Seeking “Reality Travel” Tour Companies

I’ve been hard at work updating my “Travel as a Political Act” book, and I’d love some help. Can you recommend any travel organizations that focus on helping thoughtful Americans get a political education on the road?

Ever since I traveled on three trips to Central America with the Center for Global Education (CFGE) at Augsburg College back in the 20th century, I’ve recommended their program for what I call “reality travel.” They were expert at taking groups to troubled regions with top-notch teachers, and connecting their travelers with the various players in confusing and complicated situations. On my CFGE tours, we’d visit with the United Nations peacekeeping mission, the local military’s PR office, professors in local colleges, farm workers’ unions, and church groups. One day we’d meet with Socialists in the morning and the US Ambassador in the afternoon. The next day we’d meet with the pro-business, right-wing political party (supported by the USA) in the morning and “The Mothers of the Disappeared” (women whose sons were killed by right-wing death squads) in the afternoon. These experiences contributed mightily to my political awareness.

Center for Global Education

For years, I’ve recommended the CFGE for travelers inspired to visit places like Iran, Palestine, Cuba, and Central America. But now they are providing travel education only to their students, and I need other “educational tour” companies to recommend.

Today more than ever, the world’s challenges deserve a firsthand look. And I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the education provided by “reality travel.” If you can recommend an organization that provides in-depth educational tour experiences like the ones I’m describing, I’d love to hear about it. Thank you!

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