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Five-person Team Conducting Two-Year Educational World Trek with Participating Classrooms Around the Globe Delivers First of Ten Live Webcasts - Students Ask the Questions and Get Answers Live!

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - February 23, 1999 - The Odyssey, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising global awareness and affecting change internationally through Internet-based education, announced today the successful completion of the first of ten live webcasts to be conducted around the world with prominent figures. This first webcast allowed hundreds of youth to interact with 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Rigoberta Menchu, using live video, audio, and chat. And the event lives on for the thousands of people who visit The Odyssey website every day where the video and audio are available on-demand.

The webcast was the keynote event in the first stop of The Odyssey's Trek to visit ten major non-western cultural centers as part of a two-year educational program for students. A team of 5 trekkers began their World Trek January 15 in San Francisco, California. From there they traveled to Guatemala, their first stop. Their journey will not end until they have circumnavigated the globe and returned to San Francisco - without the use of planes.

In each of the ten sites, the Odyssey Team meets with people and explores sites and events that shed light on the history and culture of the local people, with an emphasis on how people are striving to create positive change in the world. In the first month of the World Trek, besides meeting Ms. Menchú, students have already met a Mayan shaman, protested the use of child soldiers throughout the world, visited numerous Mayan ruins, supported a Guatemalan human rights group composed of widows and orphans, and attended an art lesson in the rainforest using machetes!

Ms. Menchú commented that "[I was] a little bit nervous as this is the first time I've had the opportunity to talk on the Internet... I think that this program makes The Odyssey a global service to education, very innovative, very important, and it puts the Internet and technology to the service of education. I think this is one of the demands that we have made for many years, that technology be at the service of youth in a positive sense; that it be at the service of learning and at the service of a multicultural/multidisciplinary relationship in the area of education."

Students asked Ms. Menchú numerous questions during the forty-minute session, including how they can help her struggle from their homes so far away, how she can continue her struggle without losing faith, and how it has affected her to be so famous. A fourth-grade teacher using the chat commented that her students were all clamoring for her to read Ms. Menchu's book to them in class now.

Monica Flores, one of the five Odyssey Team Members, said, "It's amazing how much of the excitement and character of the event we were able to share on the web. I find myself everyday inspired more by the people I meet and work with and only wish I'd had a program like this to raise my own awareness when I was a student."

The webcast, a joint effort with Webcast Solutions, a leading provider of global webcast services, will also result in many supplementary video and audio clips, and virtual-reality panoramic photos, from all over Guatemala, being made available on the site over the next two weeks.

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

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 600 teachers are using The Odyssey with their students, and people from over 60 countries have used the website. The ten sites The Odyssey will visit are Guatemala, Peru, Zimbabwe, Mail, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Iran, India, and China.

The Odyssey is able to deliver such high-quality free educational events thanks to backing from such major sponsors as Viant Corporation, Eastman Kodak Company, and Best Internet Communications.

About Webcast Solutions (WSI) (
Webcast Solutions is an internationally focused streaming media company that leverages the power of communications through webcasting - utilizing audio, video and other interactive multimedia. The Webcast Solutions team has been providing live and on demand webcasting for corporate and entertainment clients since its first webcast in July of 1995, and has produced events with figures such as Nelson Mandela, President Jimmy Carter and Elie Wiesel.

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