Joe Carvin, founder and executive director of One World
Let the Whole World Spin Perfectly
BY JANICE LLANES FABRY
Living on five continents and knowing five languages opened the world for Joe Carvin, who was born and raised in Port Chester. And he made the conscious decision to try and expand the world profoundly for today’s youth. His One World organization is developing a new generation of globally aware leaders of character, who are knowledgeable about the world around them and capable of changing it for the better.
As a young man, his passion, unsurprisingly, was travel. “I always wanted the opportunity to see the world and I had the good fortune to do it,” said Carvin, for whom scholarships, study-abroad opportunities, and exchange programs played a key role. “I was able to apply the cross-cultural communication skills I developed to business.”
After living and working in Senegal for four years, he returned to the United States where he launched a career in international finance and earned an MBA while working for Manufacturers Hanover Trust. After receiving a Master’s in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, he resumed his career in emerging markets working for Deutsche Bank in London before returning to the states where he worked a hedge fund, Altima Partners.
At the same time, he successfully ran for the part-time position of Town of Rye Supervisor where he served for eight years, winning elections in 2007 and 2011. When asked about his proudest accomplishments here in Rye, he replied, “We were able to reduce taxes by over 70 percent, expenditures by 25 percent, and to provide a far better level of service.”
The idea of One World came to him much earlier in the 1990s, while at the Kennedy School. He recalled sitting alongside international students during a class and acknowledging the stark reality that if it were 60 years earlier, he would be at war with these individuals. At that moment he had an epiphany: Establishing an organization dedicated to achieving peace and understanding among all human beings.
“I decided I wanted to create an organization where we could all see ourselves as one in this world,” he explained. “The foundation principles for One World United and Virtuous are that all human beings share a link and humanity needs new forms of global cooperation. In order to understand this increasingly complex world, we also need to generate respectful and fallible conversation.”
While finetuning his not-for-profit, apolitical organization’s mission, he was joined by Jack Zaccara, a Science teacher in Port Chester who decided to dedicate his life to cross-cultural communication and diversity training after 9-11. Carvin called Zaccara “the consummate educator and great facilitator, who makes sure every voice at the table is heard.”
In those early years, 2006-2009, the organization focused on adult programs. But that changed when Jeanine Zaccara, Jack’s wife and an elementary school teacher in the Port Chester School District, had an inspiring suggestion. She recommended they bring these concepts of character education with a global perspective to children in her district.
The introduction was a resounding success. As Carvin pointed out, “School districts with a multi-cultural demographic, have a distinct advantage in building global competence.”
As a result, the organization developed afterschool enrichment programs designed to integrate a strong set of core values promoting community and citizenship. As Carvin delineated, “Our goal is to educate our youth about the world around them, creating global awareness; connect students of good character by giving them a moral compass; and empower them to affect positive change in their local, national, and global communities through service learning.”
There are currently over 200 One World clubs serving over 10,000 students throughout the United States, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia with students ranging in age from 6 to 20. Service projects, from food drives to delivering school supplies to Ethiopian children, are a critical part of the program.
One World Future Ready, as the organization will come to be called, is currently transcending afterschool clubs and integrating its global competence education into school-wide curriculum. With the help of a Harvard think tank led by Dr. Fernando Reimers, along with educators from Port Chester and around the world, this new model dramatically expands the program’s impact. In addition, One World is preparing youth to harness the power of technology’s exponential advancements.
“Technology is bringing us closer together, yet no one is telling us how to get along,” noted Carvin. “We have to prepare our children for a hyper-connected world of rapid, unprecedented technological change and for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century.”