Rialto Center for the Arts

Courtney SpenceCourtney Spence is an innovator and visionary beyond her years. As the Founder & Director of Students of the World (SOW), she has worked tirelessly to promote the power of creative media to tell stories of global progress. Understanding the desire of college students to engage globally, the power of media and a need for solution-oriented storytelling, at the age of 19 Courtney founded SOW at Duke University. Eleven years later, SOW is a national nonprofit that has partnered more than 300 students with 45 organizations working in 30 different countries.

Spence has dedicated herself to building SOW into a sustainable and scalable organization. Through this journey, she has deepened her understanding of creative college students, the mediums of storytelling, and the work of innovative organizations. Her travel experience ranges from the West Bank to Uganda to Cambodia and Haiti. Courtney’s gift for adapting to emerging technologies and tools while preserving the core mission of SOW is a unique talent.

Most recently, Courtney spoke on a Schooldocs panel at Silverdocs Documentary Festival in June 2011 — speaking on the power of youth voices to shape the next generation of documentary film-making.

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