Rwanda Summer Program

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Announcements

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    [post_date] => 2020-03-18 15:35:26
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    [post_content] => 

We want to share this note from Aaron Slosberg, Director of Student Programming, about the importance of the transference process for our students and instructors returning home and for all those adjusting to the current state of the world.

Dear Spring Semester Students, Instructors, and Dragons Community,

What initially started as an emergent epidemic in China, soon morphed into the global pandemic that is sadly bringing an early end to your semester this week. Dragons has gone through public health scares in the past, but none as far reaching as COVID-19. The scope of the pandemic is crossing and closing international borders in ways that are truly unprecedented because we are living in an unprecedentedly interconnected world. Fear can breed distance from the unfamiliar, which may be self-protecting and necessary in some cases, but also the roots of xenophobia and isolation in others. And we are living in fearful times with real problems to face.

COVID-19 is not a scarecrow threat. The potential health impacts are real and overwhelming in scope. Communities are struggling to mitigate the disease’s reach, and in doing so, are being faced with tough questions about the fabric of our society and values. Are public health and healthy economies at odds? Can we self-manage our response to the pandemic or do governments need to curtail personal freedoms in pursuit of a common good? Can we maintain open borders and movement or do nations need to close themselves off?  These are not abstract dilemmas; in fact, they have already personally impacted all of us and will continue to color conversations well into the future.

Being on a Dragons program can be paradoxically connecting and disconnecting experience. Connecting because you are so actively engaged with your surroundings, and the local & global themes manifested there, without the filter of screens or media. Relationships can feel uniquely alive and immediate. Disconnecting because you are apart from your community back home and from the technological waterfall of information available at your fingertips. We’ve heard that many  students this semester were only abstractly aware of COVID-19 because it just wasn’t a part of your daily realities. Although we know you each have already felt its influence, we also want to prepare you for the new reality you’re returning to…

You will feel the presence of COVID-19 everywhere you go in the coming weeks. Social distancing practices have shuttered schools, restaurants, and myriad public spaces. Once bustling areas are eerily quiet. Businesses and workers are struggling mightily to find a footing in this novel economy, Dragons included. The coronavirus is on center stage in all forms of media. People are scared and anxious about what the future holds.

Most travelers already feel overwhelmed returning from abroad. Re-entry culture shock and separation from your Dragons group can result in a rollercoaster of emotions. We want you to know that whatever feelings come up for you in the coming days have most likely been (or are being) experienced by Dragons students and instructors around the world. What is unique to your return experience is the added layer of coming back to a society in the midst of some tectonic shifts. We often say that a common disconnect in returning home is that the traveler can feel so different inside, filled with new experiences and perspectives, but their old surroundings still seem the same. You may find that just as you have changed, so has the context of your home.

And in those changes, we encourage you to practice caution, patience, and compassion with your loved ones.

Caution because these circumstances absolutely demand it. Follow health protocols not only for your own safety, but also for the safety of your community. You may not be in a high risk demographic; however, your behaviors can determine the level of risk posed to those around you. Don’t take it personally if loved ones are intentionally distant from you, or even a bit scared of the risk you may pose as a newly returned traveler; everyone is doing their best to navigate this situation. Keep up with the sanitation and safety guidelines from your course, and heed the established advice of health experts.

Patience because your transition back home will take time. Don’t expect for everything to immediately feel the same. Don’t expect for everyone around you to readily understand your experiences and emotions. And know that with time and patience, you will form newly familiar routines and norms. Your experiences abroad, and the expression of them, will gain clarity and traction in your life at home.

Compassion because your experience is uniquely yours. Your family and friends back home have not been exposed to the same realities, perspectives, and insights. Don’t let that difference become a barrier to connection or a cause for judgment. Compassion because we have the power to turn this moment into something other than a cause for fear of people and places different from us. Compassion because we are all doing our best to cope with a world often beyond our control, and while we can’t always change what’s outside of us, we can choose to respond with kindness.

I want you to know that even though your Dragons semester is coming to a close, you are forever a part of this community. We are here for you now, and always. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us whether that’s in a week, or years down the road.

Wishing you all the best in your return home.

Aaron Slosberg

Director of Student Programming

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    [post_date] => 2020-03-11 10:04:38
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    [post_content] =>  

We are filled with gratitude and excitement about announcing our first-ever U.S. based Dragons course. Introducing the Payahuunadü Nüümü Indigenous Nations Program, a 12-day course for Dragons and Nüümü students in California. 

This summer, eight Dragons students, ages 18-24, and four local Nüümü (Paiute) youth will learn together about Indigenous work to regain sovereignty over food, land, and water in Payahuunadü (Owens Valley, California). With a strong emphasis on developing tools for allyship, advocacy, and skills for social and environmental justice work, students will dive into topics like how to create good relations with the earth and human communities, Indigenous sovereignty over water, land, food and governance systems, and what decolonization would actually mean.

