For nearly 80 years, the World Learning International Development, formerly known as the Delphi International Group, has been involved in a variety projects across the globe to, “…empower people and strengthen institutions through education, exchange, and development programs.” (1)
However, many people believe that World Learning and its previous guise as Delphi is nothing more than a CIA propaganda factory that is used so that the Federal government can achieve its overall political objectives on foreign soil.
The main question is which description of the organization is accurate? Is World Learning (Delphi) an organization focused on creating the world’s new leaders, or is it a CIA front – a propaganda machine bent on swaying the politics of foreign countries in the favor of the United States?
The organization’s website claims that it fosters “global citizenship” by operating their programs in roughly 77 countries. Additionally, the site claims that Delphi began as an educational program that would allow American students to better understand people of other cultures by living alongside them.
The Political Affairs of Other Countries
Sounds fair enough; however, the history of the organization goes into more detail as it discusses the inception of the “doing” part of the organization.
The organization contends that, “World Learning realized that we could and should do more to help ease human suffering and build local self-reliance in the communities where we worked.” (2)
Though this sounds like a noble cause, the organization does seem to have a long history of getting involved in the political affairs of other countries; involvement that appears to have been beneficial to the United States government over time.
An example of this political involvement was during the 1980s, when the U.S. government used Delphi International Group to “promote Democracy” in Nicaragua. According to Global Search, Delphi used CIA funds funneled through National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to create youth groups and women’s organizations to sway the elections of the day that would keep the Sandinista Front from returning to power.
Through the efforts of Delphi, the UNO Coalition beat out the Sandinista Front 54% to 42%. The site contends that even though a variety of U.S entities were involved with propaganda in Nicaragua, “…the importance of the major role played by the consulting firm Delphi International Group [cannot] be underestimated.” (3)
CIA Funded Operations Around the World
Even though the involvement in Nicaragua occurred more than two decades ago, World Learning is still conducting several similar programs across the word today.
Of course, it is nearly impossible to tell which ones, if any, are funded by the CIA. However, it is important to note that many of World Learning’s programs today are funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
During the Nicaraguan affair, USAID established a subset of bureaus with the sole purpose of funneling money to the civic groups in other countries, just like NED. Currently, World Learning has about 44 programs across the globe that are funded by USAID.
The decades old connection between Delphi International Group, now known as World Learning for International Development, does not prove that the non-profit organization is a propaganda machine for the CIA. It is safe to say that such proof would be quite difficult to come by.
However, the connections between the agency and the organization appear to be a bit more than circumstantial in nature; especially if the events in Nicaragua are taken into consideration.
At face value, it appears that World Learning for International Development is attempting to achieve some noble goals. Nevertheless, it may be a good idea to watch the organization and the missions of its various programs to verify whether or not it is still being used by the CIA in an effort to execute covert propaganda operations abroad.