Rwanda Summer Program

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We're celebrating our 10th year of the Global Speaker Series! Each year our best teachers—with years of international education experience—speak in classrooms  across the United States to share their perspectives and insights with students ready to engage with critical and compelling global questions. While we used to do this for schools only, this year we're really excited to offer these talks to anyone who would like to join. Our 2021/2022 virtual global speaker series includes a range of talks focusing on topics such as climate change, advocacy through story, and learning service.

Select one (or many!) of our free 60-min global talks (free talks are listed below) that are funded by Dragons and offer the opportunity to engage with critical global conversations. If you're an educator interested in booking a talk for your classroom, you can do that here. Again, these are talks are open to anyone (general public) who is interested in learning more about one of these topics.

Please note that most of these talks are on Tuesdays at 5pm MST, but some deviate from that schedule to accommodate speakers' time zones and availability.

2021/2022 Global Speaker Series Schedule

Empathy and Travel

January 27th, 5pm MST

Travel is lauded as a noble pursuit, but what specifically is it about travel that broadens one’s horizons? Arguably, empathy may be one of the greatest tangible benefits of travel.  This talk will examine the connections between empathy and travel, highlighting the latest research into empathy and what it actually is, as well as discussion of “ethical travel,” globalization, and Colleen’s own personal experiences throughout her last seven years of global travel. Speaker: Colleen Dougherty, MSW, The George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, BA Spanish Language and Literature, BS Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Ohio University   

Historic Memory: Antidotes for a Struggling Planet

February 22nd, 5pm MST

From severe climate crises, to global pandemics and widespread unrest. We are living in unprecedented and troubled times. Yet not all is doomed. The planet’s evolutionary past has gifted us a cultural heritage full of valuable lessons and viable alternatives to address some of the most pressing issues affecting the health of the planet and everything in it. This talk is an invitation to take a deep dive into personal and collective histories to uncover useful antidotes to help a struggling planet. Speaker: Este Migoya, B.A. in Anthropology & Latin American Studies, Honours – University of Toronto, International Studies Diploma – Sciences Po Paris

The Fairy Creek Blockades: Frontline Activism and Ecologies of Change

April 5th, 5pm MST

The Fairy Creek Blockades were Canada's largest act of civil disobedience in history, with over 1000 people arrested for blocking the logging of endangered ancient forests on South Vancouver Island, deliberately violating a Supreme Court injunction in the process. The grassroots intersectional movement brought together the people, causes and spirits of Indigenous Sovereignty as well as radical non-violent settler environmentalism, encountering numerous political challenges and tensions in the context of truth and reconciliation following the genocide and resurgence of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island (North America). 'Come for the trees, stay for the decolonization' emerged as more than a catch-phrase. In this presentation and discussion, join Arvin as he recounts experiences and perspectives from the frontlines. Speaker: Arvin Singh, MA University of Oxford

The Forbidden Fire: Community-Based Fire Management in the Peruvian Andes

April 12th, 5pm MST

The need for agricultural expansion has increased fire use throughout the tropics, aggravating local people’s vulnerability to the changing climate. Fire management has been historically addressed from a top-down conservationist approach, when use of agricultural fires should also be integrated into discussions of rural development. This shift would emphasize strengthening local and traditional institutions for adequate fire prevention and control and provide a better fit to the local context of the actors implementing them. In this talk, Vanessa will share her doctoral research in the Tropical Andes, where almost nothing is known regarding the local institutions for fire management and how these rules are adapted to fit changing socio environmental contexts.  Speaker: Vanessa Luna, PhD student in Interdisciplinary Ecology, University of Florida (in progress) B.A. in Biology, Agraria La Molina University, Peru   

