Our Goal

What is the Goal of the Pan-American College Fund?

In my years of military training from being an F-15 Crew Chief in the U.S. Air Force to my last duty assignment as a CH-47(D) Chinook Pilot for the 101st Airborne in the U.S. Army, I learned that “We are stronger together.”  A team of people can do more than an individual can do alone.  I also learned that this applied to governments and organizations.  So, it made sense to me that the Americas would be far greater if we all worked together instead of trying to be individual nations. 

“Empathy is patiently and sincerely seeing the world through the other person’s eyes.  It is not learned in school; it is cultivated over a lifetime.”

This was Albert Einstein’s view of developing empathy.  People confuse sympathy with empathy.  Sympathy is a feeling for someone because their father passed away.  Empathy is knowing how this person feels because your father has passed away as well.  Empathy is a far deeper understanding of another person’s emotions than simply sympathizing with them.  Einstein also said that the development of empathy takes place when a person lives, works, or studies in another culture for at least a year.  They also need a strong grasp of the new culture’s native tongue.

So, I thought the best way we could promote this type of empathy is to educate students in another country.  A student who spends two or more years in a new culture learning the language and learning how to think and articulate their thoughts in a new language is our best hope for a strong future in the Americas.  What does this look like?  Here is a drawing of how I see our program playing out in the long term.  This is with government employees but it can just as easily work with a multicultural corporation.

Look at this drawing.  These are people who have lived and studied in each other’s countries for years.  They know each other’s languages and they understand what it means to be from a certain place.  The Brazilian Consulate hasn’t just seen movies from the U.S.  She has lived in the U.S. and knows what it is like to be part of the culture in the state of Georgia.

I have had people in the U.S. ask me, “How do they get around in Brazil?  Do they use horses and buggies?” I am not kidding.  There is such a severe lack of cultural understanding in the Americas that we are hindered in our ability to communicate with one another.  The goal of the Pan-American College Fund is to eliminate this cultural ignorance. 

I am not suggesting that we need to eliminate culture and heritage.  I believe that it is important to protect a national heritage.  But we do need to create a method of understanding different cultures so that we can work together and strengthen the American continents. 

As J. William Fulbright said, “The essence of intercultural education is the acquisition of empathy – the ability to see the world as others see it and to allow for the possibility that others may see something we have failed to see, or may see it more accurately.  The simple purpose of the exchange program…is to erode the culturally rooted mistrust that sets nations against one another.  The exchange program is not a panacea but an avenue of hope…”

The Pan-American College Fund has at its core, the combining of both Fulbright’s idea with Einstein’s understanding.  We believe using education to unite the Americas will generate not only a unity never before imagined in the Americas, but it will also create a pathway to alleviate poverty across both continents.  Everyone who wants an opportunity to succeed can now have it, and this opportunity will benefit all of us who choose to make the Americas our home.

If you see what we are trying to do and you agree with a stronger bond between our neighbors, then please, join us in this effort to unify the Americas. If you can, donate to our cause. If you are a professor, ask your university to help us create dual-degree programs. If you are a business, sponsor a scholarship. Our program is unique. Once you sponsor a scholarship, it lasts forever. We never spend the donation. We use it to create income to cover the student’s expenses. Your donation will continue in perpetuity.

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