Everyone has heard the phrase “ignorance is bliss” when they were younger. And it’s not a phrase that anyone can fully understand until they are suddenly faced with the gift of knowledge, and the world seems to fall out from underneath them.

Because it really is bliss, to live blandly and emptily and unaware of the world around you.

It’s hard for anyone to force themselves to become informed because it seems that by choosing to learn more about the world, what a person is really forced to do is to learn about all of the bad in the world and to be bombarded with negative images of all the horrific things that happen on the planet we inhabit every day.

Sometimes it feels like a wonder that anyone reads the news or tries to keep up with the times — every day it’s something new and uniquely terrible.

And it doesn’t help that sometimes all of this tragedy does is reinforce the idea that an individual is like a tiny drop in a massive bucket, not capable of making much of a difference. So we don’t educate ourselves because all it will do is make us sad, and what can a single person do anyway?

As Steven Shepherd states in a scholastic article on the perpetuation of ignorance, “Maintaining unfamiliarity is an ideal way to protect the psychologically comfortable (even if inaccurate) belief that [someone else] is taking care of the problem.”

The average consumer of news underestimates how much of a difference they are able to make but not the power of other individuals to make a difference. By assuming that other people will take care of the world’s problems, they effectively admit that it is only through the power of people that change will be affected.

The fact of the matter is, in some sense, we are all individual drops in a bucket. But it is only if every drop agrees to do its part that we can and will make the world a better place. As Edward Everett Hale once said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Once a person decides to make an active effort to change the world, then possibilities start to open up. “Seek and you shall find,” as the saying goes. There are causes and charities that are always accepting donations (use a website like to verify the legitimacy of the organization, and check to see how much of their money goes toward the cause and how much to areas like administration).

There are rallies to attend, there is awareness to raise, there are petitions to sign, and there is understanding to spread. Because, though ignorance may be bliss, knowledge is power, and compassion is the most vital ingredient of our humanity.

The Borgen Project itself is a perfect resource for finding ways for the informed person to make a difference. Our “30 Ways to Right a Wrong” page is full of excellent ideas for anyone who wants to start making an active difference.

Pretending the problems of the world don’t exist won’t make the problems any better. In contrast, every individual who decides he or she is going to do what he or she can to right wrongs will make the problems better.

So yes, depressing news stories continue to flood the media waves can be depressing, however we should still pay attention:

  • Because it’s our responsibility to uphold the principles of humanity.
  • Because it is the only way that we can start to address problems.
  • Because by breaking out of our false sense of security, we can create a real sense of security all throughout the world. Our individual bubbles of privilege can be expanded to include all of the people across the earth.

Emily Dieckman

Sources: Before It’s News, APA
Photo: Pittsburgh Parent

Hillary Clinton on Global PovertyThe President of the United States, often called the leader of the free world, tops the shortlist of influential politicians. However, those vying for that title are also key players.

Hillary Clinton is more than well known and has been an incredibly successful and influential politician, but as she campaigns for the Democratic nomination it has become increasingly difficult to learn about her positions or platforms amongst the constant news bits of what she wore or the Chipotle burrito she ordered.

Below is a collection of Clinton’s positions on issues surrounding global poverty.

Clinton on U.S. involvement with humanitarian missions:

“I believe strongly that we have to get back to leading on issues like health care and education and women’s rights around the world. I have introduced bipartisan legislation called The Education for All Act, to have the US lead the world in putting the 77 million kids who aren’t in school into school. I believe we should demonstrate our commitment to people who are poor, disenfranchised, disempowered before we talk about putting troops anywhere. The US has to be seen again as a peacekeeper, and we have lost that standing in these last seven years. So I think we have to concentrate first and foremost on restoring our moral authority in the world and our standing in the world.” (2008)

Clinton on foreign aid:

“I think many people are mistaken about how much money we spend on foreign aid. We spend 1%, and many believe we spend 25%. That 1% investment has made a difference in solving problems but also in helping America to be stronger by solving problems around the world. We sometimes learn lessons we can bring home. I want us to continue to be a leader, and you don’t lead from behind walls. You don’t lead by walking away from the world. I think you lead by remaining engaged and trying to shape events.” (1997)

