Returning participants often wonder what they can do to stay informed and to contribute to global change once they have returned to their own community. These pages contain information on ways to stay connected to others who share your global concerns and links to organizations that can support you in translating your international travel seminar experience into concrete action for social change.
Life After Study Abroad is a digital magazine that helps returned students and travelers answer the question, “what next?” You will find information about the impact of study abroad on your career, how to plan for another experience abroad, and ways to manage culture shock.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America: The Big Brothers/Big Sisters mission is to help children reach their potential through professionally-supported, one-to-one relationships with mentors that have a measurable impact on youth.
Habitat for Humanity International: Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with God and people everywhere, from all walks of life, to develop communities with people in need by building and renovating houses so that there are decent houses in decent communities in which every person can experience God’s love and can live and grow into all that God intends.
International Committee of the Red Cross (IRRC): ICRC is an impartial, neutral, and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance.
United Way International: United Way International helps build community capacity for a better quality of life worldwide through voluntary giving and action.
United Way National: The mission of United Way National is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities.
Community and Economic Development
Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First shapes how people think by analyzing the root causes of global hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation and developing solutions in partnership with movements working for social change.
Oxfam America: a nonprofit organization that works to end global poverty through saving lives, strengthening communities, and campaigning for change. We are an affiliate of Oxfam International.
United Nations Development Programme: the United Nation’s global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience, and resources to help people build a better life. It is on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners.
Rights Action: funds community-controlled development, environmental, human rights, and emergency-relief projects in Guatemala, Chiapas (Mexico), Honduras, El Salvador, and Haiti. It does education and activism work with North Americans and helps form North-South alliances to address and remedy global exploitation, repression, environmental destruction, and racism.
SHARE Foundation: The SHARE Foundation is an international nonprofit organization that accompanies poor communities in El Salvador as they work for economic justice, democracy, and sustainable development alternatives at the local and national levels.
Voices on the Border: builds solidarity between communities in the United States and in El Salvador to promote sustainable and equitable development in El Salvador.
Voting and Formal Political Activities
Citizens for Election Integrity: an organization whose primary purpose is to ensure that votes are counted accurately. It educates citizens about the election system, publicizes concerns about voting technology, encourages citizen participation in the election process, and lobbies government officials to support election reform.
Common Cause: The mission of Common Cause is to strengthen public participation and faith in our institutions of self-government; to ensure that government and political processes serve the general interest, rather than special interests; to curb the excessive influence of money on government decisions and elections; to promote fair elections and high ethical standards for government officials; and to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans.
Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA): IPA seeks to broaden public discourse. With systematic outreach to media professionals, the Institute provides news releases that offer well-documented analysis of current events and underlying issues. Serving as a consortium for an abundance of diverse expertise, IPA makes frequent communication possible between independent policy analysts and working journalists. IPA promotes the inclusion of perspectives that widen the bounds of media discussion and enhance democratic debate.
League of Women Voters: a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
NAACP: The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG): U.S. PIRG’s mission to deliver persistent, result-oriented public interest activism that protects our environment, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, and fosters responsive, democratic government
The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) website also contains resources related to voting and formal political activities, including contacting and convincing Congress regarding specific issues, influencing candidates, and a congressional scorecard on key Latin American issues.
Direct Action Strategies
Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO): The mission of PTO is to challenge oppressive systems by promoting critical thinking and social justice.
School of the Americas Watch: an independent organization that seeks to close the United States Army School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work.
Nonviolent Peaceforce: The mission of Nonviolent Peaceforce is to build a large-scale trained, international civilian nonviolent peaceforce. Nonviolent Peaceforce will be sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights, thus creating the space for local groups to struggle nonviolently, enter into dialogue, and seek peaceful resolution.
Peace Brigades International (PBI): PBI is a non-governmental organization that protects human rights and promotes nonviolent transformation of conflicts. When invited, it sends teams of volunteers into areas of repression and conflict. The volunteers accompany human rights defenders, their organizations, and others threatened by political violence. Perpetrators of human rights abuses usually do not want the world to witness their actions. The presence of volunteers backed by a support network helps to deter violence. PBI creates space for local activists to work for social justice and human rights.
