Tag Archive | Global Connections and Exchange

New Beginnings

CSYNFive years ago today in Cairo, Egypt, President Obama called for an expansion of programs to connect U.S. and Muslim youth:

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America. At the same time, we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in online learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.

iEARN is pleased to contribute to this effort through programs like the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, the National Security Language Initiative for Youth, and the Chris Stevens Youth Network.

iEARN-USA looks forward to working with the Obama Administration, like the Clinton Administration and Bush Administration before it, to support the critical investment in online learning for teachers and students worldwide. Globally connected learning is effective, inclusive, and transformative. The new Connected Learning Alliance, The Exchange 2.0 Campaign, Connected Educatorsand the new Collaboratory will amplify and accelerate this globally connected learning, which one day will simply be known as “learning.”

We invite teachers and students worldwide to join us and our partners to create new beginnings for your classroom.

KLYES

The 4th Annual Global Education Conference

GEC SPonsorJoin us again this year for the fourth annual Global Education Conference, a free week-long online event bringing together educators and innovators from around the world, to be held Monday, November 18 through Friday, November 22, 2013 (Saturday, November 23rd in some time zones).  iEARN-USA is a founding partner of the Global Education Conference, which is helping build momentum for the connected education movement that is transforming teaching and learning around the world.

Each year, iEARN educators, youth, and other partners have given keynote and program sessions that share examples and collaborative projects related to connecting classrooms and youth programs, with a strong emphasis on promoting global awareness, fostering global competency, and inspiring action towards solving real–world problems. iEARN presentations this year will include:

Making International Education for Everyone – David Potter.

My Hero Learning Circles and Call to Action – Wendy Millet and Wendy Jewel.

IIME develops 21st century skills through international collaborative learning – Atsuko Shiwaka.

Able-bodied Individual’s Perceptions of People with Disabilities- Dr. Jamal Din Slimani. 

Join Radijojo World Children’s Media Network: Award winning global competency empowerment for your students - Thomas Rohlinger. 

Photojournalism 2.0 and 2.014 Engaging Educators in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tajikistan and the United States – Nicole Weitzner. Farah Kamal, Firuz Baratov.

Internationalization of learning in experiences in collaborative project “Our Rivers, Our World”- Rajib Lochan Das.

Passport to the World-Susie Oh.

Improve your Skills as a Global Education through Action Researcher –  Margaret Riel

Connecting Classrooms in the U.S., Middle East, and North Africa through Online Projects – Jennifer Russell. 

iEARN Local History Project as a tool to develop the 21st Century Skills and enhange cross-cultural dialogue - Rimma Zhukova, Patty Wu, Hiba Kheirbik.

In Our Global Village – Barbara Cervone.

Student Driven Environmental Projects - Kathy Bosiak and students.

International School Award – Tariq Refaat Bahi Eldin.

Daffodil and Tulips Project and Talking Kites on the Footsteps of J. Korczak – Ruty Hotzen.

Building Upon Your Physical Exchange Experience - Bethany Kreider. 

Global Project Based Learning and 21st Century Skills are dialectically connected – Samah AlJundi, Hiba Kheirbeik & Yousef Alhayek.

iEARN participants are invited to submit proposals by November 15 and are requested to tag their proposals with “2013iEARN” so that they can be included in the iEARN calendar of activities happening as part of the event. Enjoy last year’s iEARN keynotes by Narcîs Vives and Héla Nafti and we hope to see you next week!

Let’s Make International Education for Everyone

We are excited to celebrate the kick-off of International Education Week by joining the Exchange 2.0 Coalition’s launch of this brand new website for virtual exchange. We hope that the new site will accelerate efforts to combine the deep impact of cross-cultural exchange with the broad reach of new media technologies to support the goal of giving all young people the opportunity to have a meaningful cross-cultural experience as part of their education.

It is critical that international education is for everyone, regardless of socio-economic background, age, special needs, or geographic location. While physical exchange programs, including study abroad, are growing and have long provided important international educational experiences, those opportunities are still only accessible to a privileged few. The costs and logistical challenges of such programs prevent this model from reaching a broader set of students. Only 1 in 10,000 US high school students study abroad. Less than 2% of US college students study abroad. Only 11.7% of American students who studied abroad in 2010-2011 were Black or Hispanic.

