Leader spotlight: Grant Williams

Grant Williams
Program developer and veteran leader for Global Routes

Grant has just returned to the US from leading a program in East Africa. An international educator, ethnographer, and photographer, Grant has set foot on six continents, where he has worked with vulnerable youth, gap year students, eco-volunteers, and people from all walks of life. I had the opportunity to connect with Grant and found him to be very down-to-earth with fascinating stories to share.

Grant cookingGrant cooking a meal with friends in Nepal (2nd from the left)

Grant’s work in international education grew out of a deep-rooted love for the outdoors. He writes, “My sense of place has expanded over the years from my family’s yard to now still only a fraction of the earth…this sense of place ideology kept growing as I matured and my wanderlust grew.” The breadth of his photography includes desert festivals in India, urban residents in Guatemala, the grand sierras of Patagonia, and rescued animals in Bolivia. More recently, he has been featured as a contributing photographer for the new Global Routes catalog and website for his images from the Nepal program.

Since graduating from Prescott College in 2006, Grant has worked extensively with youth in experiential education and student travel. He has worked as a counselor and supervisor for the State of Missouri Division of Youth Services and for students struggling with body image issues in both Scotland and Hawaii. As a leader for organizations such as Carpe Diem Education and Global Routes, Grant has facilitated transformative educational experiences for youth on every continent except Antarctica. An outdoorsman at heart and a lover of nature, Grant has pursued ecological projects in Latin America and scaled peaks all over the globe.

Closeness to nature is just one of the ways Grant makes his destination choices. A sense of place and a sense of community have also informed his trajectory. These priorities recently led Grant to the silent community of a ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat in New Zealand. The retreat was just one of the stops in Grant’s lifelong spiritual journey; his curiosity for culture has led him throughout Southern and Southeast Asia, where he has been a student of yoga, Buddhism, and other spiritual practices. Sometimes, though, it has been pure serendipity and love or what Grant has called “the logical progression of flow”, that has directed his path.

 In all of his international pursuits, Grant prioritizes a high standard of ethical integrity for cultural and environmental sustainability. A master educator of “Leave No Trace”, Grant practices, teaches, and preaches the foundational principles of personal environmental sustainability while transferring those standards to his cross-cultural interactions worldwide. He writes, “I believe that the best images are captured through rapport and trust rather than a telephoto lens.” Grant is a true master of imaging, interaction, and interculturality. It is a pleasure to have Grant on the Global Routes team.

Written by Alison Sever, Tanzania ’08

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