Engaging the Global Commons

BAIL: Bay Area International Link

Author: David Potter

Living in a highly interdependent world is not an option—but at present, being educated to do so competently is. — Harvard Professor Fernando Reimers

We all know that U.S. policy and action has a huge impact on the world – effecting businesses, economies and ecosystems around the globe. In this increasingly interconnected age, it is critical the U.S. educational system prepare globally competent citizens. Yet, despite rhetoric from the U.S. Department of Education on “preparing today’s youth, and our country more broadly, for a globalized world,” global education is not a priority of U.S. educational system.

The result is predictable and worrisome: Americans in large numbers want the U.S. to reduce its role in world affairs.

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Exchange 2.0: The Science of Impact, the Imperative of Implementation

On Monday, October 15, the United States Institute of Peace is hosting the next in a series of Exchanges 2.0 conferences. This month’s event, featuring Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein and Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, is titled, Exchange 2.0: The Science of Impact, the Imperative of Implementation. As a supplement to these events, USIP has published a Special Report, which makes a compelling four-point case for Exchange 2.0:

  • The orientation of U.S. public diplomacy is changing from telling America’s story to direct dialogue in an interconnected world.
  • With this shift has come a need to revitalize a core pillar of public diplomacy strategy: international exchanges.
  • Although traditional exchange programs have been effective in expanding access to cross-cultural educational opportunities beyond those that study-abroad programs reach, participation remains limited.
  • Developing the next generation of Exchange 2.0 initiatives—that is, technology-enabled programs embedded in curricula and with a cross-cultural educational purpose—will improve the number, diversity, and experience of international exchange participants.

The events and report are building upon more than a decade of activity by Connect All Schools consortium partners, as well as momentum generated this summer by the foreign operations Senate Appropriations Committee, which inserted specific Exchange 2.0 language into the next State Department educational and cultural exchanges budget:

We invite all Connect All Schools partners and schools to attend or follow Monday’s event, which will be webcast live beginning at 2:00pm EDT at www.usip.org/webcast. Online viewers will be able to engage panelists and each other through live chat and Twitter discussions (Hashtag: #exchange20)

Connect All Schools Launched

At the 2011 Annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning, sponsored by WNET/Channel Thirteen in New York City, the Connect All Schools initiative was launched on March 19th. Joining Ed Gragert, Executive Director of iEARN-USA, were Karen Cator, Head of the Office of Education Technology at the US Department of Education and Craig Brown, Chief of the Youth Division of the Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Exchanges of the US Department of State. Both Cator and Brown stressed how the initiative meets the objectives of both Departments because it enhances teaching and learning and broadens awareness of the world among US students and teachers. The Initiative seeks to demonstrate that if all of our students are to gain skills needed for the 21st century, we must strive to provide skills in the areas of global awareness, ability to work collaboratively, familiarity with technology and ability to communicate effectively across cultures and boundaries.

Connect All Schools Initiative is Launched!

Connect All Schools Website

Teachers and students all across the United States are invited to take part in the new Connect All Schools Initiative, which aims to connect EVERY school in the United States with the world by 2016. Through the Connect All Schools interactive website, schools share stories using text, photo and video about how they are currently connecting their students to the rest of the world through such activities as student and teacher exchanges, global issues curricula, video-conferences and “Exchanges 2.0,” the use of new media and communications technologies to expand, extend, and deepen international cross-cultural exchanges.

Representatives of the US Departments of State and Education took the stage on Saturday morning, March 19th at the Celebration of Teaching and Learning in New York City to officially launch of the Connect All Schools initiative. More than 100 schools have already shared their inspiring stories on www.connectallschools.org and thousands of more stories are expected in the coming weeks. The consortium is spearheaded by iEARN-USA and managed in collaboration with 80 leading international education and exchange organizations. Qatar Foundation International in Washington D.C. has provided start-up funding. Continue reading