SIT 50th Anniversary Celebration Renews Commitment to Experiential Learning and Social Justice

The School for International Training (SIT) marked its 50th anniversary with a celebration and reunion August 8–10 on its campus in Brattleboro with hundreds of alumni, staff, students and friends from the United States and around the world. The weekend featured receptions, panels, and sessions celebrating SIT’s commitment to experiential learning and social justice.

In a letter congratulating the institution on its anniversary, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., praised SIT’s ongoing contributions. “As the world grows increasingly complex and inter-connected, we need educated and engaged global citizens with an understanding of inter-cultural differences and similarities,” Leahy wrote, thanking the organization for decades of work to build peace, prosperity and justice through experiential programs, study abroad opportunities and graduate work.

“This was an extraordinary event representing the best of World Learning and the SIT community from study abroad to graduate work, from development to education, from exchanges to social justice,” World Learning President and CEO Donald Steinberg said.

SIT, the accredited academic institution of World Learning, came into being in 1964. It grew out of The Experiment in International Living, established to enhance cross-cultural education and experiential learning overseas. One of the early pioneers of The Experiment and the founder of SIT was John “Jack” Wallace, who served as executive vice president. SIT also traces its roots to the earliest Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the founding of SIT, more than 50,000 students have participated in its accredited undergraduate study abroad, graduate, and professional programs. Each year SIT Study Abroad sends approximately 2,000 college and university students to about 40 countries on field-based, experiential education programs that focus on critical global issues.

About 375 alumni, students, staff, and friends of SIT attended celebration events throughout the weekend, with attendees traveling from as far away as the Dominican Republic and Nepal.  Among those who attended: George Steinmeyer, a former employee; former acting CEO Alan Carter; Executive Director of Federation EIL Polly-Jo Moryl; and alumna and immigration lawyer Maureen Dun. Also in attendance were Board Chair Rosamund Delori; Trustees Bob Adams and Paul Muther; and Trustee Emerita Phyllis Watt Ingersoll, daughter of The Experiment’s founder Donald Watt.

“As an alumnus of SIT I am so proud to be associated with this event and with the 50 year history of the School for International Training,” said Dr. John Lucas, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “The work we do on campus and around the world changes lives and enables citizens, particularly young citizens, to advance peace.

SIT honored Alvino and Beatriz Fantini for their combined 98 years of service to the institution with a banquet featuring SIT Graduate Institute speaker and faculty member Diane Larsen-Freeman. A scholarship funded in the Fantinis’ name will help international students, especially those from underserved populations and the global south. The scholarship has already exceeded its initial fundraising goal of $100,000.

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