Voices in the Wilderness: formed in 1996 to nonviolently challenge the economic warfare being waged by the United States against the people of Iraq. It continues its work today, acting to end the United States occupation of Iraq.
Grassroots Political Activity and Public Policy Work
Africa Action: the oldest organization in the U.S. working on African affairs. Our mission is to change U.S. Africa relations to promote political, economic and social justice in Africa. We provide accessible information and analysis and we mobilize popular support for campaigns to achieve this mission.
Engage (the Educational Network for Global Grassroots Exchange): a coalition of returned study abroad students that transforms the study abroad experience into lifelong connections and cooperative action between peoples and social movements working towards a just and sustainable world.t.
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA): WOLA promotes human rights, democracy, and social and economic justice in Latin America and the Caribbean. WOLA facilitates dialogue between governmental and nongovernmental actors, monitors the impact of policies and programs of governments and international organizations, and promotes alternatives through reporting, education, training and advocacy. Founded in 1974 by a coalition of religious and civic leaders, WOLA works closely with civil society organizations and government officials throughout the hemisphere.
Wellstone Action: a national center for training and leadership development for the progressive movement. Founded in January 2003, Wellstone Action’s mission is to honor the legacy of Paul and Sheila Wellstone by continuing their work through training, educating, mobilizing and organizing a vast network of progressive individuals and organizations.
Center for International Policy (CIP): promotes a United States foreign policy based on international cooperation, demilitarization, and respect for basic human rights.
The Disarm Education Fund: promotes peace, social justice, and human rights. Founded in 1976 as a gun-control group, Disarm has broadened its mission and transformed itself into an internationally recognized advocacy and medical assistance organization.
TransAfrica Forum: the oldest and largest African American human rights and social justice advocacy organization promoting diversity and equity in the foreign policy arena and justice for the African World. TransAfrica Forum envisions a world where Africans and people of African descent are self-reliant, socially and economically prosperous, and equal participants in a just international system structured to benefit their self-determined governments and peoples.
To this end, TransAfrica Forum serves as an educational and organizing center that encourages progressive viewpoints in the United States foreign policy arena and advocates justice for the people of Africa and the African Diaspora. The organization promotes solidarity with the oppressed and supports human rights, gender equity, democracy, and sustainable economic and environmental development practices in Africa and other countries where people of African descent reside.
US Network for Global Economic Justice: 50 Years Is Enough: US Network for Global Economic Justice is a coalition of over 200 United States-based grassroots, women’s, solidarity, faith-based, policy, social- and economic-justice, youth, labor, and development organizations dedicated to the profound transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Network works in solidarity with over 185 international partner organizations in more than 65 countries.
Witness for Peace: a politically independent, grassroots organization of people committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience.
Nonviolence.org: provides news and commentary from a pacifist perspective.
PeaceNet: Sponsored by the Institute for Global Communications, PeaceNet explores information and work for social change in the areas of peace, environmental justice, women’s rights, and the struggle against racism.
YWCA: The YWCA USA is a women’s membership movement nourished by its roots in the Christian faith and sustained by the richness of many beliefs and values. Strengthened by diversity, the YWCA draws together members who strive to create opportunities for women’s growth, leadership, and power in order to attain a common vision: peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people. The YWCA will thrust its collective power toward the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, and by any means necessary.
Advocacy through Community Education
Curriculum Resources for Global Citizenship Education: The Boston Research Center for the 21st Century (BRC) is an international peace institute founded in 1993 by Daisaku Ikeda, peace activist, educator, and president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Buddhist organization active in 190 countries and territories around the world. Inspired by the SGI’s philosophy of value creation (Soka), the BRC works to build cultures of peace through dialogue and education programs. These programs include public forums and scholarly seminars that are organized collaboratively and offer a diverse range of perspectives. The overarching goal of these gatherings is to contribute to a shift in United States culture from isolation, violence, and war to interconnectedness, nonviolence, and peace.