Traditional to Contemporary: From Guqin to China-Style Pop Music Phenomenon

May 31st, 5pm MST

Guqin, is the oldest authentic Chinese musical instrument. Pei’s talk will introduce students to the unique and subtle sounds of the Guqin that have influenced all aspects of China culture. We will trace the use of the Guqin from the story of Confucious learning the instrument to 1977 when Nasa used its sounds as a gift to the galaxy in the Voyager spacecraft mission. Pei will explore how music is an amazing medium for understanding China - from traditional to contemporary life and values.  Speaker: Pei Yuen, B.Des. in Communications Design from Shih Chien University, Taiwan [post_title] => Announcing our 2021/2022 Public Global Speaker Series Talks [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => announcing-the-global-speaker-series-for-2021-2022-copy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-06-21 20:03:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-06-22 02:03:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/announcing-the-global-speaker-series-for-2021-2022-copy [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 25 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/announcements/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 26 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 26 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/uncategorized/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 652 [name] => Events [slug] => events [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 652 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Both In-Person and Digital Events including: Webinars, Global Speaker Series, Road Warrior Tours, & Alumni Gatherings [parent] => 0 [count] => 6 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 17 [cat_ID] => 652 [category_count] => 6 [category_description] => Both In-Person and Digital Events including: Webinars, Global Speaker Series, Road Warrior Tours, & Alumni Gatherings [cat_name] => Events [category_nicename] => events [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Announcements, Uncategorized ... )
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    [post_content] => Christy Sommers saw her first sweatered goat (yes, you read that correctly) in 2010 during her time as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh. It was on a weekend trip to the countryside that she first saw and photographed a baby goat sporting a little pink dress and, in Christy’s words she was “the most elated.” 

[caption id="attachment_158293" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Christy sees her first sweatered goat in Bangladesh, photo from Christy Sommers[/caption]

She soon learned that when the temperatures drop into the 50s or 60s (Fahrenheit) across Northern India and Bangladesh, people put their hand-me-downs on  goats to keep them warm during the winter months. Christy has been documenting this adorable phenomenon for the past decade, and has been creating calendars with her photos since 2013.

Christy worked supporting Princeton University's Bridge Year program in Varanasi, India from 2014 to 2017, and during this time she discovered the Varanasi is home to a veritable treasure trove of adorable sweatered livestock.We recently interviewed Christy, a Dragons instructor and administrator, to hear more about the story behind her Goats in Sweaters calendars. Here is what she has to say:

[caption id="attachment_158294" align="aligncenter" width="2112"] Photo by Christy Sommers[/caption]

A Calendar is Born 

Demand is what inspired Christy to create her first Goats in Sweaters calendar. In 2013 she printed 15 calendars and gave them as holiday gifts to family and friends. After a lot of encouragement from her community, Christy started printing more and more calendars each year. In 2018, the goats caught the attention of NPR’s Goats and Soda: Stories of Life in a Changing World. That article helped her further spread the word and now Christy sells  around 2000 calendars each year.

Giving Back 

Once she started selling the calendars, Christy has always wanted the project to support the communities where the goats come from. Christy gave all of the proceeds from the 2016 and 2017 calendars to Guria, a grassroots organization in Varanasi, India that fights to end human trafficking and exploitation in Varanasi’s red light district and across India.  [caption id="attachment_158302" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Photo by Christy Sommers[/caption] She shifted and began supporting Asha Deep Vidyashram with the 2018 calendar. Asha Deep is a K-8 school serving a marginalized population in Varanasi;  Asha Deep’s students are first generation learners and the whole school environment is designed to support poor students with illiterate parents.The donations from the calendar sales are able to fully support the operations of Asha Deep for three to four months on average.  Christy expressed a passion for giving back to the communities that “taught me so much and are home to where I took these photos.” She is excited to continue supporting Asha Deep, and is delighted that the graphic designer for the 2022 calendar  is an Asha Deep graduate! [caption id="attachment_158298" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Photo by Christy Sommers[/caption]

What are the logistics for creating a sweated-goat-calendar every year?

Christy says that people frequently misunderstand the photos and think that she is the one who is putting the sweaters on the goats. She clarifies, “In India, I just photograph them as I find them. Only once have I put sweaters on goats myself, and it was to dress my dad’s five goats in style for my sister’s wedding!” Christy took a trip to Northern India in February 2020, right before the pandemic restricted travel. Beyond reconnecting with the Asha Deep students and staff, she also took hundreds more fashionable goat photos - more than enough for several more years of calendar models. “Goats do what they want, so capturing them in decent light and an amazing sweater is not easy.” Christy uses a Canon Powershot SX740 camera—a relatively high quality point and shoot that also fulfills her requirement of fitting in her pants pocket.  Christy smiles, and ends our conversation with, “I have to say, I don't consider myself a creative person, and it feels so vulnerable to put this out into the world. I'm nervous every year —is it still gonna work?” We’re confident Christy’s project will continue to work—bringing a slice of joy to nearly 2000 homes every year. You can buy Christy's calendar on Etsy for $15, or if you'd like to add a small donation to your order, you can do so directly through this google form. [caption id="attachment_158299" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Photo by Christy Sommers[/caption]  
More Information about Asha Deep from Christy
As in years past, more than 50% of the proceeds of the 2022 Sweatered Goat calendar will benefit Asha Deep Vidyashram, a school serving over 200 K-8th grade students in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood in Varanasi, India. All of Asha Deep's students are the children of illiterate parents. The school is determined to give these children a quality education that combines academic success with additional focuses on students' self-esteem, promoting compassion and gender equality, and teaching healthy conflict resolution and environmental awareness. They also provide a school lunch and run an after-school program so that students have a healthy and fun way to spend their evenings. We are proud to support Asha Deep's important work and give back to the goats' local community in Varanasi. Here are links to the Asha Deep website and Facebook page. Asha Deep's exciting news this year is that they have purchased a piece of land where they will build their own school, allowing them to serve a new community. They are running their own fundraiser to raise funds for this project, and would appreciate any additional donations toward this important aim.
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We're celebrating our 10th year of the Global Speaker Series! Each year our best teachers—with years of international education experience—speak in classrooms  across the United States to share their perspectives and insights with students ready to engage with critical and compelling global questions. While we used to do this for schools only, this year we're really excited to offer these talks to anyone who would like to join. Our 2021/2022 virtual global speaker series includes a range of talks focusing on topics such as climate change, advocacy through story, and learning service.

