INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
The Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) is a 501c3 nonprofit based in Fort Collins, Colorado that administers the Semester at Sea study abroad program in conjunction with the Colorado State University. The mission of ISE is to educate individuals with the global understanding necessary to address the challenges of our interdependent world. Since 1963, more than 63,000 individuals from 1,700 institutions, have traveled to more than 60 countries on Semester at Sea and its predecessor programs.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Semester at Sea’s mission is to prepare students for a lifetime of globally-engaged citizenship.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
For over 50 years, more than 63,000 individuals have set sail with Semester at Sea, and many have gone on to do great things in the civil, private, or public sector. No matter where Semester at Sea Voyagers end up in their careers, a semester spent sailing around the world encourages them to be mindful of the impact they can have on the world around them, and the difference one person can make if they are engaged with the challenges and great opportunities of their time.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
There have been many individuals who have had a lasting effect on the history of Semester at Sea. C.Y. Tung, a Hong Kong business magnate and founder of the Institute of Shipboard Education, first imagined a floating United Nations University, stating that “Ships could transport more than cargo, they could carry ideas.” That philosophy still underpins everything Semester at Sea hopes to accomplish. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Semester at Sea Board of Trustee member and frequent participant of Semester at Sea Voyages, further inspired Semester at Sea’s mission of increasing global interconnectivity by sharing his philosophy of “Ubuntu” with voyagers — that “I am because we are.” And of course, all voyage participants, from the crew of the MV World Odyssey to the students to the NGOs Semester at Sea partners with in-country, provide constant inspiration through their commitment to the ideals of international education and making the world a better place for all.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Semester at Sea’s goal has always been the same — to create future generations of globally engaged citizens that then in turn mentor the next generation of students and leaders.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
The most important resources on any Semester at Sea voyage are the ship and the students; with that in-hand, we are confident that voyagers will immerse themselves in their study-abroad experience and make the most of a life-changing opportunity.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Semester at Sea’s biggest challenge is leaving the countries where the MV World Odyssey makes port! With most study abroad organizations, students spend 2-3 months in a single country. Semester at Sea operates differently, in that the ship travels to 10-12 different countries every semester. We believe that this unique model of study abroad education allows students to truly comprehend the interconnectivity of the modern world and engage with a variety of cultures in a short amount of time. Furthermore, with a ship full of talented faculty, staff, and guest lecturers, the students are always immersed in an intellectually stimulating environment that helps nurture curiosity and global awareness as the voyage progresses.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
The greatest resource Semester at Sea has at its disposal is the creativity, intelligence, and drive of voyagers. From one voyage to the next, Semester at Sea strives to incorporate feedback from voyagers to make improvements to the program. Future leaders looking to make an impact: listen to students and young people. Like the voyagers our organization has the pleasure of assisting every day, they will guide their own interests and surprise you by how active, engaged, and motivated they are to make a difference and change the world.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
People can support Semester at Sea’s cause by encouraging young people to engage critically with the world through travel and creative-thinking.
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