The Lauder Intercultural Ventures (LIVs) constitute the third module of the required core course “INTS 741 – Leadership & Intercultural Learning”. INTS 741 consists of a series of tightly-integrated classroom-based and experiential learning activities. As part of the course, students are required to participate in two Lauder Intercultural Ventures for a period of one week each.

LIVs provide an opportunity to road test earlier lessons on intercultural leadership in the context of a week-long off-site immersion and related pre-departure academic work. Each LIV, led by a faculty member, focuses on a theme relevant to the site’s historical, social, political, economic, and/or cultural context. LIVs are scheduled during Winter and Spring break, and each student will enroll in two LIV’s throughout their two years at Lauder. A LIV combines academic and experiential learning activities, and thus has contextual knowledge objectives (such as learning about environmental issues, consumption habits, religious studies, etc.) as well as field-based exercises and leadership development opportunities.

In short, the emphasis of the LIV program is to help students develop their understanding of an unfamiliar cultural context from the point of view of the globally-minded leader who can operate across cultural boundaries. Students should expect to complete required assignments and attend all scheduled activities.

Current Lauder LIVs include:

  • Cuba: A Society and an Economy in Transition – Learn about the causes and consequences of the Cuban Revolution and the implications of this historic event in contemporary Cuban society, and experience the consequences of economic reforms in everyday life.
  • Denmark and Estonia: Entrepreneurship in Action – Experience entrepreneurship in action, through this live comparison of two of the most vibrant countries for entrepreneurship in the European Union. You will contrast Denmark’s advanced industrial peninsula & vast archipelago of 443 islands with the striking biodiversity of Estonia on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, as well as the political support for entrepreneurship and nature of the entrepreneurial culture in both countries.
  • Former Yugoslavia: Rebuilding Lives and Livelihoods in Bosnia and Serbia – This LIV will explore the culture, history and politics of two societies confronting several complex challenges: the turbulent transition from a planned economy to liberal capitalism, which all the countries of Eastern Europe experienced during the 1990s, and the most violent conflict the European continent had witnessed since the end of World War II.
  • Israel: Water Issues and Innovation – Explore water in Israel in all its political, historical, communal, agricultural, technological, entrepreneurial, and business dimensions. Learn how this country has created innovative solutions in water recycling and conservation, clean technology, irrigation, public policy, investment, and resource management.
  • Madagascar: Biodiversity and Cooperation – This LIV considers the biodiversity of Madagascar as a starting point to examine aspects of biological and social evolution and organization. You will learn about concepts and themes from biology including the theory of social evolution in order to address issues of evolution of biodiversity in Madagascar and the impact of humans at all scales from local to global. You will be encouraged to link concepts to social and group dynamics.
  • Mongolia: Social Impact from a Changing Environment – Mongolia is home to one of the few remaining populations of pastoral nomads, a legacy reflected in its open landscape and cultural production. Explore how this nomadic lifestyle is changing and adapting as more Mongolians move to cities, massive new mines bring new wealth and strong protests, and global climate change puts pressure on traditional practices.
  • Rapa Nui: Learning from Easter Island’s Collapse – This course will explore the island’s ecological and human history, including the impact of early European and South American visitors on the native Rapa Nui population. Participants will also explore modern day issues, including controls on immigration, the effects of tourism, and sea level rise.
  • Thailand: Buddhism in Practice, Production, and Promotion – Thailand’s Buddhist population is 94.6%. This Venture will focus on how the doctrines and praxis of Buddhism pervades Thai society, historically, politically and economically. Through an exploration of art and architecture, trade markets, business, social work, and meditation, we will encounter the multifarious networks that make Buddhism in Thailand unique.
  • Zanzibar: The History and Legacy of the Slave Trade – This Venture in Zanzibar, an island situated at the crossroads of the Indian Ocean, will focus on the history of the slave trade and its abolition. You will learn about the legacies of slavery on contemporary Zanzibar, and examine the impact of international trade on this cosmopolitan and multicultural island.

LIV Application

Students will be asked to apply for a LIV that focuses on a theme of greatest interest to them. The Institute aims to meet student interest, but cannot guarantee first choices. Students will submit an application for participation in which they provide first, second, and third LIV choices and submit an application essay. Criteria for LIV assignments are: the quality of the academic rationale and the availability of slots. Once a LIV has been assigned, students will sign an agreement that commits them to participating in all the planned activities related to the LIV and to follow the policies. After signing the agreement, students cannot change their LIV.

Immersion Fees

The Lauder Institute provides a substantial subsidy for the cost of LIVs, but students should be prepared to cover some travel-related costs such as: visas, transportation to airport, vaccines, and meals. See Tuition & Aid for more information about financing a Lauder education.

Alumni Participation

The Lauder Institute invites Lauder alumni to travel with current students to one of the LIV destinations! Alumni have the opportunity to gain an understanding of interconnected global challenges through field experiences in locations around the world focused on complex social, economic, and business challenges. We will offer pre-departure activities and readings to familiarize participants with the content related to their destination. Alongside students, alumni will develop a contextual understanding of historical perspectives on international relations, economic reforms, political challenges, business trends, and contemporary cultural movements.

The estimated cost is $3,500 per person, although the cost will range depending on location. This fee covers accommodations and access to the lectures and visits. It would be adjusted for room sharing. This amount does not include airfare. Every effort will be made to accommodate your selection.

If you have any further questions, please contact Danielle Rochford at

Previous alumni participation includes:

  • Nancy Kail (’89) – “I had been to Cuba numerous times before returning with Cultural Ventures. Nonetheless, experiencing this complex and crazy country along with Lauder students, alumni, and professors and interacting with such an interesting array of Cubans was an unparalleled opportunity. All Lauder alumni should try a Ventures program!”
  • Norm Savoie (’91)
  • Frank DeSimone (’15) – “Participating in the Mongolia LIV was a wonderful opportunity to explore a new culture and to stay connected with the Lauder community after graduation.”
  • Liliya Ivanova (’15)
  • Anirudh Rudrapatna Rajendraprasad (’15)

LIV Student Perspectives

LIV’s on the Lauderblog!

  • Click here to read about student perspectives after visiting an international school in Tel Aviv.
  • Click here to read about a Lauder student’s experiences in Cuba during an LIV.