Clinton on micro-finance:

“From the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh to the Self-employed Women’s Association in India, or to the work in Ghana, to banks and programs modeled on these from Indonesia to the Dominican Republic, to my own country, we have seen that microlending works. Women who have received loans from the Grameen Bank, for example, have a repayment rate of 97%, and often within one year. And they invest their money well.” (1995)

Brittney Dimond

Sources: On the Issues 1, On the Issues 2
Photo: Flickr

Five Charities that Make a Different Kind of DifferenceCharities all work to accomplish different goals and, while their goals are all admirable, some seem to stand out a little more than others. The traditional philanthropic method typically involves collecting donations to be spent on aiding a group or cause either by giving away the raised funds or purchasing specific goods to give to those in need. While this charity formula is not wrong, there are other non-traditional ways to do good. Take a look at these five organizations that make a different kind of difference with your donation.

1. Development Media International (DMI) — DMI creates and broadcasts radio and television programs that help educate and encourage people to adopt healthy practices that can improve a community’s standard of living and individuals’ longevity. Instead of using their funding to distribute soap for hand washing or toothbrushes, they teach simple practices that can make long-term differences, practices that can be taught to children and passed along through generations.

2. Kiva — Kiva is a nonprofit that works to alleviate global poverty through individual micro-loans. Donors invest in the form of a small personal loan for individuals to accomplish a project or improve their businesses. Microfinance institutions allow individuals and communities to lift themselves out of poverty by giving them the tools to be economically successful.

3. The Global Alliance For Improved Nutrition (GAIN) — GAIN is an organization that works to eliminate iodine deficiency, which can lead to impaired cognitive development and is common in developing countries. GAIN’s Universal Salt Iodization program uses the funds they raise to provide technical assistance, supply needed equipment and train government officials. In addition, salt producers monitor the results of changes made in developing countries. GAIN targets the root of iodine deficiency and funnels its efforts toward rectifying it instead of simply managing the consequences.

4. VillageReach — VillageReach is a nonprofit that develops, tests and implements new systems, technologies and programs that improve health in rural or poor communities. In the past few decades, there have been great advancements in the medical field, but because of a lack of access to clinics, medicines and trained professionals, many people in the developing world are isolated from these advancements and do not reap the benefits of improved health and healthcare.

This is where Village Reach comes in; instead of focusing money on more vaccines or more doctors, they focus on removing barriers that stand in the way of communities receiving the healthcare they need. VillageReach partners with institutional stakeholders, such as governments and global health partners, to implement the change needed to extend the reach of adequate healthcare.

5. The Borgen Project — Donations made to The Borgen Project have the intention of alleviating global poverty. While your donation will not directly purchase a meal for a hungry child, it has the power to feed, clothe and provide power for an entire community or country. Funds that are raised by The Borgen Project go toward program services, and fund development and operation expenses. This means that donations are used to fuel the machine that pushes political leaders to allocate funds in a way that benefits those living in poverty in developing countries. So your five dollars could influence the U.S. government to pass legislation that provides millions of people with clean drinking water.

Brittney Dimond

Sources: Give Well, KIVA, Village Reach
Photo: Flickr

Five Tips for Successful Fundraising
When I began my internship at The Borgen Project, I was admittedly intimidated, especially with regards to the required fundraising goal. Although I had had experience with fundraising during high school, I had never single-handedly maintained a fundraiser. I was nervous but also determined to prove my worth to the members of The Borgen Project.

Currently, on week nine of my internship, I am proud to say that I have raised $1,207.06. To do this, I wrote letters to family and friends, I spoke and visited with local restaurants and I opened a booth twice at my community’s weekly market.

My success has made me feel like a fundraising fairy. I am one of 180 Borgen Project interns across the United States. Of these 180 interns, there are only three who have raised over $1000. I am satisfied to say that I am one of them.

After speaking for our monthly conference, I learned that fundraising is a rickety and shaky boat during a storm for many interns. Interns attempt to sail forward with their goal but are often anchored to the spot, deterred by unknown conditions and direction.

To these interns: I promise that you can succeed. Below is a list of helpful fundraising tips that have made a difference for me. Hopefully, they will benefit you during your fundraising endeavors.