Select one (or many!) of our free 60-min global talks (free talks are listed below) that are funded by Dragons and offer the opportunity to engage with critical global conversations. If you're an educator interested in booking a talk for your classroom, you can do that here. Again, these are talks are open to anyone (general public) who is interested in learning more about one of these topics.

Please note that most of these talks are on Tuesdays at 5pm MST, but some deviate from that schedule to accommodate speakers' time zones and availability.

2021/2022 Global Speaker Series Schedule

Empathy and Travel

January 27th, 5pm MST

Travel is lauded as a noble pursuit, but what specifically is it about travel that broadens one’s horizons? Arguably, empathy may be one of the greatest tangible benefits of travel.  This talk will examine the connections between empathy and travel, highlighting the latest research into empathy and what it actually is, as well as discussion of “ethical travel,” globalization, and Colleen’s own personal experiences throughout her last seven years of global travel. Speaker: Colleen Dougherty, MSW, The George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, BA Spanish Language and Literature, BS Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Ohio University   

Historic Memory: Antidotes for a Struggling Planet

February 22nd, 5pm MST

From severe climate crises, to global pandemics and widespread unrest. We are living in unprecedented and troubled times. Yet not all is doomed. The planet’s evolutionary past has gifted us a cultural heritage full of valuable lessons and viable alternatives to address some of the most pressing issues affecting the health of the planet and everything in it. This talk is an invitation to take a deep dive into personal and collective histories to uncover useful antidotes to help a struggling planet. Speaker: Este Migoya, B.A. in Anthropology & Latin American Studies, Honours – University of Toronto, International Studies Diploma – Sciences Po Paris

The Forbidden Fire: Community-Based Fire Management in the Peruvian Andes

April 12th, 5pm MST

The need for agricultural expansion has increased fire use throughout the tropics, aggravating local people’s vulnerability to the changing climate. Fire management has been historically addressed from a top-down conservationist approach, when use of agricultural fires should also be integrated into discussions of rural development. This shift would emphasize strengthening local and traditional institutions for adequate fire prevention and control and provide a better fit to the local context of the actors implementing them. In this talk, Vanessa will share her doctoral research in the Tropical Andes, where almost nothing is known regarding the local institutions for fire management and how these rules are adapted to fit changing socio environmental contexts.  Speaker: Vanessa Luna, PhD student in Interdisciplinary Ecology, University of Florida (in progress) B.A. in Biology, Agraria La Molina University, Peru   

Traditional to Contemporary: From Guqin to China-Style Pop Music Phenomenon

May 31st, 5pm MST

Guqin, is the oldest authentic Chinese musical instrument. Pei’s talk will introduce students to the unique and subtle sounds of the Guqin that have influenced all aspects of China culture. We will trace the use of the Guqin from the story of Confucious learning the instrument to 1977 when Nasa used its sounds as a gift to the galaxy in the Voyager spacecraft mission. Pei will explore how music is an amazing medium for understanding China - from traditional to contemporary life and values.  Speaker: Pei Yuen, B.Des. in Communications Design from Shih Chien University, Taiwan

Coming Soon — The Fairy Creek Blockades: Frontline Activism and Ecologies of Change