Meet our brilliant course designers:

KRIS HOHAG

Kris Hohag is an educator, artist and native of the Owens Valley.
Raised in Bishop as a citizen of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, Kris received his Bachelors degree in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine and his Master’s in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Washington. His work has focused on language revitalization, youth leadership development, outdoor education and building bridges between diverse cultures to unite over our common love of water and land.
A University and Rez-educated scholar and organizer, he initially built a solid reputation by working as a teacher in local schools and mentoring at-risk youth in Southern California, the Pacific Northwest and the Eastern Sierra. Over time and by example, he has proven to be an influential community voice while honing his chops as an entrepreneur and artist. Kris has worked with every tribal organization on his reservation serving Indian people across such central topics as education, economic development, language and culture, healthcare, and governance. He served a two year term on the Bishop Paiute Tribal Council, acting as Vice Chairman during 2014-2015. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the local clinic in his community, Toiyabe Indian Health Project, as well as a rep for the statewide California Rural Indian Health Board. Several key projects he spearheaded or played a vital role in locally include the Bishop Tribal Youth Council; the Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Community Radio Station: KBPT 96.1 LPFM; the Eastern Sierra Writing Circle and Collective Language, a youth-oriented, monthly open mic and live show to build community and showcase local talent at the Wunut Novi Youth Media Arts Center. He is a founding member of the Payahuunadü Alliance, a grassroots family of stewards comprised of diverse voices united around a great love for the lands east of the Sierras known as Payahuunadü.

KINSINTA JOSEPH

Kinsinta Joseph is the daughter of Patricia and Tom Joseph who met during the Klamath River Fish Wars of the late 1970’s. Her mother is Hupa (Na:tinixwe’) and Karuk from the Klamath and Trinity Rivers in Northern California. Her father is Nuumu and Newe from Pa’ha Gwae, the southern part of Payahuunadü (Owens Valley, CA). As a youth, she traveled across Native country with her parents and nine siblings, learning the importance of nation building. She grew up participating in social justice movements, spending much time at the state capitol trying to persuade the Governor’s office to restore the rivers, advocating humane policies towards our immigrant relatives and helping raise awareness of police brutality. Her family founded California Kitchen at Standing Rock, a movement to bring attention to the destruction that fossil fuels is admitting to the Earth. California Kitchen was organized to feed and house people through the cold winter. Kinsinta is the founder of PayaHupaWay, a Native Jewelry brand focusing on cultural activities such as gathering basket materials, reminding us of our connection to help restore the land. Payahupaway promotes a lifestyle grounded in songs and prayers that is reflective of her ancestral teachings. Kinsinta most importantly is a mother and a partner to a Nuumü man. They have been working on curriculum that prioritizes Nuumu Yadoha (Paiute Language) and Traditional Ecological Knowledge so that their daughter and future generations of Nuumü Youth have the opportunity to learn what is relevant to them, the community, and the Land. She is a founding member of the Payahuunadü Alliance, an indigenous-led grassroots team of stewards united around a great love for Payahuunadü.

CHARIS BOKE

B.A. English, Mills College; M.A. Social Sciences, University of Chicago; Ph.D. Anthropology, Cornell University Charis teaches with Dragons in Nepal and on Turtle Island (North America). In 2018, she completed her doctorate in cultural anthropology at Cornell University, where she studied, learned with, and wrote about herbalists, healers, and community organizers in the United States through an ethnographic lens. Her previous research as a student and Fulbright fellow in Nepal, between 2005 and 2009, focused on swayambhu or uTpati, self-arisen goddess worship sites. As an anthropologist, an herbalist, and a community organizer, Charis identifies as a scholar-practitioner, bringing these multiple perspectives on social justice and healing into her work as an educator. She draws on her background as an anthropologist of medicine, then environment, healing, and religion, and as a Buddhist practitioner whose attention to the world is shaped by the numinous and inexplicable. She seeks and makes magic alone and with groups, in the mountains and the deserts, always learning to listen better to what the earth has to say, a set of practices that she strives to share with others. She is also informed, in teaching and in life, by her long-term commitment to building socially and environmentally just relations. In that mode, she teaches as an “act of radical love,” to borrow bell hooks’ excellent phrase, seeking to guide students toward their own truest life-path through intellectual engagement and direct experience together. The broad goal of her work in and out of learning spaces is to provide people not only with historical and cultural frameworks to understand situations or places, but also with the relevant tools, experiences, and relationships to engage more deeply with the world we live in and all its challenges. She has deep roots in community organizing and activism, and sees her work as a mode of discovery not just about what our world contains, but about how to make it better.   Learn more about sovereignty work and indigenous-led organizations:   

