December 14, 2011
Abington Student Now Seeing the World Through Cultural Lenses
Congressional Award Scholarship Paved Way for Attendance to PTPI's Global Youth Forum
Kansas City, MO USA
Mary Cate Muschett of Abington, PA is seeing things differently since returning home from Kansas City. One of more than 100 students from around the world attending People to People International's (PTPI) tenth annual Global Youth Forum (GYF), she spent four days exploring the conference theme of Cultural Understanding: Discover what a small world it really is.
Students who elect to attend PTPI's GYF are committed to PTPI’s mission of promoting international understanding and friendship among the world’s people. They arrive prepared to work with and learn from peers of varying cultures, and to think about how they can play a part in making the world a more peaceful place.
GYF sponsor Cultural Detective® provides companies that do business internationally with tools to increase intercultural competence. For the GYF, Cultural Detective® created curriculum which symbolized the way members of a culture tend to look at the world. Within delegation groups, GYF attendees talked in-depth about the definition of culture, how values are influenced by culture, how behaviors are shaped by cultural values, and how conflict can arise if various cultural values are misunderstood. Each student gained a better ability to recognize underlying cultural values, in order to understand and value people for whom they naturally are.
In addition to increasing cultural competence, Mary Cate spent time assembling school supply kits for children overseas at the Operation International Children warehouse, toured Kansas City, and participated in a cultural fair hosted by members of the Ethnic Enrichment Commission. She also took part in the International Student Panel session, hearing delegates from Bulgaria, Egypt, India, Lithuania, Malaysia, and Serbia share their viewpoints and personal experiences.
Muschett was one of the national winners of the James and Eunice Doty People to People International/Congressional Award Scholarship, which underwrites participation in the GYF. She received the Congressional Award Silver Medal last year and anticipates receiving her Gold Medal in Washington, D.C. next June. The Congressional Award is the US Congress’ highest award for youth.
An active and very busy senior at Abington High School, Mary Cate puts a lot of emphasis on community service and international outreach. “Participating in the Global Youth Forum has given me a better and more personal understanding of the different people and cultures from around the world, which I expect will enhance my learning experiences in the future.” She plans on attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School next Fall.
People to People International, with World Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri USA, was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on September 11, 1956 to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures. Today, as a [501 (c)(3)], PTPI has a presence in 135 countries with more than 80,000 families and individuals actively participating in People to People International programs. Visit www.ptpi.org for more information.
See photos of the 2011 GYF on the PTPI Facebook Page