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How To Prepare For Your Critical Issues Program

How To Prepare For Your Critical Issues Program

Our Critical Issues programs are designed for passionate students who aspire to make a meaningful impact and want to explore global issues like human rights, climate change, and female empowerment on a local level. We’re so excited you’ve committed to creating positive impact by joining a Critical Issues program!

You’ll be traveling with accomplished Program Leaders who have academic or professional backgrounds in the topics you’ll explore on your program and other Rustic Pathways students who are excited to dive into complex challenges. Expect to meet with local experts, learn during engaging activities, and participate in a deeper level of discussion than you would on a typical Rustic Pathways program.

You should arrive in country ready to delve into the issues. Below you will find required resources your program and suggested resources for all Critical Issues students. We expect your preparation will take between 2-4 hours. Ideally, you’ll complete your preparation a week before you travel and submit your answers to these two questions using this form:

  1. After diving into the pre-departure resources, what is one new idea in your mind or one new thing you’ve learned?
  2. What is one thing you want to learn more about on your program?

The resources below are required for each program:

Dominican Republic | Public Health in the Caribbean

  1. Paul Farmer’s Ted Talk by Partners in Health, Paul Farmer: I believe in health care as a human right.
  2. Pan American Health Organization’s Health in the Americas Report on the Dominican Republic
  3. Annals of Global Health’s Abstract of Prevalence of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Knowledge, Norms, and Practices in Bateyes in La Romana, Dominican Republic
  4. Dr. Greg Martin’s video, “What is Public Health?” on Youtube
  5. The “Price of Sugar” documentary, until 23:25, provides great context of why the Bateyes exist and how they work.
  6. Hans Rosling’s The best stats you’ve ever seen Ted Talk

Dominican Republic | Life in the Bateyes

  1. ASCALA’s article, Living Conditions in the Dominican Bateyes
  2. Paul Pholeros’s Tedx Talk, How to reduce poverty? Fix Homes.
  3. Vox’s Divided island: How Haiti and the DR became two worlds
  4. PBS NewsHour’s Citizenship shift leaves Dominican-Haitians stateless

Fiji | Impact of Climate Change on Marine Environments

  1. Follow #OceanOptimism on Twitter or visit the Ocean Optimism website. Find an environmental success story you’ve never heard before.
  2. James Hansen’s Why I must speak out about climate change Ted Talk
  3. Dr. David Vaughan’s Bringing Coral Reefs Back to Life TedxBermuda Talk
  4. The New York Times’ Short Answers to Hard Questions about Climate Change article.
  5. Carbon Brief’s short but descriptive article Rate of ocean warming quadrupled since late 20th century, study reveals
  6. Mission’s Blues’ work on Restoring Coral Gardens in Fiji

Peru | The Andes Women’s Initiative

  1. Brookings Institution’s Why Girls’ Education is the World’s Best Investment podcast episode.
  2. Watch: Ashli Akins’ “Unfulfilled Promises: Cultural shrapnel of a traveler,” TedX Talk, 2014.
  3. National Geographic’s In Their Words: How children are affected by gender issues, with photographer Robin Hammond. Specifically click through the photo gallery near the middle of the page and view the photos and quotes from the 9-year-old children from around the world.
  4. Familiarize yourself with these:
    1. UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
    2. UN Convention on all forms of Discrimination against Women

Tanzania | Clean Water Project

  1. Peter Gleick’s Solutions in a World of Peak Water Limits video
  2. Christiana Z. Peppard’s Where we get our fresh water TedEd
  3. Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Tanzania from Unicef
  4. Better Access to Water Makes Life Easier in Rural Tanzania video by the World Bank
  5. ‘Without health, people have nothing’: Tanzania seeks a political salve” podcast by the Guardian

Tanzania | African Wildlife Conservation

  1. Jane Goodall’s Ted Talk How humans and animals can live together
  2. Very brief overview of Tanzania’s history from Lonely Planet
  3. “Bringing Coral Reefs Back to Life,” a Ted Talk on the importance of healthy reefs and reef restoration discoveries
  4. The Guardian’s Clashing Over Conservation: saving Congo’s forest and its Pygmies
  5. Podcasts are an engaging way to learn more about a topic. They’re great for listening in the car or while traveling on an airplane. Choose one of these:
    1. Eyes on Conservation Podcast
    2. Living On Earth
    3. And this episode from the Guardian about how technology is changing animal conservation

These resources are recommended (but not required!) for all Critical Issues students:

  1. Chimamanda Adichie’s The Danger of a Single Story Ted Talk
  2. Fast Company’s What is a Changemaker?
  3. Rustic Pathways’ 5 ways to become a change maker blog post
  4. Rustic Pathways’ 16 books that every change maker should read blog post
  5. RSA Shorts’ Empathy video by Brené Brown
  6. Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Human documentary
  7. The recent book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Hans Rosling, and Ola Rosling