1. Be courageous.
Do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Although writing letters to family and friends can be simple and successful, it should not be the only method of fundraising. Try writing letters to places you visit often in your community or to companies who have a history of donating to charities and nonprofits.

2. Be persuasive and understand emotions.
When writing your letters, consider how your audience will react and understand. For example, consider: “The population of people in poverty is large.” Now consider: “The number of people suffering from hunger is larger than the population of the United States, Europe and Canada combined.” The latter offers more depth and perspective; the statement is more tangible because it offers size, location and familiarity to your readers. When I wrote letters to restaurants, I focused on hungry families and food waste, two aspects that are sure to connect with restaurant owners and cooks. Remember to be specific with what you write and remember to make it relatable to your readers. Ultimately, you need to prove to them why they should care about global poverty.

3. Be sensible.
Do not forget to draw on the connections you have with others, especially because they may have connections and advice that can further your fundraising success. For example, I asked a friend about our community farmers’ market and she provided me with the information I needed to obtain a booth. Had I not sought her advice, I would have neglected a great fundraising opportunity! It is also helpful to have friends who are willing to participate in any events that you organize.

4. Be tenacious.
I know that fundraising can seem like soliciting, but if you approach each situation carefully, you will appear to be dedicated rather than annoying. Personally, I follow a three-time rule. This means I will make a phone call to my donor, a personal visit to my donor (if this is possible) and a follow-up or thank-you phone call to my donor. It is important to wait a few days between each of these. In my experience, this three-time rule proved that I am committed to my cause and encouraged donations.

5. Be respectful and grateful.
When it comes to fundraising, it is important to remember that potential donors have other expenses and daily tasks. If you plan to visit a business or organization, be aware that they have other duties to perform. In this situation, leave your contact information and check back in a few days. Even if someone is unable to donate, be sure to say thank you. This highlights both your character and that of The Borgen Project. Remember to show your appreciation with thank-you letters or phone calls.

My fundraising quest has been a valuable learning experience. I was able to educate both others and myself about important world issues; I spread awareness about The Borgen Project and made powerful allies for the fight against global poverty. Knowing that my intensive efforts will benefit those in need and contribute to changing the face of poverty is rewarding.

I hope that my five simple tips will assist others with fundraising. Fellow interns: our fundraising experience does not need to feel like a sinking ship. If you are positive, determined and creative, you can breeze past $500 and sail on into the distance.

– Kelsey Parrotte

Photo: The Fund Raiser

Anti-Poverty _Organizations
Some say college is the best four years of your life; these anti-poverty organizations are helping to make them some of the most meaningful as well. While some groups only offer internships at their headquarters, here are some anti-poverty organizations with either on-campus opportunities, remote or summer training or volunteer opportunities. These opportunities offer advocacy and leadership experience for college students hoping to raise awareness of global poverty on their own campus.

1. ONE

According to its website, “ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organization of nearly 7 million taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.” There are campus clubs for ONE on campuses across the country. Online, ONE offers resources, ideas and challenges for their student-run campus clubs. For more information, visit its website.

2. Oxfam

Oxfam’s mission is “to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice.” For college students, Oxfam offers the opportunity to create and sustain an Oxfam club on campus, as well as a training program one must be selected to attend. Oxfam currently has clubs on more than 100 college campuses. To start a club on campus, you can download a “toolkit” from the website and register your university’s club with the organization. Oxfam’s leadership training program, CHANGE, trains 50 students each summer on nonprofit organizations, advocacy and more.


RESULTS is a grassroots advocacy group. It is written on its website that “with every hour of their time, volunteers multiply their impact through the enormous power of advocacy—whether it’s helping change policty to support millions of families putting food on the table or helping raise billions of dollars for the world’s most vulnerable children.” RESULTS offers a variety of ways for individuals across the country to get involved. You can listen in on a call where the staff discusses the work of the organization, tips for your own advocacy and how to get involved. Online you can learn about the different RESULTS groups in your area and connect with other people interested in ending poverty. These groups allow people to make an impact in their area by joining together, reaching out to state legislators and planning advocacy events. For more information about how you can get involved visit its website.

