Janbala, a San Francisco-based online travel startup, has teamed up with Global Citizen Year, a non-profit organization on a mission to build a new generation of globally-aware leaders. Together, the two organizations hope to amplify their shared goal of creating global citizens who are driven by global understanding, real world experience, and a sense of purpose.
Driven by the belief that travel should generate positive impact for both the traveler and the communities they visit, Janbala builds on the inspiration derived from its namesake: Jambhala, the practice of cultivating compassion to share prosperity of the spirit. “We are committed to breaking down the barriers in our societies and building global human kindness — travel with a heart. Shared experiences from travel should lead to shared prosperity,” said Jason Chen, Founder and CEO of Janbala.
In service of Global Citizen Year and its mission, Janbala will provide support with a full range of travel-related products and insights. This includes arranging flights and hotel accommodations; assistance from global travel experts, seasoned marketing professionals and software engineering talent; networks with significant international investment and local community organizations all over the world; time (man-power in the US, China, Philippines and beyond; and exposure (already receiving daily visits over 35,000 per day).
“Our partnership with Global Citizen Year reinforces our values – building bold new models for cross-cultural learning and inspiring generations to come,” said Chen. Janbala is dedicated to cultivating compassion through every aspect of its work, and sees travel itself as a means of breaking down global misconceptions, building bridges and understanding across cultures, in turn sharing wealth and prosperity all over the world.
Global Citizen Year immerses a diverse corps of “fellows” in developing countries during a bridge year after high school, building the global competencies – empathy, language fluency, cross-cultural skills – vital to 21st century leadership but too often overlooked by America’s K-16 education system. Its 450 alumni are thriving in college and early careers and Global Citizen Year envisions a world in which this bridge year becomes a common expectation and opportunity—transforming education, and unleashing the potential of our next generation as social innovators and global citizens.
Last month, Katie Couric visited Global Citizen Year’s training to highlight the growing “bridge year” trend and the need to build global experience into America’s education system. “The challenges that we face on this planet are global in nature – things like climate change, security, poverty – these things don’t know borders, and change starts from leadership that’s grounded in first-hand experience,” said Global Citizen Year Founder and CEO Abigail Falik.
“Global Citizen Year is thrilled to partner with Janbala to highlight the importance of travel and cultural exchange,” said Falik. “Our Fellows learn first-hand how immersion in a new community transforms a worldview — creating relationships, building skills and unleashing passion that informs their decisions in college and beyond — and through their support, Janbala will help us make this opportunity available to a greater number and diversity of fellows.”