This isn’t just an American issue. Less than 2% of students in most European countries study abroad. While Middle Eastern students who study abroad are likely to come to the United States, only 3% of higher education students in the Middle East study overseas. Too few young people worldwide are having the deep and meaningful cross-cultural experiences we need them to be having.

In 2011, iEARN-USA joined together with several other like-minded groups, including Qatar Foundation International, Soliya and Global Nomads, to form the Exchange 2.0 Coalition. The Coalition’s purpose is to foster a more supportive and generative ecosystem for virtual exchange to develop, innovate and grow. The Coalition joins other ongoing efforts, such as Connect All Schools, Flat Classroom, Dot Day, Global Read Aloud, Skype in the Classroom, Edmodo, and the Chris Stevens Youth Network to vastly increase the diversity and number of students gaining global awareness, meaningful collaboration, and empathy beyond what would be possible through physical exchanges alone. These efforts were bolstered this month by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, a long-time virtual exchange innovator, and its new initiative, The Collaboratory, which will be “responsible for both conducting virtual exchange programs and housing an idea lab to develop, incubate, and pilot new ideas that amplify people-to-people exchanges via new technologies.”

Other efforts that are helping build the ecosystem for virtual exchange are the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Connected LearningMicrosoft’s Partners in Learning, Digital Promise, Intel Teach Program, the Global Education Conference, a myriad Twitter chats and Google Hangouts, and the US Department of Education Office of Education Technology sponsored Connected Educators Month in October.

This week, we invite teachers, students, and partners everywhere to add to this momentum by:

  • Checking out the Exchange 2.0 website, and spreading the word:  Share the link with your communities and add your voices directly to the site through the “Get Involved” section.
  • Joining the “I <3 Virtual Exchange” campaign: Take a picture with an “I <3 virtual exchange because…” sign and then upload it to the Exchange 2.0 website or post it directly to twitter with the hashtag #exchange20. Continue to follow www.exchange2point0.org  and #exchange20 on Twitter to view and share other people’s pictures from around the world!
  • Learning more about International Education Week (IEW) and join the conversations: Visit the International Education Week Facebook page and join the Twitter conversation via the hashtag #IEW2013.

It’s education’s “Connected Moment,” and the outcomes of increasing meaningful cross-cultural experiences for our students will be a critical mass of college and career-ready young leaders who have empathy, trust, and respect for their peers abroad. International education needs to be available to everyone because we need everyone working together towards a healthier, more prosperous, more just, and safer planet.

BYz_flPCMAAi4Vh.jpg-large

Images of Hope and Caring

Chris Stevens Youth Network Workshop, Doha, Qatar, June 29-30, 2013

Chris Stevens Youth Network Workshop Participants, Doha, Qatar, June 29-30, 2013

Each 9/11 anniversary, I reflect on this George Packer piece in the April 2002 New York Times Magazine. This year, in light of the Mark Zuckerberg-led Internet.org announcement last month, Packer’s words seem particularly relevant:

The globalization of the media was supposed to knit the world together. The more information we receive about one another, the thinking went, the more international understanding will prevail. An injustice in Thailand will be instantly known and ultimately remedied by people in London or San Francisco. The father of worldwide television, Ted Turner, once said, “My main concern is to be a benefit to the world, to build up a global communications system that helps humanity come together.”  These days we are living with the results – a young man in Somalia watches the attack on the south tower live, while Americans can hear more, and sooner, about Kandahar or Ramallah than the county next to theirs.

But this technological togetherness has not created the human bonds that were promised. In some ways, global satellite TV and Internet access have actually made the world a less understanding, less tolerant place. What the media provide is superficial familiarity – images without context, indignation without remedy. The problem isn’t just the content of the media, but the fact that while images become international, people’s lives remain parochial – in the Arab world and everywhere else, including here.

… But at this halfway point between mutual ignorance and true understanding, the ”global village” actually resembles a real one – in my experience, not the utopian community promised by the boosters of globalization but a parochial place of manifold suspicions, rumors, resentments and half-truths. If the world seems to be growing more, rather than less, nasty these days, it might have something to do with the images all of us now carry around in our heads.

