The Leadership Institute | South Africa: Youth Leadership in Peace, Politics & Human Rights
The program begins with intensive leadership and activism training in Washington, D.C., prior to traveling to South Africa. Home to exceptional leaders and peace activists such as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa provides a fascinating backdrop for investigating the complex dynamics of intercultural leadership, youth activism, and political and social change.
Through leadership workshops, seminars, meetings with NGOs, and field visits to sites of historical and cultural significance, you will build on the training you received in Washington. You will examine current South African politics and socioeconomic realities as well as issues of racial, ethnic, and gender-based discrimination. Meeting with a range of institutions that provide leadership training and mentoring, including the UKZN Leadership Centre and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will further your understanding. You will also have the opportunity to meet with South African youth of different ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds who are working to advance change on issues of local and global relevance.
From there, you’ll discover the role that the city of Durban has played in South African history, including its place in the struggle against apartheid. Visit Cape Town, Johannesburg, rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi nature reserve and the Drakensberg mountain range. You will experience daily life as a South African during your two homestays with local families in contrasting parts of the country.
While investigating leadership and activism in the context of South Africa, you will be challenged to reflect on the experiences of your home community and country as it faces many of the same critical issues that you examine in South Africa. You will continue to advance your leadership skills as you return to the U.S. for guided project planning. During this final stage of the program, you will begin working on a post-program project of your choice to be implemented in your home community.
To learn more or view a sample itinerary, visit experiment.org/LIS.
Your Experiment begins in the northern mountain city of Chiang Mai, home to hundreds of ancient temples. You will visit the city’s famous sites, explore lively street markets, and discover Buddhist temples as you get to know your group. A cooking instructor will help you shop for the freshest ingredients at a local market, then teach you how to whip up traditional Thai dishes with the items you buy. You will stay overnight at a Buddhist temple and learn about the cultural importance of the art of meditation. Introductory Thai language lessons will prepare you to communicate with your host family during your homestays.
As your Thai journey continues, you will live with a Kon Muang family in a lowland northern village in Chiang Mai province, and then with a Lisu family in a hill tribe in Chiang Rai province. Together, you will work on a community service project, such as teaching English to young children, helping build a natural water dam, or assisting with reforestation work. You will continue to develop your Thai language skills as you interact with locals.
The northern region’s lush tropical valleys and highlands will be your backdrop as you embark on outdoor activities such as trekking, zip lining, and visiting an elephant park. You will also visit Sukhothai, the first capital of Siam and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before traveling to the seaside town of Hua Hin to explore the breathtaking beaches. Your Thailand exploration wraps up in Bangkok, where you will visit sites of cultural and historical importance, such as the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
To learn more and view a sample itinerary, visit experiment.org/THS.
At the conclusion of this program, each student will earn a language certificate noting the number of hours of community service completed.
Embark on your immersive journey at the southern tip of continental Africa in stunning Cape Town, where you will learn about South Africa’s complex past and explore breathtaking sites, such as Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope. You will visit the country’s historical landmarks, such as Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.
From there, continue to either Kranshoek, an Afrikaans-speaking community, or Kwanokuthula, a Xhosaspeaking community, for a homestay with a South African family. During the homestay, you will work on a service project alongside members of the community, take Afrikaans or Xhosa language lessons, and participate in hands-on music and drumming workshops. As you travel north, you will experience the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, the natural splendor of Mpumalanga, and a two-day safari in Kruger National Park, where you might spot elephants, lions, zebras, and rhinos in their natural habitat.
Your Experiment concludes in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, where you will intensify the focus
on leadership and social change. Visit important historic landmarks and the Apartheid Museum to better understand the country’s transition from apartheid to democracy. Explore the arty and business-forward neighborhoods of modern Johannesburg and complete a project on social or ethical entrepreneurship.
To learn more and view a sample itinerary, visit experiment.org/ZAM.
At the conclusion of this program, each student will earn a community service certificate noting the number of hours of community service completed.