Learning Life seeks individuals and organizations interested in helping to build a “World Affairs Pipeline” connecting lower-income DC children to opportunities and careers in international relations.

The Challenge

Washington DC is a world city divided.  On one hand, DC is home to thousands of individuals and organizations daily engaged in international affairs.  On the other hand, DC is also home to thousands of lower-income youth that have traveled little if at all outside DC, and are largely disconnected from the wider world as well as their own community.  These two groups are in some ways worlds apart, yet often live just blocks apart, and may cross paths daily, strangers to each other.  Nonetheless, both groups are inescapably part of a wider world increasingly connected in at once exciting and frightful ways.  Those disengaged from an early age may not only be left behind, but become the resigned and resentful rather than caring and connected global citizens we need in our heterogeneous world.    

World Affairs PipelineThe Proposed Pipeline

There is much that caring individuals and organizations in metro DC can do to help bridge the divide between these two groups, but it takes vision, collaborative planning, and follow-through.  It also takes a pipeline.  Committed groups already build steel and plastic pipelines to deliver oil and gas to homes and businesses across the world.  So can they build social pipelines that nurture, in coordinated ways, caring global citizens from kindergarten to after-school, weekend and summer youth and family programs, to internships and volunteer opportunities, to higher education programs and apprenticeships, to jobs and careers in world affairs.

This is what we propose.  We are Learning Life, a nonprofit education and citizen engagement lab based in Washington DC.  We run a Family Diplomacy Initiative (FDI) that connects families online across borders, and an international mentoring program that helps kids in Ward 8 as well as El Salvador and Senegal learn about the world.  We are small but innovative.  We know we can achieve more in partnership with like-minded metro DC organizations.  We know that transforming the lives of lower-income youth is not easy, but committed groups working together in the long-term can transform people, cities and the world.

Get Involved

The Pipeline is a long-term project.  Learning Life is currently in a preliminary phase talking with relevant metro DC organizations to get their input, and consider ways they might contribute to building the Pipeline.  Possible Pipeline components include, but are not limited to:

  1. Office tours: Tours of your organization’s office to explain to DC students the learning opportunities and types of post-college international employment your organization provides
  2. Class visits: Visits to classes, families or youth groups to present an international issue and how your organization addresses that issue
  3. Mentoring: One-on-one mentoring of DC children focused on engaging them with the world through visits to metro DC museums, embassies, cultural festivals, foreign restaurants, etc.
  4. Issue and UN simulations: International issue and United Nations simulations at a DC school or world affairs organization
  5. Virtual exchanges: Online dialogues or projects between youth in DC and other cities worldwide
  6. After-school and summer contests: A school-based world issue or storytelling challenges with prizes
  7. Foreign meals: Foreign food and culture discussion at supporting foreign restaurants
  8. Cook-eat-learn sessions: Foreign food cooking, eating and learning at the homes of supportive volunteers
  9. Career fairs: An annual fair for participating kids to learn about world affairs academic and extracurricular programs, careers, scholarships, etc.
  10. Bridging discussions: Participatory small and large-group issue discussions bringing youth together across national, racial and income divides
  11. Travel abroad: Low-cost or free learning and volunteering opportunities abroad
  12. Internships: Spring, summer and fall internships with world affairs organizations
  13. Apprenticeships: Stipended or fully-paid job trainings for eligible, motivated youth

If interested in helping to build a DC World Affairs Pipeline, please contact us at email@learninglife.info.