Testimonials and Awards
Being the change.
When you're fully invested in changing the world you can't help but experience a change yourself. People who come to WorldLink as students, teachers, and speakers see their lives transform in positive ways. They gain wisdom, confidence and clarity, leaving the program with a sense of purpose and direction — plus the skills to take action.
But don't take our word for it. We've asked several past participants what WorldLink means to them. Here's what a they had to say:
"To be among a group of individuals that share the same passion for change and activism with me was a complete honor. This program is living proof that youth can take action and the initiative need to make the world a better place for all."
— Erick Vasquez, Chula Vista Learning Community Charter, 2016
"When you have human interactions with people who have actually been refugees, or people who know what it is like to not have free speech, you begin to comprehend the gravity of the situation. This program inspired me to educate myself about the conflicts that are going on in the world. How can I help without the knowledge of what is going on?"
— Nadia Mehretab, High Tech High Chula Vista, 2014
"I applaud the Institute for the WorldLink program. It's so important to get youth involved in political issues, but it can be difficult because we so rarely find an environment where our ideas and input are actually used or credited. The WorldLink program is exactly that. We are actually involved in every aspect of making the program successful. It's extremely empowering, and I believe it is the best way to create a strong network of rising leaders across the globe."
— Lily Greenberg Call, San Diego Jewish Academy, 2013
"This is a golden opportunity for every member of our future leaders. The knowledge that I have acquired within 40-minute seminars is far more complex and important than anything I could read. Interaction leads to communication, communication leads to discussion, and discussion leads to change."
— Youth Town Meeting delegate, 2009
"I found this experience to be one of the best I have ever had. I've learned so much from the Youth Town Meeting. I have become aware of the many injustices in the world and now I feel obligated to take part in an organization to make others aware of the injustices. I now have a strong passion for helping and volunteering in order to achieve justice and bring dignity to all."
— Youth Town Meeting delegate, 2005
"I had always heard we are the future, we have to make this world a better place. Well, we are also here right now. We can do something today!"
— Youth Town Meeting delegate, 2004
"There is no other opportunity in San Diego quite like this one where, along with 700 other students from San Diego and Baja Mexico, you can learn, experience, and connect with experts on global conflicts, human impact, and human solutions."
— Jonathan Shulman, La Jolla Country Day School
"Your program has been a great addition to our regular programming. Most of our girls have never seen a college campus. They became excited about their education following our visit. I believe their participation has helped increase the number of girls graduating and/or getting their GEDs."
— Rebecca Booth, Senior Police Officer, Sierra Vista School Girls Rehabilitation Facility
"My students went away with their heads brimming with ideas and information."
— Melissa Romero, Mission Bay High School
"My students and I love going to the WorldLink activities each year. The students have the opportunity to practice English in a real-world setting, not in the teacher-student experience they have in class, but in a teenager-teenager iteration."
— Evelina Flores, Instituto Mexico Americano Noroeste, Baja California
"When my students come here, they feel smart. They are treated as adults and they sense that respect. It's wonderful to see them light up."
— Ricardo Medina, Mueller Charter Leadership Academy
On student delegate Emi Koch from Academy of Our Lady of Peace, "Ever since I met her at the WorldLink conference last January, Emi has sought me out for advice on a variety of academic-related issues, particularly her choice of university education here in the Washington, D.C. area. I have in essence become her informal academic advisor and have come to appreciate her natural intelligence, her ability to solve problems, and her aptitude for thinking at different levels of analysis."
— Kamal Beyoglow, Professor of Security and Strategy, U.S. National War College, 2008 Youth Town Meeting
"Though I had been told in advance about the motivation and talents of many WorldLink student participants, I was still very impressed upon meeting so many well-informed, energetic, and articulate students. They listened attentively to my presentation and asked very sharp questions. Unlike many academic conferences I have attended, these questions were devoid of any pretense and instead got at the heart of the issue."
— Mieczslaw P. Boduszynski, Woodrow Wilson Fellow, 2004 Youth Town Meeting
"WorldLink is such an important link to our small global village! [This] provides a tomorrow of individuals who will create social change and social justice across borders because [WorldLink] facilitated inspirational first-hand knowledge of experiences and then the hard data of the wrongs that must be righted. The high energy of the diverse youth was palpable, as was their intellect. It was a very meaningful day for me."
— Nancy Rubin, US Ambassador to the UN High Commission for Human Rights, 1999
Students come to WorldLink to become catalysts for positive change. Their hard work often leads to extraordinary careers in international relations, peace studies, conflict resolution and other related fields. They use their influence and expanding networks to make sure youth have a voice in peacebuilding for generations to come.
The following individuals show what's possible after WorldLink:
Rishika Daryanani, WorldLink student (2008-11), was featured in Bonnie St. John and Darcy Deane's How Great Women Lead, which captures the stories of women leaders, including Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient.
Former WorldLink intern (2010) Nina Church co-founded Nika Water, a social entrepreneur model that donates 100% of its profits to providing clean water and sanitation projects around the world, including initiatives in Kenya, Nicaragua and Sri Lanka.
Emi Koch, WorldLink intern (2007), attended Georgetown University and formed her own nonprofit organization, Beyond the Surface International, which works to end youth homelessness in coastal communities worldwide. The organization currently has programs in Nepal and India.
Zealan Hoover, WorldLink intern (2005-6), was awarded one of the most prestigious scholarships at the University of North Carolina. He received the opportunity to spend a gap year to intern for the Obama campaign at the Chicago Headquarters, and spent the following semester teaching rural youth in Senegal.
Former WorldLink intern (2005) Harin Song received Cornell University's JFK Award for her commitment to the promotion of international human rights. Having already worked for CARE International and Doctors Without Borders, she credits WorldLink for inspiring her to become a human rights advocate at an early age.
WorldLink intern (1998) Jason Doherty helped organize the program's first Youth Town Meeting. Eight years later, Jason and his wife Jenni founded the Daraja Academy, a secondary school in Nanyuki, Kenya that provides free education, housing, food and other resources to girls with limited financial means.
WorldLink was recognized by the CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation in June 2008 for "making changes to things that matter."
WorldLink received the Women's International Center's Living Legacy Award in 1999.