The idea behind the founding of Global Peace Exchange (GPE) in 2006 was simple enough: to create sustainable development projects through student exchanges. The effect would be two-fold: Not only would local communities benefit at the grassroots level, but students would also be exposed to opportunities in the humanitarian field.
Building upon a network of partnering organizations, students travel and work on projects with communities within various regions around the world. Year-round activities provide students with knowledge of global issues and development ideology. GPE members understand the complexity of issues affecting communities worldwide as well as the challenges of the development field, develop intercultural competencies, participate in cultural exchange, and gain valuable skills working under a fully-functioning non-profit organization.
Our partnerships have had focus areas such as education, business, the environment, health, and women and youth empowerment. Since our inception 10 years ago, over 100 volunteers have traveled to 10 countries around the world. We have had partnerships with organizations based in Rwanda, Nepal, Cambodia, Thailand, Ghana, Uganda, Moldova, Guatemala, Haiti, and Peru.
Our students come from a diverse set of backgrounds, majors, and career ambitions. Several have been awarded grants for research conducted in a variety of fields as well as social entrepreneurship initiatives. In 2014 Global Peace Exchange won the Florida State University Organization of the Year Award, a recognition over 600 Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) on campus may be nominated and compete for annually. Alumni have received recognitions such as Humanitarian of the Year, Social Science Scholar, Fulbright Scholar, and Truman Scholar. Graduating GPE members frequently serve in the Peace Corps or other international service groups and pursue careers within international non-profit organizations, multinational businesses, and U.S. state agencies.
GPE is supported by numerous on-campus entities throughout the year, including: The College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, The College of Communication and Information and The FSU Center for Global Engagement. Global Peace Exchange is proud to be part of the award-winning internationalization efforts at Florida State University.
In 2016-2017, Global Peace Exchange began a transition phase from the prevailing model of service learning to a more sustainable model of learning service, inspired in part by Daniela Papi and others efforts to rethink volunteer travel.
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