James, left, with friends from the U.S. and Iraq during Global Youth Village Session B 2012

James, left, with friends from the U.S. and Iraq during Global Youth Village Session B 2012

James McCray (GYV ’12)  has a been up to big things since attending the Global Youth Village – traveling to Indonesia, organizing an environmental activism project, attending a youth training at Yale and petitioning his school board to increase global education in his school’s curriculum.

James attributes his “drive to contribute all of [his] abilities to a greater cause” for fueling his recent work. Here’s an update about what James has been up to since he attending the Global Youth Village in 2012:


James in Indonesia

James, center, with his host family and “Abi”, during the his travels in Indonesia

Indonesia-U.S. Leadership Exchange Program*:  In 2013, James was a member of the U.S. delegation to Indonesia. The program brought Indonesian and American high school students together to study leadership, environmental action, project planning and cross-cultural relations.  One of the highlights of James’ trip to Indonesia was a biking trip he took with “Abi” (means “father” in Indonesian), his host father.  During the trip James saw ” the splendor of Indonesia in its raw form”, but also learned of the vast pollution in the country. Learning about environmental issues in Indonesia lead him to design and lead an environmental impact project in his home town in Virginia.



James McCray

James contemplating global issues at Yale


Yale Young Global Scholars Program:  After arriving home from Indonesia, James traveled to the campus of Yale University to attend what he describes as “a Yale International Studies courses condensed into a two-week program.” The program “focuses on analytical writing, negotiating, historical strategic advances and their application to contemporary international affairs …  I chose this program because it was a stepping stone in my pursuit in understanding the interconnected world.”  At Yale, James completed university-level international relations courses and built friendships with students from around the world.


James Project

One of James’ friends, enjoying a clean Beaverdam Resevoir after completing the T-CUp project




T-CUp Project : As a participant in the Indonesian-U.S. Youth Leadership Exchange Program, James completed a follow-on project to address an environmental issue in his own community. Moved by the pollution he noticed during a bike trip in Indonesia, and noticing the pollution at a local water-way, James organized a group of students and staff from Loudon County schools to clean the Beaverdam Reservoir.   T-CUp project was featured in “Keep Loudon Beautiful’s” local publication, and many student and community organizations requested partnership with T-CUp to extend the reach of the project. James plans on partnering with the student council and naturalist clubs at his school to continue the program and make it a local tradition! (read more about two other follow on projects:  Sindhu creating healthy habitats for oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, and Christo’s “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” project in Indonesia)



Global Awareness Campaign: During the school year, James leads presentation within Loudon County Public Schools to increase global awareness among teenagers.  “From my summer experiences I have become more aware of the lack of awareness that many students have of the world around them … my goal is to persuade the school board to include more global awareness elements into their curriculum or work.”


GYV alumna/us?  Tell us what you are up to these days.  Want to learn more about GYV?  Visit our 2014 Program Page for details.

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*The Indonesia-U.S. Young Leadership Program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs and implemented by Legacy International and Center for Civic Education Indonesia (CCEI).