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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - December 2, 1999 - San Francisco, Ca - The Odyssey, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting global awareness and activism amongst youth, announced today the successful completion of the first year of its two year world travel and education mission.

Targeting non-western lands, the Trek Team of five young educators, handpicked from over 2000 applicants, explore historical sites and connect with local youth leaders, non-governmental organizations and prominent figures. Their experiences are shared by students and teachers plugged into the Internet, creating a virtual field trip around the world into diverse cultures.

Covering 25,000 miles and 21 countries, the Trek Team is at the halfway mark of their travels. Since their departure in January of 1999, they have experienced the diverse cultures and landscapes of Central and South America, Europe and Africa. The Team has visited ruins and rainforests, lived with indigenous peoples, met with street children and mothers who are activists, interviewed Nobel Peace Prize winners, authors and youth leaders. Globe-trotting by bus, train, plane, canoe, banana boat, cargo boat, horse, camels, and elephants, they have overcome setbacks and the challenges of travel - from theft to marriage proposals, from malaria to detention. Everyday, thousands of schoolchildren can follow along - living the adventure and learning the lessons in virtually real time. For the second year, The Odyssey plans to send its Team of Trekkers on through the Middle East, India and China.

The convenience of cybercafes to computer labs worldwide allow the Trek Team to email their photos, text, audio and video back to The Odyssey's headquarters in San Francisco. There, web editors and developers update the website twice a week allowing students to keep up to date with the Trek Team's journey. Over 800 dispatches have been posted on the website, comprising such diverse issues as: the environment, human rights, the arts, history and current events.

The Trek Team follows an itinerary designed to coincide with national educational standards, enabling teachers to integrate the dispatches with their curriculum. Free lessons plans and activities for highlighted countries are also available on the website. Over 1,300 classrooms in 70 countries have registered with the program and over 1,100 users visit the website every day.

As a 100% volunteer run non-profit, The Odyssey depends on volunteers, corporate sponsors and donors for its existence. It is this tenuous grip on the future that makes the program's goals and accomplishments all the more remarkable. Despite the challenges, the program has received rave reviews from students and teachers and accolades from a variety of educational organizations, including USA Today, Microsoft Encarta, the New York Times Learning Network and Education World.

About The Odyssey: World Trek for Service and Education (

The Odyssey is an Internet-based non-profit corporation dedicated to raising global awareness and involving students in activities to create positive change in the world. More than 1000 teachers are using The Odyssey with their students, and people from over 60 countries have used the website. The World Trek Team has completed the travel stage through Latin America including Mexico and via the website, has documented their interviews with 3 Nobel Prize Laureates. Currently the World Trek Team is traveling in Zimbabwe, then will continue to Mali, Egypt and beyond.

For more information visit The Odyssey Website at or contact Jeff Golden, Executive Director, The Odyssey, at (4l5) 659-3178 or .

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©1998 The Odyssey: World Trek for Service and Education. All rights reserved.