Sunday, March 29, 2009

Create One Strong Program and Change the World One Person at a Time

I thought about all the worthwhile organizations and causes that could use a million dollars, things I believe in and support already and things I would like to support. Money that would do good things in my community, my country and the world in health care, the arts, social justice, education, and so forth. In the end I decided that the money should go to support a fund in the Department of History at the University of Illinois that gives scholarships to fund study abroad opportunities for history majors. This is not a program to give rich kids a vacation. I am a strong advocate of study abroad programs. I believe that they change the outlook of the students who participate in both long-term and short-term programs and make them see the world differently by giving them contact and, if they are lucky, immersion, in another or perhaps more than one culture. This money would allow that program to have a sound foundation and to allow many students to have opportunities that I did not have until I was much older. While it may only change the world slowly, one person at a time, I believe that programs like these do promote change, understanding, and better cultural awareness in the world and can only make our world a better place to live in the long run.

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