Bali beckons for local student
Mountain View High School grad teaches activism, leadership in island province
Ryan Feinstein, born and raised in Mountain View and a graduate of Mountain View High School, is spending this summer far from home: on the Southeast Asian island of Bali, where he is pursuing his vision for social activism and youth leadership on an international scale.
Feinstein, now a junior at UC San Diego and an international studies major, is visiting the island, a province of Indonesia, for the seventh time in three years as part of his involvement with the Bali Institute for Global Renewal, where he began as an assistant in his freshman summer.
The institute, located in the city of Ubud, is a learning center that offers an array of programs that teach individuals, groups and organizations how to be effective leaders.
This summer Feinstein has ramped up his involvement, and now he serves as founder and director of the institute's Global Youth in Action Program. His commitment and passion won Feinstein the position, and he is currently the youngest organizer on staff.
This week Feinstein is in the midst of welcoming delegates from around the world to a week-long conference he helped to coordinate, titled "Awakening Global Action — Leadership, Indigenous Wisdom and Dialogue for a Transforming World."
The seven-day conference is designed to offer presentations, workshops and leadership training to participants who want to have an impact on their community. Feinstein has worked to bring as many young people to the program as possible.
Feinstein attended the institute's first conference and said he was concerned that only 10 young people out of 500 adults were present. The experience inspired him to try to motivate other students to attend.
"Young people need to start understanding their role in the world and to stand up and act on their beliefs and frustrations starting now," Feinstein stated in an e-mail. "Young people in their 20s are going to be running many of the corporations, NGOs and countries in the near future, and we need to know how to live in the world in a different way than we currently are."
Feinstein said the differences in lifestyle and culture between a developing place like Bali and, say, Mountain View or San Diego are vast. He said the experience of living and working in Bali has had a deep impact on him.
"Much of my way of thinking has come from spending time in less industrialized areas of the world and really trying to understand cultures totally different from my own," he said.
Feinstein, who will graduate in spring 2008, said he doesn't know exactly what his post-graduate plans are, but he is sure he wants to continue working on the empowerment of youth in some way.
He said he is interested in attending graduate school because he wants to create a new leadership curriculum for universities that would encourage students to get involved in global affairs.
"I am doing this work because I truly believe we are at the cutting edge of leadership development and are creating a new generation of leaders of all ages," he wrote.
For more information on the Bali Institute for Global Renewal, visit www.baliinstitute.org.
E-mail Alexa Tondreau at firstname.lastname@example.org