In one Age, called the Fourth Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Land of the Crystal Throne. It sped across the great Aryth Ocean to the Tai’Seanchan coast. It continued over the Mountains of Mist, picking up the scent of Two Rivers fine tabac and singing along to a tune made by a Tinker’s tea kettle. It swirled around the vast prairie known as the Caralain Grass, with it’s Black Tower fortress, and the island city of Tar Valon, home of the fabled Ogier-made White Tower...The wind swept through the valleys, skimming along the lake that once was Shadar Logoth, lifting the raven in flight. It howled through the Blight past the snorts and bellows of Trollocs, carrying on it the stench of their cookpots and rot as it whipped by a Myrddraal without creating so much as a ripple in its dark cloak. If you listen closely to the wind you can hear the sound of “friends” whispering in the dark as it whistles by you. The shadows beckon you to their warm embrace; where will the wind take you? For you must know, the wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was A beginning.
The Grand Exchange
The Amyrlin Seat in the days of the Last Battle, Egwene al'Vere, set in motion many things that would grow to influence the White Tower over time. Perhaps the greatest change she started was the attempt to unify the channelers of the Westlands, the core component of which was an exchange of students between the factions. This program continues in the Fourth Age, and sees Accepted of the White Tower, Wise One apprentices, and Windfinders-in-training learning from one another for a period of six months, with the option to continue their education with any of the others should they so desire. White Tower Accepted typically spend half of their first and second years away from the White Tower, first with the Atha'an Miere aboard their ships, then with the Wise Ones in Rhuidean, and in the third year are required to decide where they intend to finish their training. Everyone who sets foot within the White Tower, however, is encouraged to choose the shawl, and the program does grant the Aes Sedai ties to all of the major channeling factions in the Westlands.
The Black Tower
The exchange program with the Black Tower is a new initiative, initially agreed upon during the Delegation between the White and Black Towers that laid out a groundwork for reestablishing relations. The program, a six month exchange of Soldiers and Accepted (along with Asha'man and Aes Sedai chaperones), was intended to help restore positive relations between the two groups, encourage group study on various projects of interest, and train young channelers to form circles with their counterparts. The exchange program was intended to follow the goodwill inspired by the Bonding Ceremony between the Amyrlin Seat and the M'hael, but the assassination of Jadin al'Vyron ensured it debuted under a cloud of suspicion.