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The Illuminated Cities Project:
An International Fellowship for Youth
The Illuminated Cities Project seeks to give young people, especially those in communities affected by segregation in both urban and suburban spaces, an opportunity for leadership, self-development, and community-development in an international context. Fellows in the program build life skills, develop an Action Plan for their home-community, and are partnered with a mentor and a local organization to help them implement their Action Plan on the ground level. The fellows will be change agents for their home-communities, creating a cycle of revitalization and development.
For the pilot project, we aim to take five fellows and five mentors from the segregated areas of metro-Detroit and Chicago to Mexico City. Fellows will receive pre-departure trainings about the Mexican context and be required to read fellow-recommended texts to help them understand each other’s realities.
During their week in Mexico, fellows will have an opportunity to meet and analyze the work of social entrepreneurs in the Mexican context, lead workshops about the work they are doing in their home contexts, and further develop their action plans for their home communities with their assigned mentors. This international component is the key piece in this project, as it allows fellows to step out of their segregated zones and experience the world through the lens of a new country, culture, and people.
Upon their return home, mentors and fellows will work together to implement action plans. The information and skills with which students are equipped during the trip, as well as the support in creating their action plan throughout and beyond the conclusion of the program, will ensure that students are able to immediately start a process of affecting change in their local communities.