Our responsibility as educators and parents is to counter the horrific images of 9/11, Benghazi, Syria, and Egypt with images of hope and caring that our children want to carry around in their heads. Visit the Chris Stevens Youth Network photo album, Kennedy-Lugar YES Program Facebook site, or any of the Connect All Schools partner sites for inspiration. Become a Citizen Diplomat and a Connect Educator this October. Give a Global Education Conference presentation and celebrate International Education Week this November.

The outcomes of increasing meaningful cross-cultural experiences for our students will be a critical mass of college and career-ready young leaders who have empathy, trust, and respect for their peers abroad and who have the passion to work together towards a healthier, more prosperous, and safer planet. That’s the image we all should strive carry around in our heads.

Caption: Rudy Morales, a high school student from New Tech High School in Los Angeles, practices his Arabic with a Qatari student in front of the Doha skyline at the Museum of Islamic Art Park. Photo from U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy

Rudy Morales (left), a high school student from New Tech High School in Los Angeles, practices his Arabic with a Qatari student in front of the Doha skyline at the Museum of Islamic Art Park. Photo from U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy

For Online Learning, It’s Who You Know

The first Christopher Stevens Youth Network Workshop in Yemen

The first Christopher Stevens Youth Network Workshop in Yemen

The national conversation about online learning has focused on what and how, but has given with whom short shrift.

In his remarks this week to the Foreign Service Institute Overseas Security Seminar, US Secretary of State John Kerry underscored the importance of with whom,” highlighting virtual exchange as a key US government strategy to provide educators and youth with a meaningful cross-cultural experience:

… today we also have digital bridges to connect different cultures – and I don’t just mean Facebook and Twitter. The State Department’s Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau runs a virtual exchange program that connects teachers and students in the United States with their counterparts in the Middle East and North Africa. These students are working together online, learning from each other about their cultures and history, and they’re forging lasting relationships.

iEARN has worked closely with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1998 to develop immersive online professional development courses and project-based virtual exchanges worldwide. iEARN is pleased to be helping launch the Chris Stevens Youth Network, which Secretary Kerry believes:

can lead to the largest ever increase in people-to-people exchanges between the United States and the Middle East and North Africa. And we believe it will also dramatically increase the number and diversity of young people who have a meaningful cross-cultural experience – the same experience that Chris, and I think all of you understand is so important.

New York-Cairo High School Science Exchange

iEARN US-Egypt Young Scientist Exchange Program

iEARN-USA is committed to dramatically increasing access to meaningful virtual exchange to all schools in the United States, regardless of socio-economic background, age or geographic location. This vision is shared by President Obama, who championed online learning and cross-cultural exchanges in his June 2009 address to the Muslim world delivered from Cairo:
On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America. At the same time, we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in online learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.

This vision is also shared by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, whom iEARN hosted for teleconference with his counterpart in Jordan. The International Affairs Office of the US Department of Education new strategy documentSucceeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement affirms:

The Department’s commitment to preparing today’s youth, and our country more broadly, for a globalized world, and to engaging with the international community to improve education.
In November 2009, iEARN-Jordan worked with iEARN-USA to host a video conference on climate change moderated by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Dr. Waleed Al-Ma'ani, the Jordanian Minister of Education.

In November 2009, iEARN-Jordan worked with iEARN-USA to host a video conference on climate change moderated by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Dr. Waleed Al-Ma’ani, the Jordanian Minister of Education.

This vision of international engagement is increasingly shared by hundreds of organizations and millions of educators, students, and parents in the United States. A World Savvy survey found that American students are keenly aware that it is their best interests that they understand global issues, engage with their peers worldwide, and gain the skills needed to find employment in today’s global economy.

Yet, while opportunities for international exchange are expanding rapidly in many countries around the world, only a small fraction of American K-12 students currently have access to some kind of international experience, whether physical or virtual. A survey released today by American University graduate student Corey Smith, Study Abroad in Cyberspace,”  showed that American teachers say they are interested in virtual exchange, but are deterred to do so in their classrooms by “lack of formal assessment, work overload, technology issues, and lack of information about virtual exchange.”

