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This 12-week team-based learning experience involves teams of 4-6 participants working together to explore ways to create actionable change and make a lasting impact in communities at home and abroad. The lab is designed for participants to explore the fundamentals of making change, work collaboratively in successful teams, identify areas of challenge and growth to better advocate for the needs of community-based organizations, and ultimately, produce a feasible capstone action plan.

  • FIELD EXPERTS will support you through creative ideation, help you develop skills to identify community needs, and provide real-world feedback on your action planning.
  • CULTURAL COACHES will keep your solutions global, with cultural insight to guide development of your concept, enhance your impact, and maximize your global reach.

In the lab, participants will:

— Engage with a team of peers to produce an action plan for community engagement to support community-based organizations locally with a global perspective.

— Learn from cultural coaches and field experts about various approaches to community organizing, advocacy, civic engagement and allyship for marginalized communities.

— Build a global-to-local advocacy action plan leveraging domestic and international network of community partners to enact change.

What's Included?

  • Advising
  • Community-building activities and cultural resources in a digital learning workspace
  • Career readiness materials and support, including how to reflect this experience on a resume and at job interviews
  • Live events featuring speakers, activities, networking and more
  • API Digital Badge Stack
  • Post-program evaluation
  • Access to API alumni network & API Ambassador Program

Application Requirements

  • A current resume or CV
  • Personal statement outlining a local community-based organization and your interest in creating a plan of action to support their goals
Session Program Dates Program Cost Application Deadline Payment Deadline
Spring Feb 15, 2021 - May 7, 2021 $1,200 Feb 1, 2021 Feb 15, 2021

API Lab participants pay a $150 application deposit with the initial application and the remaining balance is due upon acceptance. Participants who apply on the application deadline are responsible for submitting 50% of the program fee with the application.

Program participants will have the opportunity to culminate their virtual learning experience with an optional 7-16 day excursion in March of 2021! Participants will experience the rich cultural heritage of the country of their choice through various tours, visits to historic sites, and opportunities to experience the local culture firsthand. Participants interested in this option may select one excursion and will be charged an additional fee. Please note that participants must be 18 or older by the program start date. The international excursions require minimum enrollment per location and itineraries are subject to change.

What’s Included:

- Airport reception
- API safety orientation
- Housing
- API welcome dinner and several group meals (some meals on own)
- Medical and life insurance
- In-country transportation
- Entrance fees
- Social and cultural activities


What You’ll Study

API Global Community Engagement Lab participants will participate in dynamic team-based, experiential learning utilizing a flipped classroom model to move an innovative idea for community engagement through design and development to create an action plan for longitudinal change.

Alongside the guided modules and supported learning opportunities with field experts and cultural coaches, teams will level-up their learning along the way by earning the Global-to-Local Community Engagement badge stack. These badges certify meaningful engagement with the learning outcomes of the API Community Engagement Lab and will enhance the earner’s LinkedIn profile, personal website and digital resume, and more.

Global-to-Local Community Engagement badge: Create meaningful community engagement opportunities locally with a global perspective. Connect impactful solutions to real-world challenges and create change by actively enacting plans developed, designed, and delivered with community goals in mind.

Global Teamwork: This digital badge is part of the Community Engagement Lab digital badge stack. Earn this digital badge by working with a team to create innovative solutions to global problems. Diverse perspectives, cultural competence, and a drive to succeed are all key to collaborations that make an impact. Assess your collaborative skills, practice peer review, and refine your individual approach to leadership in team settings.

Global Problem Solving: This digital badge is part of the Community Engagement Lab digital badge stack. Refine global problem solving skills by embracing diverse perspectives, leveraging curiosity, networking with experts, and piloting solutions. Design, implement, assess, and modify to test your hypotheses and grow skills of resilience and change management.

Team-based learning is a central component of the API Global Community Engagement Lab. Teams will have different skill sets, expertise, and areas of interest. Weekly modules will guide teams through exploring fundamentals of community engagement, collaborative ideation to identify a community-based challenge to address, defining the concept and approach, communicating value and exploring global to local impact, and ultimately, developing an action plan that the team will pitch to field experts and cultural coaches. The lab follows the Lean Launchpad methodology, a process that uses the scientific method to frame discovery and experiential concept design through active testing of hypotheses and ideas. Teams will be guided by experts, cultural coaches, and lab facilitators and can expect to dedicate 3-5 hours to lab work each week. The teams will be assessed on ideation, concept development, creating value and impact evaluation, collaborative teamwork, and the feasibility of their community engagement plan.

During the 12-week experience, learners will engage each of the following four modules alongside their teammates:

Fundamentals of Community Engagement

Explore essential questions of community engagement, including how to identify community needs, active listening, collaboration across boundaries of difference, and fundamentals of advocacy. Teams will also examine fundamentals of teamwork and be introduced to cultural coaches who will provide a global to local perspective on community engagement.

Problems and Ideas

Investigate and identify community challenges, both in local communities and within global contexts. Teams will explore community organizing, advocacy, service, and allyship for marginalized communities. Resourced ideation and creative team-building activities will guide teams to identify concepts to test to build value.

Concept Development / Action Planning

Teams practice developing a concept through active listening and community engagement, testing out ideas and hypotheses with guidance from field experts. Cultural coaches support developing global perspectives and introduce global action items around team concepts. Teams identify community partners and begin to develop a plan of action to address scope and feasibility of their ideas. Teams leverage skills in digital agility and virtual organizing to maximize impact and value.

Creating Value

Teams present CAPstone project (community action plan) to a virtual “board” of field experts, cultural coaches, and representatives from community-based organizations. Teams refine the action plan based on feedback and submit the final plan. Teams are then assessed on teamwork and CAPstone action plan.

Fundamentals - Innovation Lab

Explore the fundamental elements of successful teamwork and introduction to Lean Launchpad methodology. Define objectives to integrate business skills, knowledge and experiences of a diverse team to solve complex business challenges in a global economy.

Problems & Ideas - Innovation Lab

Participate in interactive ideation through the digital workspace, challenging ideas and creating solutions using the UN Global Goals as a framework. Collaborate with the team to build a value proposition and validate ideas.

Concept Development - Innovation Lab

Design a desirable, feasible, and viable business model for the implementation of an innovation. Create a business model hypothesis and participate in prototyping and market testing. Learn from industry mentors real-world business impact. Explore cultural applications through the lens of cultural coaches. Consider external environmental implications as the pitch develops.

Creating Value - Innovation Lab

Examine how to communicate the essential value of innovative solutions and build a pitch. Participate in the pitch competition and evaluate solutions provided by other teams. Engage in critical reflection and analysis of team functionality, including strengths and opportunities for growth.