The Fairy Creek Blockades were Canada's largest act of civil disobedience in history, with over 1000 people arrested for blocking the logging of endangered ancient forests on South Vancouver Island, deliberately violating a Supreme Court injunction in the process. The grassroots intersectional movement brought together the people, causes and spirits of Indigenous Sovereignty as well as radical non-violent settler environmentalism, encountering numerous political challenges and tensions in the context of truth and reconciliation following the genocide and resurgence of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island (North America). 'Come for the trees, stay for the decolonization' emerged as more than a catch-phrase. In this presentation and discussion, join Arvin as he recounts experiences and perspectives from the frontlines. Speaker: Arvin Singh, MA University of Oxford [post_title] => Announcing our 2021/2022 Public Global Speaker Series Talks [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => announcing-the-global-speaker-series-for-2021-2022 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-23 17:18:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-23 23:18:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 25 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/announcements/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 26 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 26 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/uncategorized/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 652 [name] => Events [slug] => events [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 652 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Both In-Person and Digital Events including: Webinars, Global Speaker Series, Road Warrior Tours, & Alumni Gatherings [parent] => 0 [count] => 6 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 17 [cat_ID] => 652 [category_count] => 6 [category_description] => Both In-Person and Digital Events including: Webinars, Global Speaker Series, Road Warrior Tours, & Alumni Gatherings [cat_name] => Events [category_nicename] => events [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Announcements, Uncategorized ... )
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[caption id="attachment_158047" align="aligncenter" width="762"]Lake Superior: The Good Life  A group photo from Dragons' Lake Superior: The Good Life program — Summer 2021.[/caption]

To better support students coming from all backgrounds and identities, we’re excited to share two resources: Allyship Abroad & “Traveling as You: A Guide for Specific Identities”.  It’s our hope to create a culture and community that supports each participant to travel as their fullest self. These resources, and pedagogical approach, help all participants learn more about themselves, and how to be better allies in the world. 

We walk through the world carrying our experiences and histories. Some aspects of ourselves are visible, but much goes unseen, to us and others. When we travel, we gain more understanding of all that we are, and all that we are not. We begin to learn that while there is certainly a shared human experience, we’re also individuals that have unique and nuanced identities. Although we leave home, we still carry these identities with us when we travel. 

Diversity, Inclusion, and Allyship Abroad: Fostering a more just, compassionate and inclusive world.

The Allyship Abroad webpage is full of information on how to support individuals with specific identities and general resources for diversity and inclusion. It’s broken down into these five sections: 
  • For families: Discover why it’s important to talk through your family values and be aware that we facilitate and welcome conversations around these topics on our programs. 
  • Glossary of terms: A helpful tool for defining the key words related to diversity, equity, and inclusion work. 
  • Identity and you: Through a series of questions, you’ll be guided through defining your identity and why it’s so important for everyone, even people from dominant identities who might not have reflected on this much before. 
  • Skillbuilding for allyship abroad and at home: Discover the tools that will help you become a better ally through podcasts, online resources, books and articles, and more guided questions from our team. 
  • Identity related risks and travel: All travel involves risks and challenges, and some participants might have different challenges abroad based on factors such as gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and ability. This section is designed so you can equip yourself with helpful skills and resources to stay safe, informed, and thriving on your Dragons program.

Traveling as You: a Guide for Specific Identities

The goal of Traveling as You is to serve as a resource for allyship. The webpage walks you through different identities and explains what might come up for each specific identity while on a Dragons or student travel program. It goes more into depth for the following identities:  
  • Race, Ethnicity, Nationality 
  • Sexual Orientation (LGBTQ+)
  • Gender 
  • Religion 
  • Political Ideology 
  • Disability 
  • Body Size 
  • Low Income and First Generation Students
For each identity, the guide provides example scenarios of situations that may come up on your Dragons program, and reflection questions to get you thinking about how to prepare. Of course this is helpful for your own identity and for being aware of all the identities around you, especially those on your program.  And no Dragons guide would be complete without providing extra resources — which can be found at the bottom of this webpage. This list was designed to be your one-stop as a quick place to get an overview of the amazing and comprehensive resources out there to support diversity abroad. Whether you’re eager to learn how you can become a better ally at home and while traveling on a program, or you want to know more about your identity in the world, then these resources are here to help. We hope to continue fostering a more just, compassionate, and inclusive world, one student and one program at a time.  [post_title] => How to Become a Better Ally, at Home and Abroad [post_excerpt] => At Where There Be Dragons, we’re always striving to improve diversity and inclusion within our student body and travel programs. That’s why our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee created two resources for becoming a better ally as well as a guide to traveling as you. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-become-a-better-ally-at-home-and-abroad [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-23 17:18:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-23 23:18:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 47 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 47 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 43 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 43 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/about_dragons/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 25 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Global Community, About Dragons ... )
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    [post_content] => Across cultures stories are told about a hero’s journey to distant lands, only to find that what they seek is where the journey began: home. 