4. The Hunger Project

The mission of The Hunger Project is “to end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption throughout the world.” Individuals interested can volunteer bi-annually in The Hunger Project’s global office in New York. Online, volunteer opportunities are posted as available, and those interested in being volunteer activists must follow the steps listed in the “get involved tab” under the “volunteer” section of The Hunger Project’s website.

5. The Borgen Project

The Borgen Project aims to raise awareness of global poverty and the issues that it creates. Through advocacy and campaigning, The Borgen Project forces the nation’s leaders to take notice of this global issue and encourages action to address it in U.S. foreign policy. The Borgen Project not only has volunteer and internship positions in Seattle and remotely, but also provides advocacy tips on its website.

Rachelle Kredentser

Sources: ONE, ,Oxfam, RESULTS, The Hunger Project, The Borgen Project

End Global Poverty
Have you ever dreamed about being a super hero? Did you once believe that you would grow up to end global poverty?

Well, today is your lucky day.

You may not have the time or money to fly to Africa, but you can still contribute to the fight against global poverty!

There are things that you can do without leaving your couch!

1)   Advocate: Post a link to an article about global poverty on Facebook or Twitter, or even bring global poverty up in a conversation. While this may not seem like a big deal, you will be reaching every single one of your friends or followers with the post. You may even inspire them to do something too! 

2)   Call or Email Congress: By contacting Congress you can support bills that will aid thousands and maybe even millions of people living in poverty abroad. Your call will be taken down on a sheet and the tallies will help your representatives decide to vote on a bill.

While this may sound like a daunting task, the Borgen Project makes it easy. Simply type in your zipcode into the Borgen Project website’s application and it will bring up your Congress people’s names, numbers, and emails. If you are intimidated by the thought of talking to someone, simply call after hours and leave a message.

3)   Volunteer: The Borgen Project has many volunteer opportunities. You can volunteer with the Borgen Project, while spending most of your volunteer hours on your couch! Much of your volunteer time will be spent calling congress, writing, or fundraising. It is easy, but effective and worth while.

4)   Fundraise: Create an online fundraiser for The Borgen Project or other global poverty organizations and post it on Facebook. Then text your friends about it.

5)   Donate: From the warm cushions of your couch, look at your budget. Can you spare one dollar a week? Maybe even three dollars? If so, then pick from The Borgen Project or other wonderful organizations and send in your donation. If you chose the one dollar option, then in 20 years you will have contributed over $1,000 towards ending global poverty!

If you have taken the first step and posted a link about ending global poverty (you can start with this one) then congratulations! Pat yourself on the back and sink back into your couch with the happy knowledge that you are now on the way to being a powerful advocate for those in poverty all across the world.

– Clare Holtzman

Sources: The Borgen Project 1, The Borgen Project 2, The Borgen Project 3, The Borgen Project 4, The Borgen Project 5, Crowdrise, The End of Poverty, wikiHow
Photo: Spark Productivity


5 NGOs Going Above and Beyond
There are many NGOs doing good for the world’s poor, but here are five that go above and beyond the rest.

1. The Garden of Hope Foundation

The Garden of Hope foundation was founded in Taiwan and acts to aid girls who were victims of the sex trade. This NGO provides psychiatric counseling and safe half-way houses for many girls while they recover from their abuse. The Garden of Hope foundation also works closely with the government to promote policymaking and discussions about the sex trade. Their main focus is to empower girls and women to stand up for themselves and realize that they, too, can have an impact on this world.

2. Save The Children

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world what every child deserves: A healthy start, the opportunity to learn and care when disaster strikes. Save the Children acts on all fronts of poverty, ranging from education needs throughout the world to health and humanitarian issues, such as helping children with HIV and AIDS. Save the Children can be found worldwide after any major disaster attempting to rebuild communities and make them stronger. This NGO is wholeheartedly dedicated to improving the lives of the next generation and is a huge part of the bright future that we have to look forward to.


According to their website, provides innovative, market-based solutions that change lives every day through safe water and sanitation. This NGO is supporting countless projects that will hopefully provide sanitary water to everyone around the world. There is a basic human need for clean water, but this instead seems like a luxury for every 1 in 9 individuals worldwide. has become so well organized that for every $1 donated there is a $4 economic return; this comes from the countless lives that are bettered when clean drinking water is available. has been very successful in involving high-profile celebrities with its cause and has gained international recognition as one of the strongest players in sanitation.

