Heifer Education paper selected to be presented at national summit

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Sept. 23, 2010) – Heifer International's Education Division announced today that a concept paper, "Creating a World of Citizen Engagement through Global Education," has been selected as a Top Program by the Community-based Organizations Task Force and the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD). The paper will be presented at the U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy to be held in November in Washington, D.C.

"We are delighted to have our proposal among those cited as Top Programs," said Deborah Keene, Heifer's vice-president of Education. "Everything we do with Heifer's education programs—from curriculum to service learning to Heifer University—is to inspire people to take some form of social action—donate, volunteer, be more earth-friendly.

"We strive to engage people as global citizens, to enlist their help in our work to rid the world of hunger and poverty and to care about the Earth. This is wonderful affirmation that the work we do is important and impactful," said Keene.

The USCCD was established in 2006 to promote and expand opportunity for Americans to be citizen diplomats—average citizens acting on behalf of country or cause—to demonstrate the value of citizen involvement. The summit is presented by USCCD in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, with the goal to double the number of American volunteers involved in international activities here or abroad—from 60 million today to 120 million by 2020.

Prior to the summit, task forces in business, community-based organizations, development assistance, global health, higher education, international cultural engagement, international voluntary service, K-12 education, and youth service were created to explore innovative ways to engage citizens. Groups reviewed hundreds of proposals and in November will report on the role their respective areas can play in the process.

Creative use of new technologies and identifying international partnerships were encouraged, and each of the Top Programs selected focused on one or a combination of major global challenges that citizen diplomats could address, such as:

  • Preserving the environment
  • Reducing poverty and disease
  • Increasing respect for human rights
  • Creating a globally competent society
  • Encouraging cultural engagement
  • Achieving food security
  • Securing U.S. and global financial security

Heifer's proposal, "Creating a World of Citizen Engagement through Global Education," is a natural outgrowth of the work it does with families in need throughout the world. Education—in environmentally sound farming, in livestock care and management, about the issues that cause hunger and poverty, about interactions and interdependence between animals, people and environment—is at the heart of all of Heifer's work.

"Our work provides a living classroom," said Keene, adding that the Education team strives daily to train and empower people to be global citizens who take action to meet the global challenges of reducing poverty, disease and hunger, preserving the environment and achieving food security—all key tenets of the summit program.

Annually, Heifer's learning centers in Arkansas, Massachusetts and California give more than 60,000 visitors a chance to experience first hand the organization's work, and to immerse themselves into the challenges faced daily by the families with whom it works.

Heifer International's education programs, said Keene, allow participants to connect to their own communities as well as to the global community, preparing them to be more effective and active global citizens.

Additional information about the USCCD and the U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy may be found at www.usc4cd.org

About Heifer International

Heifer's mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in 50 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant.

For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 1-800-696-1918.