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Exchange Programs
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The Solidarity Center, working with our trade union partners around the world, designs bi-directional international educational exchanges for labor leaders and activists.

Labor unions are the primary advocates and defenders of workers’ rights, which are human rights in the workplace, by holding private and public sector institutions accountable to internationally recognized laws and principles of human and worker rights, and as such, are a fundamental building block of a democratic society.  The Solidarity Center and its predecessor institutions have successfully implemented international labor development assistance programs worldwide for over 50 years. 

The Solidarity Center helps unions and labor activists protect and advance fundamental worker rights through programs and trainings designed to strengthen and empower unions and workers to advocate for better social protections with employers and governing bodies.  SC programs have assisted workers and their organizations throughout the world learn how to better organize unions, negotiate Collective Bargaining Agreements to improve their economic situation and workplace conditions, and otherwise represent their members' interests. 

In addition, the Solidarity Center works with partner organizations and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to support efforts to assist and organize some of the most vulnerable groups of workers such as migrants, women, youth, domestic workers and minorities.  These workers, despite constituting the majority of the workforce in some parts of the world, are the most likely to be marginalized and forced to work in the informal sector without the protection of labor laws and standards.

With financial support through a grant awarded by the United States Department of State, as well as support from labor union partners, foundations, and the AFL-CIO, the Solidarity Center annually implements international exchange programs with participants from around the world.

Each exchange includes 6-10 participants, who travel to 2-3 different locales during their program. Through carefully planned activities, meetings, training sessions and roundtable discussions, participants are given an opportunity to meet with government officials, labor leaders and workers. Participants experience first hand the host country’s geographic and cultural diversity, as well as examine its government, politics, policy making process, and history.

Solidarity Center international delegations are hosted in part by U.S. Solidarity Center Exchange Program alumni in their home states.  These alumni donate their time and expertise and resources, and act as valuable liasons between international delegations and US organizations.

Delegations
The Solidarity Center selects participants for each international delegation representing the gender, geographic, and ethnic diversity of each participating country. U.S. delegations include some combination labor leaders and union organizers from the employment sector of focus; experienced trainers, community activists and government officials. 

Resources
State Alumni is a dynamic, interactive online global community that offers Exchange Program alumni a place to network, discover grants and funding opportunities and access 20,000 international journals and newspapers. The site is exclusively for alumni and features communities to discuss ideas and topics and offers opportunities to participate in live question-and-answer sessions with experts.

♦ Exchanges Connect is a digital resource for the alumni of exchange programs, youth audiences and other groups around the world interested in international dialogue of mutual interest which furthers the goal of international understanding.


2012 Exchanges

U.S. labor activists to Tunisia/Morocco/Egypt
Topic: The goal for this bi-directional exchange is to assist unions in the agriculture, food processing, textiles and public sectors increase worker power and build representative, inclusive and independent labor movements as a key pillar of national democratic practice.

Tunisian/Moroccan/Egyptian labor activists from the agriculture, food processing, textiles and public sectors to the U.S.
Topic: focus on enhancing grassroots education and mobilizing as a tool for positive social change.

U.S activists and workers from the hospitality sector to Morocco and Tunisia
Topic:  examine the mechanics of supporting freedom of association through successful, on-going union programs including those focusing on recruitment, education, health and safety and advocacy.

Moroccan and Tunisian activists and workers from the hospitality sector to the U.S.
Topic: assist workers and their unions in establishing norms and standards for the new global business environment including the creation of cultural, institutional and policy environments in which decent work can take hold. 
2012 Exchanges

U.S. labor activists to Tunisia/Morocco/Egypt
Topic: The goal for this bi-directional exchange is to assist unions in the agriculture, food processing, textiles and public sectors increase worker power and build representative, inclusive and independent labor movements as a key pillar of national democratic practice.

Tunisian/Moroccan/Egyptian labor activists from the agriculture, food processing, textiles and public sectors to the U.S.
Topic: focus on enhancing grassroots education and mobilizing as a tool for positive social change.

U.S. activists and workers from the hospitality sector to Morocco and Tunisia
Topic:  examine the mechanics of supporting freedom of association through successful, on-going union programs including those focusing on recruitment, education, health and safety and advocacy.

Moroccan and Tunisian activists and workers from the hospitality sector to the U.S.
Topic: assist workers and their unions in establishing norms and standards for the new global business environment including the creation of cultural, institutional and policy environments in which decent work can take hold. 
 

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