4. Acumen Fund

Acumen raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty. This group seems to be searching out the best of the best and providing them with the funding they need to change the world for good. Acumen states that their main goal is “dignity” rather than the usual goal of profitability. They want to help people believe that dreams do come true and to provide them with an arena in which to do this. By funding leaders and innovators in developing communities, the Acumen Fund is able to build rural communities from the bottom up, allowing them to compete in the global market and, in turn, become more developed. This is one great idea that has clearly allowed people all over the world to realize that dreams really do come true.

5. The Borgen Project

The Borgen Project was founded by one man with one computer and one very big dream. Founder Clint Borgen and his team are seeking to make a mark on global poverty by going right to the source: the lawmakers. The Borgen Project seeks to educate individuals on worldwide poverty and what is being done to make an impact. They also communicate one-on-one with lawmakers to gain support for bills that will better the global community. The Borgen team has met with almost every member of Congress and the House and is continuing to inform lawmakers and the public about changes that could be made to make this world a better place to live in.

– Sumita Tellakat

Sources: The Global Journal, The Garden of Hope Foundation, Save the Children,, Acumen
Photo: Western University

Advocacy takes on a broad range of meanings and connotations in our society. Advocacy and advocacy groups are terms that generally conjure up images of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement or the numerous groups today, which advocate for a whirlwind of causes like environmental protection, expanded access to healthcare or even poverty reduction. The Oxford English Dictionary defines an advocacy group as “a group of people who work together to achieve something, especially by putting pressure on the government…usually on behalf of people who are unable to speak for themselves.”

What the Oxford definition illuminates is the difference between an advocacy group and, say, a non-governmental organization (NGO). While advocacy groups and NGOs share several similarities and may even have the same objective, advocacy groups have a special emphasis on altering public policy, while an NGO or grassroots organization might try to work around or outside of the public sphere. Sometimes, organizations pursue advocacy as well as field work.

Advocacy groups have a variety of ways to affect public policy as well as public opinion. These ways include disseminating relevant information about the issue which they raise, engaging local communities to become involved in an issue and, perhaps most importantly, directly lobbying government leaders to create policies that will help address the issue.

In the case of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, many demonstrations, local campaigns, publications and direct lobbying of U.S. leaders led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Outreach and education of the general public was, and is, highly important to any successful advocacy venture because the primary way that public policy is shaped is through the demands of the constituency and the pressure they put on their representatives to support or create legislation that reflects their interests.

One example of a well-known advocacy group is Oxfam International. Founded in 1995, their name derives from an early predecessor to their organization, the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, a group which advocated for the delivery of emergency aid to people caught in the midst of World War II. Today, Oxfam supports a wide variety of poverty reduction and economic development ventures, pursuing issues which constitute a fulfillment of basic human rights.

Oxfam International is a combination advocacy group and grassroots non-governmental organization, working both on the policy level and directly coordinating and delivering services to people internationally. The organization has 17 chapters in different countries, as well as advocacy offices in high-impact government centers such as Brussels and Washington, D.C.

The Sierra Club is another famous, long-standing advocacy group, which was founded in the U.S. by conservationist John Muir in 1892. Originally, the group was formed to lobby for the conservation of vast tracts of U.S. land, which resulted in the establishment of Yosemite National Park and other wilderness areas.

The Sierra Club, because its mission is environmental conservation, is naturally more predisposed to pure advocacy; that is, lobbying U.S. leaders and organizing demonstrations. They have influenced the passage of several pieces of legislation including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.

The Borgen Project also operates as a classic advocacy group. This is because the greatest potential for poverty reduction comes through U.S. policies and institutions, rather than private or public donations funding fieldwork outside the policy sphere. The Borgen Project’s aim is to help people become aware of the need to fight poverty internationally, help them become civically engaged and, therefore, directly influence government leaders to adopt policies that strengthen poverty reduction efforts.

