What is VOYAGE, what does it do, and what does it stand for?
Why does the organization focus on media outreach?
How is membership determined? Can I join?
Doesn't a diverse membership guarantee internal disagreement on substantive issues?
How does the organization select which projects it will pursue?
What is VOYAGE, what does it do, and
what does it stand for?
VOYAGE is a small team of energetic, articulate, and thoughtful
young people eager to reinvigorate the national dialogue on America's
global role with a "fresh voice." We are
some of the country's most accomplished students of foreign affairs and
most dedicated proponents of American leadership in promoting peace, justice,
and human rights worldwide.
VOYAGE is independent, non-partisan, and non-profit.
Through ongoing outreach in mainstream print, radio, and
television venues, we work to foster domestic constituencies for "socially
responsible internationalism" in America's foreign and security policies
– for a lasting commitment, in other words, to international cooperation,
to strong multilateral institutions supported by an enforceable rule of
international law, and above all, to respect for the dignity of every
human being on the planet.
This won't happen overnight. Since the end of the Cold
War – but especially since September 11 – many Americans have
hardened their worldviews, persuaded that aggressive and divisive U.S.
behavior toward the wider world is both warranted and urgent, and that
their exceptional country is entitled to exceptional treatment in the
global arena. Socially reponsible internationalism, they say, is bunk.
The question deserves asking: just what responsibilities should the earth's
lone superpower and its people bear?
Our country, answer some of these naysayers, is only one
among many, and it doesn't have the wherewithal to be the "world's policeman."
Others object that we're not without substantial problems on the home
front, and that we ought to take care of our own before we reach out to
the rest of the world. But most of them point to a war on terrorism that
America must now wage to the exclusion of all its other interests, short-term
While VOYAGE members respect positions not consistent
with our own, we believe that these worldviews of disengagement and insulation
are tragically mistaken on two distinct levels. The first is moral. Americans,
on balance, are blessed with tremendous opportunity – opportunity
so pervasive that we can't imagine life being much worse anywhere else.
This blinds us to the humanitarian needs of other societies in a most
insidious way; the deepest connection that many of us might feel to a
starving girl in Sudan, orphaned by her country's civil war, would come
through television or an internet news site, a blip in the fast-paced
information age that would be inconceivable to her. But that girl's certainly
out there, and her predicament doesn't improve when we change the channel.
Is she fundamentally different from any one of us? Undeserving of the
same opportunities that were assured to us by virtue of our birth in the
The second is more pragmatic, more "strategic." Those
of us who fail to appreciate the new realities of a globalizing world
– particularly those who fall into an "us-versus-them" mindset of
one variety or another – only complicate the challenges of interdependence.
Ideological extremism along ethnic and religious lines, hunger and poverty,
destructive diseases like HIV-AIDS, weapons proliferation – these
and other perils pay no attention to national borders, and no single nation,
however mighty, can shield them with brute force. Common problems require
common action. So the way that we Americans identify ourselves in relation
to others must change with the times, or we're bound to suffer more of
the consequences. Citizenship has gone global.
The Bush administration has often not chosen the path
of socially responsible internationalism. Its combative and unilateral
behavior in the face of the challenges of interdependence noted above
makes this a critical moment – especially for members of our own
generation, who tomorrow will inherit the kind of world that we shape
today, good or bad. Though there's much work to do, VOYAGE is determined
to see that America makes the right choice.
Why does the organization focus on media
It's a void waiting to be filled. Other youth organizations
– too numerous to list here – do fantastic work in building
cross-cultural understanding and in mobilizing different American and
foreign audiences. But none devotes itself to delivering compelling messages
on substantive international issues in mainstream settings. And what more
important task than to "make the case" in a way that has widespread effect,
and that reaches many who don't yet share our convictions? Even more to
the point, mainstream media projects enable us to show other young Americans
that it's OK – indeed, it's essential – to take international
issues seriously and to think about their responsibilities on a global
How is membership determined? Can I
To ensure that our efforts resonate with a broad national
audience, members have been selected with an emphasis on diversity –
not just in personal backgrounds, but also in substantive interests. Some
of us, for example, have particular experience with economic development
in South America. Others are more comfortable discussing national security
affairs, or political dynamics in the Arab world. Whatever the issue,
VOYAGE stands ready to offer timely analysis and to frame that issue in
the larger context of America's global role.
VOYAGE is happy to hear from those interested in helping
our team continue its work. We do not accept unsolicited applications
for permanent membership, preferring instead to partner with individuals
or other organizations for specific projects. Please contact us to learn
Doesn't a diverse membership guarantee
You bet. And we wouldn't have it any other way. Our diversity
of voices is an acknowledgment that well-intentioned people can approach
important issues from different perspectives, and a great advantage as
we share our message with an audience – America – that in
many ways is a cross-section of the world.
How does the organization select which
projects it will pursue?
VOYAGE is a dynamic organization that prides itself on
being responsive to current events. On occasion we organize media campaigns
around a single issue, but we're always prepared to bring a "fresh
voice" to public debates on the challenges confronting America in
its relationship with the world community – from the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, to the toll of HIV-AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean region,
to the expansion of the European Union. By grappling with the most profound
issues of the day, we intend to make clear that peace, justice, and human
rights are the appropriate guiding principles for our rapidly changing