The story so far

May 2018 

As the 360Plus Leadership Collective aims to begin another journey to India in just under two months in July 2019, we have begun to release video profiles of last year’s group of students and scholars who travelled to Ladakh from their respective cities, towns and villages in both The United States and India. The stories of these young world travelers are remarkable and the impact that the 360Plus Leadership Collective has made on each student accepted into the program has been extraordinary. Having the ability to explore new cultures, landscapes, languages and better understanding the impacts of climate change on the fragile Himalayas of the Ladakh region of India has provided a critical perspective for each student to bring back to their own communities in the United States and India. As we roll out these video profiles in the upcoming weeks, you will be able to better understand the journey of these students and the impact that this experiential way of traveling and learning has had on them. Whether you are thinking of applying for the program, interested in cultural exchange or just curious about the program, please explore the stories of these students and the ways in which this experience impacted them in unique and inspiring ways.


Ben Lenzner

July 4th, 2017

Oakland, California

It is the eve of the start of the 360+ Leadership Collective 2017 and today is Independence Day here in the United States as I ponder the journey that the group will commence tomorrow. This past month, as a filmmaker, I’ve had the special opportunity to visit many communities, students, families and nations for the first time. And, I have been joined by Shraddha in New York and Christina in Chicago. This start of this project has spanned from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and soon will arrive on the banks of both the Yamuna and the Indus. Rivers, and the fresh water they contain, are life. They often start in high mountains – springs and glaciers and rainfall – all moving with a common goal, to hopefully reach the sea and for the human and animal communities in between, this fresh water is critical for survival.

 

Over the past month, I’ve found myself on the banks of the Mississippi River and beside the Hudson. I’ve been high in the Appalachian Mountains and on the dry, parched hills of Northern California. With the help of the families and students I’ve spent time with, we’ve visually explored outside the White House in D.C. discussed migration due to natural disasters, hiked forest trails, explored rolling hills and conversed about invasive species on the outskirts of a large metropolis.

 

It is evident to me –  as an observer and storyteller, an educator and adventurer – that the natural world and our relationship with it is important to all the communities I’ve encountered and that as a species, we are only touching the surface in our relationship to the natural world. This year’s Leadership Collective trip to India focuses, critically, on climate change within an Indian and Global context. Undoubtedly, this year’s 20 young American students from diverse backgrounds and the 5 young Indian students from equally diverse backgrounds are on the cusp of an experience that will challenge us all – as students, educators and filmmakers – to understand and visualize the impact that humanity is making on our planet, Mother Earth.

 

It is important to note that the film team in India, Epti and Meghana, have had an equally diverse experience documenting the Indian students from both rural and urban India. And soon, these groups of students will meet one another to venture into an experience of learning about one another and converse about climate change, discussions will arise and conversations will be sparked on riverbeds, in mosques, in conference halls and while breaking flatbread.

 

Over the month of July, please check in here, for updates on the film project. Soon, we’ll be sharing stills (and perhaps little snippets) of the places we’ve been and conversations we’ve encountered… And later in the year, a film about the journey these young, inquisitive high schoolers from all walks of life have taken in the hopes of better understanding our world.

 

Ben Lenzner