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Be a Part of Something New at Rustic Pathways and Change the World
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Be a Part of Something New at Rustic Pathways and Change the World

What questions are keeping you up at night?

Would you like to better understand some of the world’s most daunting challenges? Do you want to learn how to address those with solutions inspired by real-world experience. Are you looking to connect with other like-minded students to create change?

We’re excited to introduce the first Rustic Pathways Critical Issues Summit, which will take place next summer in Southeast Asia. The summit will bring together about 100 future change makers from more than 20 countries around the world for a unique conference-style event. They’ll explore one of five critical issues:

  1. Laos – Globalization: How sustainable is the current pace of global growth?
  2. Vietnam – Access to Education: Is it a right for all people?
  3. Myanmar and Thailand – Refugee Crises: Should we close borders to people in need?
  4. Thailand – Gender Equality: How long until we reach equality?
  5. Cambodia – Access to Water: Is there enough on the planet?

These are the global challenges that keep us up and the Critical Issues Summit is our response. Here’s how it will work:

  • Immersion Week: Students will explore one of five important critical issues through homestays and conversations with locals directly impacted by the focus issue.
  • Action Week: Students will come together as a group to ignite the skills necessary to create social change like design-thinking, storytelling, and coalition-building. Then they’ll compete in a social innovation design challenge with $10,000 in grant money for future projects up for grabs.

Our programming has been building toward this moment. During the past three years, we’ve intentionally designed program experiences to foster the skills, habits, and mindsets necessary for teens to spark change. And we’ve been measuring whether our students experience growth in those skill sets—what we call Student Learning Outcomes.

According to our most recent Student Impact Evaluation, students who participate in our Critical Issues programs to explore some of their generation’s most significant challenges demonstrate more average growth in each learning outcome. For example, they’re more inspired to positively impact the lives of others and they demonstrate more empathy towards others.

We’re proud that students demonstrate growth after participating in our Critical Issues programs, and we want to amplify Rustic’s impact on them.

The Critical Issues Summit is unlike anything we’ve done before at Rustic Pathways. If there are questions about the world keeping you up at night, we want you to be a part of it.


Click here for more information about Rustic’s first Critical Issues Summit or nominate a student here.

About the Author

Jordan Edelheit

Critical Issues Summit Organizer

Jordan first joined the Rustic family back in 2014 as a Global Communications Coordinator in Southeast Asia. Prior to that, she fell in love with experience design working with TED and TEDx events throughout the USA for six years. Jordan's passion to learn from the stories around her, led her on an 8,000+ mile road trip interviewing social entrepreneurs throughout the country. She is thrilled to see this resurfacing theme of storytelling and innovation for social good as she organizes Rustic Pathways' first Critical Issues Summit!