IREX’s Global Solutions encompasses two virtual exchange programs designed for college students in Iraq, Jordan, and the United States that explore challenges to and solutions for global sustainability. In both programs, binational teams use design thinking to identify a problem in their community and brainstorm solutions related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge is an eight-week virtual business competition where participants develop and pitch an innovative business concept that addresses a UN SDG while building essential workforce and global citizenship skills. Global Solutions Conversations connects young people over six weeks for live discussions about their culture and global issues, which culminates in a joint session engaging all participants to celebrate their innovative ideas and share lessons learned.
GSSC: Binational teams work together to define a problem in their local communities and then brainstorm, research, design, and test an innovative solution. Students take on leadership roles, working together online in real-time through Zoom and Slack, as well as away from the computer. Students learn about each other’s culture as they collaborate on their business concept and do one-on-one empathy interviews where they learn what a day is like in their teammate’s life. The top five teams present their pitch live at the Virtual Global Business Expo, and the top three teams are selected by a panel of judges comprised of industry professionals and are awarded a small grant to further develop their concept.
GSC: Over six consecutive live sessions, binational teams discuss their cultures and challenges in their local communities related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Students answer several questions each week that guide their conversation around empathy and cultural communication and that eventually lead to brainstorming possible solutions to the challenges at home. After each week’s discussion, students post their ideas for the next week’s discussion on a collaboration board. At the end, all participants come together to celebrate the creative ideas they’ve brainstormed and share what they learned about cross cultural communication.
- All U.S. States and Territories
GSSC: Eight weeks (three hours/week); GSC: Six weeks (one and a half hours/week)