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot, 4 Quartets


On December 28th I embarked on a personal journey, a journey that resembled my first foray into the American West after graduating from college two decades ago. Last week I hugged my family goodbye and hopped into my van. Outfitted with warm layers, sleeping bags, food, and podcasts, I headed toward the “Four Corners” region, where CO, UT, AZ, and NM meet. I had no idea how far I’d get or where I’d sleep, other than knowing I’d be in the back of my van, somewhere. For a week I meandered. I roamed Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa, their dried canyon river bottoms blanketed in snow; I sat on the edge of the Grand Canyon, confused by the deafening silence and overwhelmed by the full nighttime galaxy, unadulterated by city lights; I descended the Colorado plateau into the great Sonoran Desert, and felt its soft winter warmth. After a challenging year, reconnecting with the American West, and my twenty-year old self, was like drinking from a well after a long period of thirst. I felt a deep gratitude for my post-college journeys into these landscapes, which were closer to the surface of my consciousness than I had ever realized. For nearly three decades Dragons has taken participants on journeys to discover the world and, in the end, themselves. When the pandemic closed down the world, Dragons turned inward to North America. This fall we offered two outstanding domestic Gap experiences: the Rio Grande Semester and the Colorado River Basin Semester. Because of their success, we are excited to announce that this new programming will extend into the 2021/2022 season and will continue to  be an important core of our work.

Keep an eye out for our new 2021 domestic program announcement!

The confluence of COVID-19, a heightened awareness and reckoning of racial injustice, and vast political divide in the United States has increased the need for domestic programming and specifically for a Dragons-style education. Our domestic programs strive to understand the complexity that arises when diverse peoples inhabit a land, looking closely at settler colonialism, power and privilege, and racial, social, and environmental justice issues. We examine how people have changed landscapes, for better and worse, and how those landscapes have in turn shaped our present realities. At a time when connection is hard to come by, the Dragons experience seeks to connect us to each other, our natural world, our collective and shared histories and, in the end, ourselves. Like all of our programs, our domestic courses help students confront important realities and understand their agency in shaping our collective futures. As we slowly return to the soulful international programming that has always been the hallmark of a Dragons experience, we’re moving into 2021 with increased self-awareness of our home here in North America. That rediscovery will weave itself into our global tapestry, augmenting even more depth and breadth to our programming.
After college I moved to New Mexico, and then California. I spent my time guiding wilderness trips for youth. It led me to Dragons, and in my late 20’s I found myself on the Tibetan Plateau, leading a Dragons group from Lhasa to Mount Kailash, a sacred pilgrimage route for Buddhists and Hindus. I was struck then by how much the Tibetan Plateau reminded me of the Colorado Plateau and the vast American West. And now as I travel and live in the southwest, I’m reminded of Tibet. Future Dragons students will now share the rediscovery of a place many people call home, and come to know it for the first time with new eyes and understanding. As you start thinking of your plans for 2021, I hope our domestic programming is something you will consider. And if you decide to join us, I hope your experiences in the American West will always be with you, right beneath the surface, waiting to reawaken you, as it did for me this past week. With hope for the future,
Reed Harwood, Executive Director
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    [post_content] => Join us for a series of free webinars in the coming weeks with Dragons Director of Admissions, Eva Vanek, who will help answer your questions about summer, gap year, and college credit travel planning for 2021.

Summer Travel Webinar

Nov 25th at 5pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 3rd at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 9th at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >>    

Gap Year Travel Webinar

Nov 25th at 5pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 3rd at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 9th at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >>    

College Summer Abroad Webinar

Nov 25th at 5pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 3rd at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 9th at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >>    

PRESENTED BY:

Eva Vanek, B.A. with honors in International Development, minor in Anthropology, McGill University. Growing up canoeing and camping Eva found her way to Dragons in 2009 where she led a Guatemala program and later, a couple Andes and Amazon Semesters. Presently, Eva is thrilled to be working as the Dragons Admissions Director and in her spare time enjoys volunteering at the Boulder homeless shelter, touring on her bike and passing quality time in the garden.

____

Interested in gaining your own in-field perspective of the world through cultural immersion, wilderness exploration, and language study? Learn more about our unfiltered and immersive Summer and Gap Year programs in Asia, Africa, and the Americas here.

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