Mission, Values & Language

The mission of the VIH Program is to develop and encourage a passion for life-long learning and civic engagement for first-time, underrepresented women and marginalized gender travelers. The VIH Program, curriculum, and community are guided by the following values: 

Global Perspectives 

  • The recognition that global education occurs against the backdrop of political, socioeconomic, and linguistic inequalities as well as cultural conflicts, and we strive to build culturally responsive and inclusive pedagogical practices.
  • The integration of an anti-colonialist and anti-racist lens throughout our program design, curricular framework, and community relationships. 


  • The utilization of the Experiential Learning Cycle: Concrete Experiences, Reflective Observation, Abstract Conceptualization, and Active Experimentation (Kolb, 1984) as an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. 
  • The utilization of sociocultural theory, critical theory, and constructivist theory to position students to deconstruct narratives, co-construct knowledge, and apply knowledge to global challenges. 
  • Learning communities that are intentionally structured with the aim of generating cognitive disequilibrium and thus foster both group and individual critical reflection and analysis.

Valuing Others

  • To act upon the acknowledgment and proactive work towards the redistribution of power, call out privilege, counter prejudice, and fight against oppression in our organizational culture, program design, and pedagogical practices so as to empower ourselves to be change agents. 
  • To position inclusion and equity as driving forces in our curriculum, mindset, and actions to create widespread, deep, and structural changes for underrepresented and/or marginalized peoples.


  • The cultivation of mindsets and the continuation towards the development of our knowledge, skills, and attitudes as well as strength of character. 
  • To aim to be equitable, just, and transparent in our relationships with each other and our community partners to ensure that dignity, inclusion, respect, and ethical standards are at the forefront of our work.


  • The assessment of our global education endeavors on at least an annual basis through qualitative and quantitative means.

  • The recognition that neither data nor knowledge is neutral, and empowers a diverse group of people with the responsibility of interpreting and analyzing data.