Amnesty International (AI): AI is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights. AI’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
Center for Victims of Torture: The Center for Victims of Torture works to heal the wounds of torture on individuals, their families, and their communities and to stop torture worldwide. (See the Center’s New Tactics in Human Rights project)
Church World Service: Founded in 1946, CWS is the relief, development, and refugee assistance ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations in the United States. Working in partnership with indigenous organizations in more than 80 countries, CWS works worldwide to meet human needs and foster self-reliance for all whose way is hard. Within the United States, CWS assists communities in responding to disasters, resettles refugees, promotes fair national and international policies, provides educational resources, and offers opportunities to join a people-to-people network of local and global caring through participation in CROP Hunger Walks, the Tools & Blankets Program, and the CWS Kits Program.
Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA: Founded in 1982, the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, humanitarian organization that monitors, documents, and reports on the human rights situation in Guatemala, advocates for survivors of human rights abuses in Guatemala, and works toward positive, systemic change.
Human Rights Watch: dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.
Lutheran World Relief: works with partners in 35 countries to help people grow food, improve health, strengthen communities, end conflict, build livelihoods and recover from disasters.
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights: The mission of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights is to implement international human rights standards in order to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. By involving volunteers in research, education, and advocacy, we build broad constituencies in the United States and selected global communities.
Dollars & Sense: a nonprofit publisher that produces the bi-monthly magazine Dollars & Sense and the Real World college course readers and other texts. Dollars & Sense publishes economic news and analysis, reports on economic justice activism, primers on economic topics, and critiques of the mainstream media’s coverage of the economy.
Jubilee USA Network: an alliance of more than 80 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Teaching for Peace: The Teaching for Peace Website is a project of the Burnaby Teachers Social Justice Committee, which seeks to develop classroom friendly materials on social justice and environmental issues.
University of Minnesota Human Rights Library: The University of Minnesota Human Rights Library houses one of the largest collections of more than 25,000 core human rights documents, including several hundred human rights treaties and other primary international human rights instruments. The site also provides access to more than 4,000 links and a unique search device for multiple human rights sites. This comprehensive research tool is accessed by more than a 175,000 students, scholars, educators, and human rights advocates monthly from over 135 countries around the world. Documents are available in six languages—Arabic, English, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.
Socially Responsible Daily Behavior
Small daily lifestyle changes, although relatively painless, can often make the most immediate and tangible impacts on the communities with whom we interact. In fact, each action we make has direct consequences on the lives of others. By considering the ways our lifestyle choices impact others, we can make positive contributions to the wellbeing of our neighbors in our home communities and our host countries.
Examples of social responsibility include: buying organic produce from local producers, driving energy efficient vehicles, using public transportation, recycling waste materials, buying clothes produced by fair trade companies, and investing your savings and retirement funds in companies that respect worker rights.
Ecological footprint quiz: Take this quiz to find out the size of your “ecological footprint.”
Green Pages: The National Green Pages™ is a directory listing nearly 3,000 businesses that have made firm commitments to sustainable, socially just principles, including the support of sweatshop-free labor, organic farms, fair trade, and cruelty-free products.
LocalHarvest: America’s number one organic and local food website. We maintain a definitive and reliable “living” public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. Our search engine helps people find products from family farms, local sources of sustainably grown food, and encourages them to establish direct contact with small farms in their local area. Our online store helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area.
NativeEnergy: a privately held Native American energy company.
Equal Exchange: Equal Exchange’s mission is to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers and to demonstrate, through our success, the contribution of worker co-operatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic, and sustainable world.
The Fair Trade Federation: an association of fair trade wholesalers, retailers, and producers whose members are fully committed to providing fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide.
Maggie’s Functional Organics: Maggie’s sells clothing made by fair trade producers in Nicaragua from organic materials.
New American Dream: The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice.
Ten Thousand Villages: provides vital, fair income to Third World people by marketing their handicrafts and telling their stories in North America.
Interfaith Center on Social Responsibility: ICCR is a thirty-year-old international coalition of 275 faith-based institutional investors including denominations, religious communities, pension funds, healthcare corporations, foundations and dioceses with combined portfolios worth an estimated $100 billion. As responsible stewards, they merge social values with investment decisions, believing they must achieve more than an acceptable financial return. ICCR members utilize religious investments and other resources to change unjust or harmful corporate policies, working for peace, economic justice and stewardship of the Earth.
Social Investment Forum: The Social Investment Forum is a national nonprofit membership organization promoting the concept, practice, and growth of socially responsible investing.