The Open Hands Initiative (OHI) is not an aid organization. Our programs are not meant to impose U.S. values and silence others. Those are one way streets. Rather, in all of our activities, we seek to understand and build relationships with the communities in which we work, and vice versa.
Our programs are designed for curious citizens who want to engage with other curious individuals from around the world, and who are eager to create a better world today and for the next generation. We invite Americans and local nationals where we work to participate in projects that allow them to learn from one another and work together towards a common goal.
Our programs encourage active listening, open dialogue, and collaboration, and focus on issues that touch on the spheres of our everyday lives: health, social inclusion, freedom of expression, and economic opportunity. In doing so, we hope to take what's best about our societies and share it with others to enrich our human experiences and promote international cooperation.
As the world becomes more interconnected, with people and countries more reliant on each other than ever before, the need to work together--to overcome challenges that affect us all--grows ever more important. From peace and security, to health crises and climate change, it will take the active cooperation of governments, civil society, the private sector, and ordinary citizens to create innovative solutions that go beyond borders, and transcend language, politics, and religion.
OHI works to provide the youth of today with the necessary tools to become impactful, globally-minded leaders and changemakers. We connect them in ways that go beyond computer screens and social media, giving them the opportunity to build enduring friendships and networks. Through our exchanges, these bright young minds are able to enrich each other, deepen our interdependence and respect, and build a reservoir of goodwill that can withstand even the most fundamental policy differences.
OHI launched its inaugural program in Syria in 2010. Since then, our programs have expanded beyond the Middle East to include Asia and Latin America. We endeavor to work with communities with an expressed will to engage and collaborate on issues of mutual interest and importance to the United States and the host country.
The world's greatest cultural works--from art, to music, to literature--come from every corner of the world. These cultural products are important not just for their beauty, but for what they teach us about the values and history of the people who produce them. By sharing culture, we hope to promote diversity, broaden worldviews, and deepen our understanding of other people, customs, and traditions.
In an increasingly more interdependent world, entrepreneurship provides a powerful platform to connect and build pathways to peace. Through entrepreneurship, we can get the world's greatest minds to work together to tackle some of the world's more complex problems, while generating greater global prosperity.
Across cultures, good health is fundamental and important to all people. By working across societies and political borders, we hope to share the latest advances in medicine, while promoting best practices in ensuring everyone has equitable access to quality healthcare.
We all have a role to play in creating a more peaceful and prosperous world for everyone. To realize this vision, we must work to ensure that every community and all social groups have a seat at the table.
The free flow of information and ideas is fundamental to social progress and sustaining democracy. By working collaboratively across societies, we hope to encourage the proliferation of more inclusive narratives, while uncovering and exposing the truth.
We actively seek partners — individuals and organizations — from around the world in order to advance our common goals. Please contact us by mail, phone or email to find out more about getting involved.
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