Chapter 8: Inspiring generational change: Americans for Informed Democracy
Seth Green and Leah Maloney INTRODUCTION Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) empowers young people in the United States to address global challenges such as poverty, disease, climate change, and conflict through awareness and action. We began AID in 2002, hoping to empower young people who had studied abroad to bring the world home and showcase our common global values when they returned to the United States. The outpouring of sympathy from the international community for the United States in the aftermath of 9/11 inspired us to envision an organization that could help the United States better understand and work with other countries. We recognized that students were not responding to traditional email and phone campaigns, and so we devised an innovative way of engaging the next generation of leaders in global education and advocacy. Our organization hosted fee-based weekend summits that educated young leaders about the interconnectedness of our world, connected these leaders with global campaigns, and offered them a comprehensive package of leadership and messaging guides to train them to be effective community organizers and advocates. Thanks to this fresh and scalable model, the organization quickly mushroomed from a shoe-string effort based out of a dorm room at the University of Oxford to a thriving non-profit organization with more than 20,000 members, foundation support exceeding US$500,000 annually, numerous revenue-generating streams of programming, and a high-profile, highimpact set of advisors and organizational partners. Community by community, we are educating Americans about global issues and building a robust...
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