Meredith-JanikName: Meredith Janik
Nationality: USA /American
GYV Staff/ Participant during: P’91, P’92, S’93
Education: BA Political Science College of Wooster, MA in Liberal Studies at Georgetown University -all but thesis done.
Occupation: Local Coordinator for CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange), and stay at home Mom to my three children, Kristin 2, Michael 5, Sarah 7.
Most Interesting Country Visited: Hard to pick. It’s a toss up between Iceland and Kazakhstan.
Favorite GYV Memory: Again, it’s hard to chose from. I’d say some of the discussions in Dialogue were so deep and meaningful. There was one conversation in particular that moved me. There were two Israeli Arab girls and two Israeli Jewish girls of which, two were in my cabin. All four girls were having a discussion about how far they had come in the program. It was a “break” weekend between sessions and I was staying for two sessions. We had two four week sessions then. I was invited to observe the discussions for that weekend. Shanti was moderating. At first the girls seemed to acknowledge how much progress they all had made in Dialogue and that they couldn’t even believe how good friends they had become. Then Shanti asked, “So now, if you were to see each other in Israel in passing on the street, what would you do?”  One of the girls said that she still wouldn’t speak to the others in public because of who they are. That comment brought tears to the eyes of the other girls. The other girl said that she felt the opposite, that she would say hello to her and she was so hurt that they didn’t all feel the same. It was a reminder to me that politics is personal. Nothing like that seemed to happen in my life up until that point. It helped me understand Global Issues in a deeper light.

Volunteer/Civic Engagement since Global Youth Village: I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan from 1997-1999. I was a Graduate intern at the Department of Commerce in International Trade office, and then I was a Nonproliferation Graduate Program Fellow for the National Nuclear Security Administration at the Department of Energy. I currently serve as a Local Coordinator supporting high school exchange students from around the world in Northern Maryland. I am also on my local Parent Teacher Association Board at the Vice President.
I was born and raised in New York City.  I went to school where there were a lot of children in my class from all over the world. In second grade, I went to the U.N. on a class trip and got to sit in the General Assembly.  Someone put the translator cover over my ear and told me the adults were deciding on issues that affected everyone around the globe. That was it: I was hooked onto Global politics. My love of International Affairs was also fostered by my mother who used to travel to different countries helping governments create programs for the Visually Impaired.  She would bring back traditional gifts from the countries she visited such as a youth medal from China, Russian Dolls, and silk costumes from Korea. Those days she would come back from trips around the world was like an American version of Christmas for me!
In high school,  I was tired of the “activities oreinted” camp life and wanted something more. I didn’t want to do a “teen tour” of many countries. I wanted something more like a cross between an internship and a “program”. All the  high school internships wouldn’t give me the in depth information and first hand experience I wanted. I was telling a friend this in high school when a senior year upperclassman named Jade (Niki Ullman)  overheard me. She said, “You must try Legacy (GYV), and sold me on the program. I have been sold out for Legacy ever since.
I did a study abroad program in college- a summer exchange program to Kazakhstan. After that, my next career move was to become a Nonproliferation Graduate Program Fellow at the National Nuclear Security Administration. I worked in the International Safeguard office who helped the IAEA and other Nuclear countries safely secure their Nuclear weapons and Material.
Often times my career seems planned but the last career change wasn’t something I knew I was interested in, being a Mom. My love for my newly created family was growing and it was difficult to travel to other countries and stay with my children at the same time. I decided to pause my career for spending more time with my kids. I love this new career change and wouldn’t miss it for the world. After all, I would love to see a younger generation  take the helm and become global and active citizens of the world we live in.