In her first six months as World Learning’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, Wagaye Johannes has seen the dedication and passion of World Learning and SIT staff, faculty, senior team, and board to strengthen diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
“In collaboration with the senior executive team, I am honored to help lead the strategic efforts to embed diversity, equity, inclusion, and access across our global programs and operations,” she says. “It is clear that all at World Learning and SIT are committed to learning—and unlearning—to ensure that together we are living out our values.”
This past year, a committee of staff and faculty representing a cross-section of the organization met regularly and discussed how to comprehensively describe World Learning and SIT’s work in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The committee concluded that “diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA+)” best captured the organization’s efforts both internally and externally. The addition of the “+” represents other important principles, such as social justice, anti-racism, and belonging, that also guide World Learning and SIT’s actions around this work.
The committee also held DEIA+ community hours for its internal community to come together and share perspectives on recent events, regional news, articles of interest, and more. The goal was to create an equitable space where individuals could connect with colleagues, share ideas, and gain knowledge.
A central hub on World Learning intranet was also created to better share knowledge and experiences across borders and provide insight on several policies, including the future of work and compensation policies.
“Creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture takes time, ongoing commitment, and a growth mindset. The work is an iterative process. In the next year, as we build forward, we will launch our strategic framework,” Johannes says.
The framework will focus on strengthening World Learning and SIT’s inclusive hybrid workplace so all employees feel they belong, reviewing hiring and recruitment practices, providing ongoing learning and development opportunities to further global DEIA+ competencies and skills, and ensuring programs incorporate DEIA+ best practices.
In May 2022, World Learning signed onto InterAction's #DEI Compact, an initiative by the InterAction community to strengthen international NGOs’ work around diversity, equity, and inclusion. World Learning knows this was an important step as part of its effort to advance DEIA+ within the organization and the greater international development sector. The work of InterAction serves as a shared starting line for the sector and holds all organizations accountable on DEI-related matters.
Learn about World Learning and SIT’s work to foster greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in its programming: