Happy New Year! The beginning of a new year and a new decade gives us the chance to reflect of the biggest constant in our lives for the last ten years: change!
This decade began with some significant hurdles to overcome: The Great Recession of 2009 hit the educational travel business very hard, causing the company to shrink in size for several years. However, President Obama’s 2011 re-opening of legal travel to Cuba lifted all boats with pent-up demand, and over the course of the decade, ATA sent over 7,000 travelers to Cuba on both professional delegations, people-to-people programs, and study abroad courses. Along the way, we moved our office, built (and re-built!) websites, entered new markets, such as high school/pre-college, exited other markets, created new positions, pioneered programs in new destinations such as Jordan, Brazil and Colombia, and lived out our vision—to increase global understanding through travel and education!
ATA in the World
In 2019, we created many unique, enriching experiences for intellectually curious adults and students—for thousands of travelers, all over the world. Some of our proudest moments of collaboration included:
- Sending several hundred travelers, many the sons and daughters of WWII veterans, to take part in the official ceremonies commemorating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. (Yale Educational Travel, New York Times Journeys, L.A. Times Expeditions, UVA Cavalier Travels, MIT Alumni Travel, among others)
- Helping students of diverse academic backgrounds to engage with their local community in Florence – from serving as historic tour guides of cathedrals to observing surgery techniques! (Vanderbilt University)
- Leading a group of US high school students to Havana for a 4-week exploration of Cuba’s public health system. (CET Academic Programs)
- Exploring Jewish culinary history in Italy. (New York Times Journeys)
- Facilitating a series of public discussions in Cali, Colombia called “Proudly Afro-Colombian” with prominent artists, scientists, professors, and activists. (Howard University)
- Returning to Egypt for the first time since the Arab Spring. (L.A. Times Expeditions)
- Attending the Venice Biennale. (Ogden Museum of Southern Art)
- Admiring Prague’s unique architectural landscape. (AIA’s Architectural Adventures)
- Planning gala events in London. (San Francisco Ballet)
We welcomed the following new partners to the ATA family in 2019: The Fund for American Studies, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and Morgan State University. We also forged a new relationship with Dickinson College as our School of Record for our High School Pre-College programs.
Back in DC: Our Priorities at Headquarters
- The Compass! We launched a new 3-year vision of the company last year that introduced a shift in mindset to more fully embrace and acknowledge all that ATA does across the many markets and audiences we serve.
Our Incredible Team
Sixteen new team members joined us this year! We had fun on scavenger hunts, at parties, celebrating, milestones and in the field!
Many staff and colleagues increased access to study abroad by supporting the important work of the Fund for Education Abroad. We also lobbied our Congressional representatives on Capitol Hill and helped with ongoing post-hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. And, in lieu of holiday gifts to our partners, we continue to significantly support the International Rescue Committee, whose mission, of helping people whose lives have been shattered by conflict and disaster relocate and rebuild, resonates with us.
Our Thanks and Gratitude
We are so grateful for the travelers who count on us to enrich their lives by creating theme-based educational trips, for the colleges and universities who entrust us to shape their students into global citizens, and to the professional associations who ask us to help advance research across borders.
Our best wishes for a wonderful year ahead!