SIT’s history of teaching students a sense of “our common humanity” was theme of Capitol Hill event

June 6th, 2024   |   Alumni, School for International Training

Man stands at podium with one arm raising, speaking into a microphone. Behind him are banners and a screen that have SIT logos.
Sen. Brian Schatz speaks to the guests.

Nearly 150 guests recently gathered on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to celebrate SIT’s 60th anniversary. The May event was part of a series of events SIT is hosting this year to honor its 60 years of educating global citizens through study abroad programs and graduate degrees.

Three men and one woman stand with their arms around each other, facing the camera. They are on a balcony and the Capitol building is behind them in the distance.
Guests connect on the balcony with a view of the Capitol behind.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) spoke to the group, which included alumni, board members, faculty, and school partners. The senator, an SIT alum, told stories about his experience in Kenya that ranged from humorous to poignant. Overall, he stressed the importance of a global education and shared how his SIT experience helped shape his life and professional journey.

“SIT taught me that the most important thing, certainly in public service and probably in life, is that you don’t know what you don’t know … to listen to people, understand people—not as instruments of changes, not as objects of charity—but as people who can teach you things,” Schatz said. “It helped me to understand that travel and studying abroad is about developing that sense of humility and about our common humanity. We all share in our common humanity and that is what SIT taught me.”

A woman and man are laughing with several other guests behind them at a reception.
SIT Professor Emerita Beatriz Fantini and World Learning Board Chair Allen Cutler enjoy the evening. 

SIT President Dr. Sophia Howlett announced that SIT was launching two new PhD programs, one in international education and one in sustainability, as part of its 60th anniversary. Dr. Bruce Dayton, chair of the new international relations doctorate, gave a short lecture to demonstrate what students will experience in the program.

Three women stand with their arms around each other, facing the camera. Behind them is a banner and screen with the SIT logos.
U.S. Rep. Becca Balint (center) poses with SIT President Dr. Sophia Howlett (left) and World Learning CEO Carol Jenkins.

Remarks were also made by Allen Cutler, World Learning board chair, and Carol Jenkins, World Learning CEO. The evening’s program concluded with Rep. Becca Balint (D-Vermont), whose hometown is Brattleboro, Vermont, where SIT’s campus sits.

“If you want to have a lasting, positive impact as a leader, you need to focus on others. Things like showing enthusiasm for others and their ideas, treating people with dignity and kindness, and being curious and open in the way you approach the world,” Balint said. “I want to thank SIT and World Learning for cultivating the kind of leaders that we need more than ever in the world right now. Congratulations on this incredible milestone.”

Group of more than 30 people are talking in groups around high top tables.
Guests at the event included SIT alumni and study abroad advisors from partner schools in the Washington, DC, area