Executive Director
Changing Destinations: Journey to Excellence, Inc., USA

Ms. Sasha E. Butler is the Executive Director of Changing Destinations: Journey To Excellence, Inc., located in Columbia, Maryland. She leads critical global education initiatives for school-community partnerships and the implementation of leadership, socio-emotional learning, community service, and global citizenship education programs. Previously, Ms. Butler held various leadership positions in New York within higher education institutions, community-based organizations, and the business industry. Ms. Butler also serves as an International Education Consultant and Strategist for InXcellence Consulting: Training & Coaching Solutions (1997). She provides professional development resources to educators in the United States, Uganda, and Nigeria. Ms. Butler is a member of the Harvard University GSE Think Tank on Global Education: Empowering Global Citizens equipping teachers and administrators to foster global competence in schools by co-constructing curriculum and devising strategies for systemic change. She is also a member of the World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence to promote intercultural understanding for a more peaceful and sustainable world.

Event Title: Advancing Youth through Social and Economic Empowerment   Date: September 25, 2019


Key priorities and challenges in access to quality education

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes clear that everyone has the right to education. Despite the progress made in increasing access and participation around the world, economic and social disparities remain a threat to this fundamental right. UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) reported 200 million youth are out of school. Current challenges in access to quality education include lack of funding, inadequate infrastructure, overcrowded classrooms, and outdated learning materials. Adequate ongoing training resources are also an issue in high-poverty schools hindering teachers’ effectiveness and students’ ability to learn. Additionally, racial, gender, and disability discriminatory practices deny youth access to quality educational opportunities.

We must continue to work collaboratively and invest more responsibly within our local and global communities to eliminate these barriers and create opportunities for the next generation. To achieve the goal of advancing youth through social and economic empowerment we must establish clear priorities aligned with our mission. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for fostering innovation solutions. Quality Education (SDG 4) and Partnerships for Goals (SDG 17) are at the center of our four key priorities: Social Emotional Learning; Leadership Development; Community Services; and Global Citizenship. Support for youth-led initiatives is an essential component for achieving learning objectives and preparing youth for success inside and outside the classroom. School districts, higher education institutions, local, state, and federal governments, small businesses and large corporations must share the responsibility for equipping youth with the skills and knowledge needed to become leaders and global citizens by creating grassroots, multi-stakeholder platforms where youth are given opportunities to lead.

Shared power is an important core value which motivates young people and teaches them to think critically about the world around them. They bring a fresh perspective on addressing challenges and generating innovative ideas. Youth are key to achieving the SDGs when empowered to lead and develop confidence to act and mobilize others toward a more equitable and sustainable future.

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