program to help university students create better project proposal, serve as a source for formal trainings, and provide guidance in corpoprate social responsibility initiatives. Leah Wener in Sweden is working with the EC office to focus on increasing communications throughout the EC Initiative. This is a specific priority for the Youth Initiative, where the current structure is quite loose and decentralized. It is important that it remain localized and action-based but desirable that a greater flow of information between affiliate groups, be developed and the sharing of 'stories' - examples of the Earth Charter in action, best practices, etc. to further encourage the feeling of one global network. Youth representatives have reacted positively to the idea of using Curriki as a platform for some of this exchange. One of the attractive components of Curriki for this project is also the space for comments, reactions, and questions from ECYI activists (and others outside the network) that can accompany the different guides and stories.

In addition, two other WLC volunteers serving in the Dominican Republic with the Dream Project, Kim Hults and Caroline Stauffer, will be exploring Curriki use for developing curriculum for literacy programs for children and adults and in environments with little access to information technology.

The World leadership Corps sees great potential with the Curriki partnership to advance its unique mission.

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