New Youth Organization Begins Voyage for "Socially Responsible Internationalism"

Group Aims to Bring Fresh Voice to Debate on America's Global Role

July 15, 2003

Nate Olson, 21, today announced the formal launch of VOYAGE, or Voices of Young Americans for Global Engagement, an organization of eight young people committed to sharing a message of "socially responsible internationalism" with the American public. Olson said that VOYAGE would devote itself to ongoing outreach in mainstream print, radio, and television venues in order to enrich the national debate on America's role in the world.

The group is independent, non-partisan, and non-profit.

"Since September 11, the public dialogue on our nation's global role has taken place within a dangerously narrow range of ideas," Olson said. "We want to reinvigorate that dialogue. We will celebrate a strong America while celebrating also the common values that can bring hope and reconciliation to a world plagued by despair and violence."

"This is clearly easier said than done," Olson continued. "That's why we'll offer far more than lofty rhetoric. We will give our vision concrete form by articulating our positions on the most pressing international issues of the day – from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to HIV/AIDS in Africa, to the expansion of the European Union. And we've got the right group of young people to get the job done."

The seven other members of VOYAGE are:

  • Rye Barcott, a U.S. Marine Lieutenant. Rye is founder of Carolina for Kibera (, an international non-governmental organization serving the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Heidi Boutros, who has documented human rights abuses in both Russia and India. She is currently working with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Elizabeth Feltes, who has studied Arabic extensively in Morocco. She is completing her master's degree in Middle Eastern Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, England.
  • Stephen Ham, who for several years has worked closely with Dr. Jane Goodall. This summer he is conducting research in the world's largest chimpanzee sanctuary, in the Copperbelt region of Zambia.
  • Jessica Karbowski, who has volunteered with the Global Service Corps in Tanzania and taught in Ecuador's local schools. She is working this summer at the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Alex Little, who has studied conflict resolution in both Northern Ireland and Russia. For the past two years he has worked directly on peace negotiations in Sudan and Uganda with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
  • Devi Sridhar, 19, the youngest American Rhodes Scholar in history. She has studied four languages and received commendation from the Prime Minister of India for her fundraising efforts after the earthquake of 2001.

"Every casualty that we sustain in Iraq ought to be an added incentive to find a different way of securing peace in the future," Olson said. "This different way lies in a genuine partnership with the rest of the world. VOYAGE is determined to help build that partnership."

For more information, please visit the group's Web site at



Nate Olson