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[post_title] => PRESENTING: THE INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY PROGRAM IN PAYAHUUNADÜ [post_excerpt] => We are filled with gratitude and excitement about announcing our first-ever U.S. based Dragons course. Introducing the Payahuunadü Nüümü Indigenous Nations Program, a 12-day course for Dragons and Nüümü students in California.  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => presenting-the-indigenous-sovereignty-program-in-payahuunadu [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-26 13:09:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-26 19:09:23 [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] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 25 [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] => 640 [name] => Dragons Instructors [slug] => dragons_instructors [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 640 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [parent] => 0 [count] => 30 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 640 [category_count] => 30 [category_description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [cat_name] => Dragons Instructors [category_nicename] => dragons_instructors [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/dragons_instructors/ ) [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] => 56 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 56 [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, Dragons Instructors ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-02-21 12:56:25
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    [post_content] => 

Hey Dragons Community!

Did you know Dragons has a nonprofit, the Dragons Fund, that provides scholarships so students from under-resourced communities can participate in Dragons programs?

Last year, Dragons Fund raised $51,000 from within the Dragons alumni and instructor community, surpassing its year-end goal. The success in the "Ten in 2020" campaign means there's enough to provide scholarships to at least ten students who otherwise would not have access to a Dragons program. A huge thank you goes out to the amazing donors who made this possible!

Want to learn more? Check out Dragons Fund's Gratitude Report, its annual report for the 2019 fiscal year. And stay tuned for more developments - the Fund is growing quickly and we couldn't be more excited. It's all part of Dragons' efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion on all programs. We want to see students from all backgrounds experience a transformational global education.

To learn more about Dragons Fund, the application process, and to read the 2019 Gratitude Report, visit www.dragonsfund.org.

Thank you again for your support!

The Dragons Fund Team

Dragons Fund is a program of the COMMON Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.


PS. WANT DRAGONS BLOG UPDATES SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX? ONE EMAIL A WEEK. NOTHING MARKETY. UNSUBSCRIBE ANY TIME. SUBSCRIBE TO DRAGONS BLOG AND STAY CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY. ❤️
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    [post_date] => 2020-02-17 11:56:56
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    [post_content] => Duke Gap Year Program

Dragons is excited to partner with the Duke Gap Year Program (DGYP) in the shared mission of increasing access to Dragons Gap Semesters for Duke  students.

Dragons and DGYP have a strong alignment in mission and values and we look forward to making our programs available to a greater number of DGYP students each year, especially those with financial need.

The Duke and Dragons partnership will increase access to highly impactful and intentional Gap Year experiences for Duke students.

Head over to the Duke Gap Year Program website to learn more!

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    [post_date] => 2020-02-06 13:50:56
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    [post_content] => 

In effort to give back to our incredible community partners, Dragons manages a Community Grant Fund.

This fund awards grants to community organizations based on a comprehensive application process. Ultimately, the goal of the fund is to provide community organizations with financial support for local projects and to provide a mechanism for Dragons administration, instructors, and students to give back to the places that so generously welcome Dragons participants. The Dragons Community Grant Fund is supported by under-budget funds from student programming. All applications are reviewed by a committee and awarded on an annual basis. And the Dragons Community Grant Fund is now accepting applications for 2020-21 projects and proposals! You can view the eligibility criteria and apply online through the same page. Applications will close on June 1, 2020. Good luck! Sincerely, Dragons HQ
PS. WANT DRAGONS BLOG UPDATES SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX? ONE EMAIL A WEEK. NOTHING MARKETY. UNSUBSCRIBE ANY TIME. SUBSCRIBE TO DRAGONS BLOG AND STAY CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY. ❤️
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    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2019-12-16 11:58:55
    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-16 18:58:55
    [post_content] => 

Dragons Podcast

You asked for it. And here it is:

THE DRAGONS PODCAST

hosted by Alum Student Bub Vernon

  • EP. 6 PEPY's Executive Director Sarakk Rith on hope and struggle for education in Cambodia.
  • EP. 5 Dragons Executive Director, Reed Harwood, on the role of Dragons in the lives of students and communities.
  • EP. 4 Two Dragons fund students on "ah ha" moments and advice for future students.
  • EP. 3 Veteran Instructor Rich Brown on the realities of immigration across the southern US border.
  • EP. 2 Veteran Instructor Claire Bennett on "voluntourism" and an alternative approach to service.
  • EP. 1 A mother & daughter who EACH did Dragons programs on their unique yet similar experiences.
  Dragons is committed to cross-cultural education as a tool for breaking down barriers. Tune in to our podcast and hear for yourself how we can all make a difference.

LISTEN NOW on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

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