– Derek Marion

Sources: Oxfam, Sierra Club Oxford English Dictionary
Photo: Oxfam

Funds are critical in advancing the fight for poverty, and for nonprofits addressing these issues sponsorship in the form of charitable donations allows them to engage in various development, humanitarian and policy-related initiatives. Sponsorship of an organization can take place at any level, from individual to corporate, depending on who is donating and how much they are willing to give. While any amount no matter the size may be considered a sponsorship, nonprofits sometimes add in benefits for supporters who give larger donations.

The Borgen Project defines four specific categories in which donors may fall should an individual give large contributions: bronze partner, silver partner, gold partner and benefactor. Starting at $2,000, each offers benefits ranging from acknowledgments with the donor company’s link and logo on the to an opportunity to join The Borgen Project’s National Council and be the subject of a news feature in BORGEN. Donations go toward the operation of this nonprofit and its efforts to bring about poverty and hunger alleviation through advocacy centered in Washington.

The U.N.’s World Food Programme is another example of an organization for which donations are critical, as it is completely funded by donors. Aid organizations will typically have a webpage for donors where they may select an amount and pay immediately through the site, making contributions quick and easy.

At a time when the WFP is seeing a record number of hunger crises, it is in great need of people willing to make contributions to better the nutrition of malnourished and starving people around the globe. Ninety percent of every donation made goes toward anti-hunger operations.

Organizations usually have a couple of options for the frequency of the donation. Those interested may make a one-time donation or, if they have the capability and willingness to continue their donation throughout the year, a monthly option is available.

It is especially important to note that sponsorship of any amount is meaningful and necessary for the operation of a nonprofit. Individuals, rather than corporations, foundations and other nonprofits, accounted for most of The Borgen Project’s revenue in 2014. Whether it’s $25,000 or $25, every amount counts and is valuable to the initiatives being carried out by an organization.

– Amy Russo

Sources: The Borgen Project, WFP 1, WFP 2
Photo: Don’t Shoot the Costumer

political internships
Internships are an important way to determine what fields interest a student or recent graduate, and they are helpful for finding employment after graduation. Finding an internship can be overwhelming, especially when a student or recent graduate needs to decide his or her interests and match it to an internship. For political interests, this could mean searching for an internship that matches political inclinations or goals. The following are a few resources to use to learn where to find political internships.

Use School Resources

Colleges and universities are motivated to ensure job success for their students. Many universities offer career services or a search tool on their website to narrow the job search to particular fields, such as politics. More importantly, faculty at universities may have connections for internships that suit a students needs and interdisciplinary interests.

Some universities offer class credit for internship programs. Completing a number of hours or assignments for an internship can allow a student to earn credit for their unpaid work. For instance, Georgetown University offers a Semester in Washington D.C. program. A student can attend academic classes, complete a research project and an internship during the week. Potentially, a student can earn 15 credits for the semester.

Contact Local or State Representatives

Several internship opportunities are in the offices of House representatives or senators of a student’s state on both the state and national level. In most cases, a representative will have opportunities listed on their website and an email to contact or send an application. Otherwise, on the national level, interns will work in the personal office of a House or Senate member. The intern will have the opportunity to attend committee meetings and make valuable connections with policymakers in Washington, D.C. or within the state.

Check with Nonprofits

In many cases, a nonprofit will have a particular goal in which is has to participate in political action in order to achieve. Although not directly affiliated with the creation of legislation, a nonprofit can be a great way to get involved with politics from a different perspective.

The Borgen Project offers internships from Seattle and telecommuting internships that involve political action. The Political Recruiter internship in Seattle helps to expand The Borgen Project nationally by targeting several congressional districts. As a telecommuting internship, the political affairs internship requires interns to meet with congressional representatives, attend politically related events and advocate for The Borgen Project.

Ask Friends or Family

Using personal connections can be the most important way to find an internship. Friends, family, professors or co-workers can have connections in fields of interests in a particular geographic region. It can be extremely helpful to have a mutual connection introduce a student to a representative from the internship of choice. A personal connection may also be able to provide insight into the environment and expectations of the internship site.

Knowing where to find political internships can be challenging and intimidating. However, many people looking for political internships will have the resources to find the internships right in front of them. Utilizing these resources, interns will gain valuable experience they need for future professional success.

– Tara Wilson

Sources: Georgetown University, About Travel, Borgen Project, Forbes