Dear OWN friends and supporters:
After 12 incredible years as the Founder and Executive Director of OneWorld Now! (OWN), I have made the difficult decision to pursue new opportunities outside of Seattle. I will be moving to the Bay Area in September 2014. It is my privilege to thank you for the unwavering support you have provided in helping us to make OneWorld Now! a successful and highly respected organization with a promising future ahead.
I am especially pleased that OWN’s Board of Directors has chosen Jennifer Tanaka, OWN’s former Director of Programs (who is returning to the Pacific Northwest after serving for almost five years in various leadership positions at the Open Society Foundations based in Budapest, Hungary) to assume the role as the new Executive Director of OneWorld Now!. Jennifer returns to OWN with over 18 years of global nonprofit management experience. She also knows and loves our organization well! With Jennifer as our new leader, along with our passionate and dedicated staff and the committed leadership of the Board of Directors, OWN will continue to thrive and carry on its life-changing work and mission! It is inspiring to know that our students and alumni, the next generation of global leaders, will continue to make a positive difference in this world. To support this transition, I will continue to work with OWN in the coming months as a Senior Advisor.
I was inspired to create OneWorld Now! after my own transformational study abroad experiences in apartheid South Africa during high school and in Russia during college, right before the fall of the Soviet Union. Tired of complaining about the inequity and injustice in our nation’s public schools, leadership, and foreign policy, we launched OneWorld Now! after the tragic events of 9/11 as a good faith effort to be “part of the solution.” Despite the challenges, founding and leading OWN has been one the most rewarding experiences in my life. Supporting our youth, who often come from very difficult circumstances, to empower themselves through OWN’s language, study abroad, and leadership program has fueled my work every single day!
I am inspired and so proud of all that OWN has accomplished with your support. Together, we’ve changed the lives and futures of over 3,000 students who have gone through OWN’s innovative global leadership program (providing Arabic and Chinese language skills, leadership training, and study abroad scholarships to underserved youth). In this increasingly complex and conflict-ridden world, the stakes are even higher, and OWN’s mission to develop the next generation of global leaders is more powerful and relevant than ever before. It is a force that is greater than the sum of its parts – every young person we touch unlocks their potential to take creative action towards solving the world’s problems and provides us all with hope for a brighter future.
At this important moment, we are asking for your continued commitment and support of OneWorld Now!. This work is only possible with our collective effort. I am especially grateful to our many partners, funders, and individual supporters who have invested in this vision for years and who will continue to sustain this critical work. The greatest lesson I have learned at OWN is that when we choose to see the possibility in young people and we are there to support them, they will rise to meet any challenge. Let us all continue to believe in and invest in our youth and our collective future!
All the best,
Founder and Executive Director