Today we turn our focus to the Jérôme Lohez 9/11 Scholarship Foundation, the only charitable organization established after the 9/11 tragedy dedicated specifically to promoting educational and cultural exchange among the U.S., France, and China. By providing scholarship awards to multinational students, enabling them to study in one another’s countries, the Foundation aims to shape the next generation of global citizens, along with a new class of international policy makers. The foundation was launched in November 2005 in honor of Jérôme Robert Lohez, a French citizen who died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on that tragic day.
Helping exchange students understand different cultures
The foundation focuses on exchange students and strives to avoid another attack by channeling terrorist frustrations into resolution and allowing youths from different backgrounds and cultures to coexist and find a common ground when they have different opinions. When students apply for a scholarship through the foundation, they are asked for their opinion on how they can limit violence and are encouraged to oppose globally based violent ideologies. It also helps raise funds to subsidize the cost for students to study and attend colleges/universities in the U.S.
Making a difference through peace
It’s essential to plant the seeds of peace in youth because they are more willing to explore different cultures and see and understand different perspectives. Young people can also be easily misled or influenced by extreme views. That is why it’s so important to encourage youths to visit other countries so they can better understand other cultures and have empathy instead of only seeing those places through the internet or other social media. This will help the dialogue for peace and resolution. It is crucial that youths learn to agree to disagree and coexist regardless of different cultures, faiths or values.
Sharing stories of peace with people from all backgrounds
Peace is about people from different cultures and backgrounds sitting together at the table and talking about ways to get along. It is never about taking lives to demonstrate hatred.
The foundation is featured at the 9/11 Tribute Museum and partners with WOVEN to take students and youth on tours of the museum. Students going into college in the coming years were born right after 9/11 and it is important for them to learn about that tragic day so it will never be forgotten. On the tour, they learn about how ordinary people helped others that day and how some lost their own lives by saving others. These stories of kindness by ordinary private citizens helping strangers of all backgrounds show one example of what peace looks like.
Ways you can get involved
There are a number of ways to get involved with the organization and help.
- Corporations can help encourage universities to reduce the costs associated with higher education in the US. It has become too costly for students from abroad, as well as US students.
- Youths can help with content and by translating the work they are doing into French to help get the message out on social media, bringing the foundation closer to a youth point of view.
- Provide assistance and additional services to their New York students (primarily at Columbia University) by organizing meet-ups, book clubs or tours to help them know and understand the city faster.
Join the Jérôme Lohez 9/11 Scholarship Foundation in making an impact through peace and coexistence.