Global conflicts are inflamed and perpetuated by cultural ignorance. Help reduce conflict by providing exchange programs promoting peaceful cooperation between the U.S. and Asia.
My VIA experience was transformational. I'm a far richer person (in my mind) than I would be otherwise, and wouldn't trade my VIA years for anything. Although I went to teach, what VIA offers is an opportunity to learn. I learned that "justice" is highly contextual, that what we view as human rights needs to be grounded in local circumstances, and that the struggle for human rights and dignity goes on at all times and in often subtle ways. I learned that I wanted to devote my career to encouraging alternatives to the dirty, fossil-fuel based approaches to development that I witnessed in China in order to improve human health and the global environment. When I returned from China, I went to law school and public policy school to work further on solutions to coal-based energy combustion, including getting energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into place. I am now VP of the Energy Foundation, and Director of the China Sustainable Energy Program. The program, a partnership of the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and the Energy Foundation, works with China's central and provincial governments to develop policies that in turn attract investment into clean energy technologies.
-Douglas Ogden, 1983-1985