VIA Programs Updates

Issue #4 - September 2016

VIA Summer 2016 by the Numbers

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Indonesia Youth Leadership Program on CNN.com

Philadelphia (CNN) Inside the group's sacred circle, a young Muslim visitor adjusts her salmon pink hijab, clears her throat and asks the question that could shatter trust:


"Do you think all Muslims are terrorists?"

It is a prevailing belief in her native Indonesia, she says, that Americans despise Islam. The question is directed at 19-year-old Robbie Hayes, whose father was killed in the September 11 attacks on America.


"Not at all," Hayes answers. "I have many friends who are Muslims. The people who were involved in killing my father were extreme radicals. Any group can have radicals who believe they are the only ones who are right. That's when it becomes dangerous."


Read more...

Participant Voices

Check out how VIA participants are engaging with communities.


American Language & Culture Program Celebrates 40th Year!

In 1977 VIA launched its first programs for participants from Japanese universities to study English and American Culture at Stanford University. This year's cohort represented the growing diversity of experiences and backgrounds: a Japanese participant who grew up in France, a Stanford exchange student from Mongolia, two students from South Korea, exchange students from China and Thailand studying in Japan, and several starting professionals who joined the program to strengthen their skills in international communication and cross-cultural understanding.


"The fact that I met so many people from different countries and thus different backgrounds (both Asian participants and American people) really helped me to learn more about American culture and to be more open-minded. In addition, the fact that the program courses let us do a research about a topic we are interested about contributed a lot to my interests for my future research." - Makoto Ito, ALC 2016 Participant

Preparing Tomorrow's Medical Practitioners for Cross-Cultural Care

The Medical Exchange & Discovery Program hosted 42 students, divided into Novice and Advanced tracks, at Stanford this summer. In addition to their clinical English classes, students were particularly inspired by workshops on LGBTQ health, palliative care, and how to apply design-thinking to the medical field.


"Design-thinking is one of the classes I have really looked forward to before I joined the MED program. The workshop had a good form for learning and I loved it. We learned from experiences rather than just being a listener. It was a wonderful experience for me." - Joy Ye, MED 2016 Participant

Global Leadership & Engagement Program Pilots Asia-to-Asia Exchange in Thailand

This summer, Leadership Programs Director Christy Inhulsen launched a pilot Global Leadership & Engagement Program in Thailand with one Thai, two Vietnamese, and three Burmese participants. Read an interview with Christy about the program here...

Social Innovation Programs Strengthen VIA Network

The Social Innovation team strengthened the VIA ecosystem by welcoming 5 participants from our Asia Program partners on our 2 Exploring Social Innovation programs in the Bay Area. Along with 28 participants from across Asia, we welcomed our first group of dynamic high school students from ISAK [International School of Asia, Karuizawa], where we also placed our first Global Community Fellow this year. In addition, we brought 7 thoughtful Stanford first and second year students to Tokyo and northern Japan in collaboration with 7 students from Rikkyo University to support the revitalization of Rikuzen Takata from the March 2011 tsunami. It was a humbling and touching experience.


Here's a short video the students made to capture the hearts and hopes of the beautiful people of Rikuzen Takata:

RIKUZENTAKATA IS... 陸前高田は。。。(ENGLISH/日本語)

Summer Seasonal Staff

This summer, several of VIA’s summer programs in Asia were led by PhD students. Check out some interviews and profiles of our staff scholars.

SIT Student Directs GLE in Silicon Valley

This summer, in order to facilitate the program in Thailand, Christy took on a mentorship role for the GLE Silicon Valley program leadership. Tai Mesches, a graduate student at the School for International Training (SIT), took on the director position for the summer. On the experience of his cohort of participants, he reflects:



Taking into account the education systems and cultural differences our students were coming from, creative expression became a key component in inspiring exploration of inner voice and emotional processing/reflection; something our participants from East Asia rarely get an opportunity to engage with. Making our participants aware of their conscious choice to come to GLE empowered them with the ownership over their own growth and how they wanted to change themselves for the future. We were all in this together, and were responsible for our outcome, and how we wanted to nurture this experience together. This made us grow closer as a family. Engaging with oneself and others was the first step towards developing leadership.

Video by American Youth Leadership Program Alum

A Future World | White House Student Film Festival 2016

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