London, Education, and Engaging in the World Today

This past week I traveled across the large pond to meet with some dear friends in London.  Lyndon and Celia Bowring are a part of a Charity Organization called CARE.  Their dedication to public policy debates in the UK and in Europe are more than simply inspiring as they are totally engaged in the Human Trafficking problem, the  care for people through an Immigration debate, and Leadership Training for the next generation.

Yesterday, I met with their team at the CARE offices down the street from the British Parliament, and the people who are working on these issues are top notch!!  They truly CARE for their country, but more importantly I watched as I saw each member I met CARE deeply for the people they interact with.

As I reflect on my time here, I’m drawn to the question, “Who is preparing the next generation for this kind of work?”  In a time where the world continues to seem to spin out of control, lost for some sort of compass, How many people are truly committing themselves to the CARE for the global youth who will one day take the reigns of power and control?

Education

Many of the schools I go and speak with are dedicated to the students in their building.  The teachers and administrators have given their lives for the betterment of a generation they may never see come to power.  But the system requires more and more memorization of facts, and less and less of the experience often needed to engage in these ‘real world problems.’

Five years ago The KIVU Gap Year decided to help partner with schools to give students opportunities they may never have.  Between secondary school and University, The KIVU Gap Year gives students a chance to explore the world and discover the issues they will be attracted to solving. For some, it’s social work, but for others it’s business, medicine, or even law.

Here in London we are working to expand our mission.  We see an organization that will give students the global perspective the new world demands of them.  So whether they are in Medicine working to solve a globally threatening disease, or they are a part of a multi-national company in the future, they will have the necessary tools to begin formulating solutions to the world’s most daunting problems.

Engagement

Today the calls I get in my office are often parents of 21-24 year old men who have graduated from University, but for some reason are having a lack of enthusiasm to engage in the world.  They’ve memorized material for the next exam for 12 years; and now are being thrust into a world where they need real time relationship skills to bring all their knowledge to the practical level of productivity.  They aren’t un-intelligent.  They’re worldview is simply too small.  They’ve been trained to focus on the micro world they know, and not on the macro issues they know exist.  They don’t feel like there’s an onramp to really mattering to the world, even though they see the world spinning by when they open their internet browsers.

We think the connectivity provided by having the world at our fingertips might give students a place to engage, and many try.  But without looking at someone in the eye who thinks different, works different, or is culturally processing ideas in a different way; these students face a paradoxical global world while they live in a local worldview.

To date, The KIVU Gap Year has a program where students can experience six different cultures in 8 months time.  They engage with people on the ground in each one of these areas to learn what it means to care for people who speak a different language, live life to the beat of a different drum, and have the ability to expand their own worldview to see and explore.  This is probably the most important gift we can give our students before their post graduate studies.

Expansion

The KIVU Gap Year is working to expand our mission to two new locations next year.  We’re working with organizations like CARE in London and Political Power in Washington D.C.  We believe these will provide a new necessary exposure for students who want to see how things get done in the world, while navigating their own personal belief systems.

This time in London has been super valuable for me to see more about how the world spins, and dream BIG for students in the future.

I hope you’ll take a look at what’s happening with our students in our current KIVU Gap year.  Watch how they are learning to become all they were made to be.  Go ahead and click over to http://www.kivugapyear.com, you’ll be glad you took the time to see the new generation of leaders.

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