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Global Change from the Mountains of Kosovo

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Traveling is a powerful experience that leads to profound perspective shifts, meaningful relationship building across differences and life introspection — at least, it had for me.

But the reality is that traveling is not an equal access activity. Often, only the privileged or the few that are fortunate to be supported through financial sponsorship are able to make the journey out of their country. I am lucky that I had the ability to take out a loan to study abroad, and I am incredibly fortunate to work for an organization that gives me the opportunity to travel to places like Kosovo. Others, unfortunately, don’t have this luxury.

Although access isn’t the only reason a dismal 1 percent of American university students participate in study abroad programs, understanding the concept of access to travel does shed light on an important issue: the skills and knowledge that youth gain from international travel experiences are not equal access on a global scale.

One World Youth Project (OWYP) tackles this problem head on. OWYP trains a team of exceptional university students to facilitate and mentor local classrooms in their community using a flexible “global competence” curriculum, enabling youth to connect, collaborate and co-create with other youth abroad via technology. University students become leaders to local 10-14 year olds, opening up doors to the 21st century world and simulating the experience of international travel.

We recognize that our organization alone is not the answer to the world’s problems, but we hope we can plant the seeds and empower as many young budding leaders around the world that we possibly can. We realize that solving our world’s problems will take a critical mass — even generations — of organizations, artists, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, educators, organizers, writers, innovators and global leaders collaborating together in the spirit of social and environmental change.

A week after the completion of our Summer Training Conference, I attended an event awarding outstanding Kosovar students with scholarships. The event was hosted in Pristina by the foundation leg of IPKO, one of the country’s major telecommunication companies.

The students I met were an inspiring bunch; many of them had not yet celebrated their 20th birthday but they were already pioneering innovative initiatives, including writing books, coding programs to teach Java to high school students or leading their own community outreach programs. I exchanged stories and shared laughs with this exceptional group and I was so engrossed that by the end of the night I enthusiastically clinked glasses with every young person I met and shouted, “Gazuer!” (Albanian for “Cheers!”)

I realized, just then, that Kosovo was the perfect country to host our training.

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Photo credit: One World Youth Project. Members of the One World Youth Project Summer Training Conference in Kosovo.

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37 comments

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5:05PM PDT on May 1, 2013

OK.

4:49AM PST on Feb 9, 2013

Thank you for article.

6:13AM PST on Nov 6, 2012

EARTH CRY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jppmMcjgWS0

"The Earth is not only an environment. "She" is "Us". Her trees are our lungs, and her waterways are our circulatory system. Her cry reflects the cry of our own species as we disrespect, destroy and exploit one another. "We" are the generation that has perpetuated the practices that have created the deterioration of our Holy Mother Earth, and we stand accused. In this song, the voices of our children plead and demand for restoration of the planet. There is only one force that is capable of achieving what they now ask of us..."

QUOTED from the above sie

6:27AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

good work

11:24AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

beautiful

11:10AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

"The country is very young and has just started to emerge from the shadows of oppression for decades. if anyone including Jan G can defend the outrages of Serbs in the area, then there is some serious lack of humanity."
What oppression are you talking about , Moslem ? Kosovo was an autonomous province within Yugoslavia with Albanian as the official language next to Serbo-Croatian , with Albanian schools, Albanian university and even Albanian police. What else did the Albanian Moslems want?The shariah and destruction of anything non-Moslem and non-Albanian, for sure! They tried it in 1981 in the course of the Albanian intifada. But failed.They only got it after the US war of aggression against Serbia in 1999 which was started with a big lie of "genocide" and with criminal NATO bombings and ended in an even bigger lie and a much bigger crime than what it was supposed to combat.

11:09AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

"The country is very young and has just started to emerge from the shadows of oppression for decades. if anyone including Jan G can defend the outrages of Serbs in the area, then there is some serious lack of humanity."
What oppression are you talking about , Moslem ? Kosovo was an autonomous province within Yugoslavia with Albanian as the official language next to Serbo-Croatian , with Albanian schools, Albanian university and even Albanian police. What else did the Albanian Moslems want?The shariah and destruction of anything non-Moslem and non-Albanian, for sure! They tried it in 1981 in the course of the Albanian intifada. But failed.They only got it after the US war of aggression against Serbia in 1999 which was started with a big lie of "genocide" and with criminal NATO bombings and ended in an even bigger lie and a much bigger crime than what it was supposed to combat.

10:46AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

AbduzAziz ,
"They are the majority population in area where the Serbs were planning and carried out the genocides - although not the same scale as Serbanitsa etc. The plans were there and would have been carried out had it not been that the world was not prepared to see the same repeated in Kossovo."
First, the Albanians became the majority in Kosovo the same way the Croats are became majority in Kraina by terrorizing, killing and expelling the Serbs whose very statehood , Orthodox Christianity and tragic history all revolve around Kosovo. And as to plans , let's take a look at them if you have any and compare them to the Albanians' jihadist plans and their implementation since 1999. It is them that committed genocide and not the Serbs. The same people that between 1941-1945 were killing and exterminating the Serbs as Albanian SS-units have now done the same thing as NATO terror groups or the UCK - an organization classified as terrorist by the State Department until February 1998 !

10:38AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

an G: seems to have secretive agenda against Kosovans --- don't know why?
Unlike you, Moslem, I am not very fond of gangster narco-states founded by organizations which which were listed before 1999 as purely terrorist groups by the US , with ample record of destroying churches or changing them into mosques under the watchful NATO eyes, with jihadist identity and economy built upon crime. In short my "secretive" agenda coincides with that of Europol's reports on Kosovo. You should read some as they are very revealing even for a Moslem hominid like you. The notorious and malicious prosecutor of Milosevic Carla del Ponte had to admit herself that she had known as early as 1998/9 the Kosovo Albanians were capturing Serbs to cut off their organs for sale in the West but because of political pressure she had to suppress the information.

10:27AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

Abdul Aziz Z. "Jan G: seems to have secretive agenda against Kosovans --- don't know why?" Unlike you, Moslem, I am not very fond of gangster narco-states with jihadist and terrorist identity, American support and horrifying record of destroying churches or changing them into mosques and building its economy on crime. In short my secretive agenda coincides with the agenda of Europol's reports on Kosovo. Try to read some ! They are very revealing and factual. Even the notorious prosecutor of Milosevic Carla del Ponte had to confess that she had known perfectly well that Kosovo Albanians' were involved in torturing Serbs and cutting out organs from their bodies for sale in the West.Yet for political reasons she was not allowed to tell the truth!

They are the majority population in area where the Serbs were planning and carried out the genocides - although not the same scale as Serbanitsa etc. The plans were there and would have been carried out had it not been that the world was not prepared to see the same repeated in Kossovo.

The country is very young and has just started to emerge from the shadows of oppression for decades. if anyone including Jan G can defend the outrages of Serbs in the area, then there is some serious lack of humanity.

I wish the people the best and I am not fond of Saudis and their mentality either as they are also illegitimate rulers over a patch of land containing oil, so precious to the West.

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