These deterrents, however, can be overcome if Americans expand the national conversation about online learning to include “with whom,” and then commit to providing our teachers the support they are asking for.  The outcomes of a national commitment to increasing cross-cultural experiences will be a critical mass of American youth with empathy, trust, and respect for their peers abroad, who are committed to social justice and human rights, who have college and career-ready skills, and who have the passion to work together towards a healthier and safer planet.

At Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, students connect with peers in Yemen and several other countries to get an insight into these cultural differences — and think critically about their own daily lives — through some innovative virtual exchanges in Chris Baer’s photography and graphics classes. [photo credit Ivy Ashe, Village Gazette]

At Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, students connect with peers in Yemen and several other countries to get an insight into these cultural differences — and think critically about their own daily lives — through some innovative virtual exchanges in Chris Baer’s photography and graphics classes. [photo credit Ivy Ashe, Village Gazette]

Christopher Stevens Youth Network Participants in Syria

Chris Stevens Youth Network Participants in Syria

Bridges That Need to Be Built

 

A Chris Stevens Youth Network Workshop in Yemen

Last fall, we introduced the Christopher Stevens Youth Network, an Exchange 2.0 effort that will offer complementary physical and virtual exchanges for 10,000 students and 400 educators in 20 countries. iEARN will support online project-based learning focused on eight thematic units: conflict resolution and peace education, the environment, civic education, social entrepreneurship, empowering girls and young women, food security, health, and literacy and education.

This spring, four teachers taking the new Chris Stevens Youth Network online course shared their thoughts:

Abdeljallal (Morocco)

Even since I became a full-fledged iEARNer, I have discovered that what unites us outweighs our differences and discords. I have found out that we face the same challenges and we share the same aspirations, the same hopes, and the same dreams. My students and I have been stunned by the warmth and generosity of all the community. Now, we refer to a Thai project as though Bangkok is just next door, and when our friends in Islamabad visited an orphanage, we shared their success as though we were there.

iEARN and YES Alumni Aown Volunteers at an Orphanage in Pakistan

Kathy (USA)

I was truly amazed that iEARN was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Why hadn’t I heard of you before? … Seriously? I feel like I have been under a bushel basket!

I really liked some of the projects on the Imagine section of the board. I have shared the cookbook idea with our foods teacher and the mural with our two art teachers. I will be using the ZeroFootprint [Youth Calculator] with my classes as soon as we return from spring break.

Global collaboration, aside from the obvious importance of globalizing our students, is important because it sets the tone that will carry our students into successful careers, which will incorporate all the components of our global society. Our students need to learn the tolerance that is essential in our current world and they need to understand that they are not the center of whichever universe they are currently focused on. In addition to that, learning about and with people from other places is just exciting and fun!

Nacera (Algeria)

“Stop teaching, let them learn” this statement summarizes my week reflection. Being connected with iEARN community, i realized that we are living a wonderful, interesting, unique but achievable experience that i called “iEARN-D”. “D” refers to my dream, my students’ dream, everyone in iEARN dream.

DREAM to make teachers from different parts of the world join and make a whole community express and share their ideas, hopes and expectations of a better world.

DREAM to link our students regardless their differences via technology , make them know about each other while working collaboratively.

DREAM to enable the new generations put hand in hand beyond the existing barriers to create a wonderful world.

DREAM to plant knowledge, peace, and tolerance buds in their spirits.

DREAM to be stronger than the world leaders to live and make a world completely different from the horrible one we are living in.

So, let the new generations, not only learn about and with the world , but teach the whole world that they are better prepared to change the WORLD, simply because YOUTH can.

Students in Algeria Show Off Their Awesome iEARN T-Shirts

Taraneh (USA)

This week I learned a great deal about iEARN and feel that I have a better understanding of the foundations of the program and its goals. Of the new insight I gained the most meaningful moment came from the first video, on the anniversary of iEARN. I learned about the first ever iEARN project, the teacher-student exchange between Russia and the United States. I was taken aback by the teacher who described her first encounter in Russia, after all the polite pleasantries of first meeting one another, when she was asked: “Why do you want war with us?” The teacher said firmly, “I do not want war, I have a son.”

This exchange truly captures the philosophy behind everything iEARN does. That moment was powerful for the individuals on that first exchange trip, and it still holds power for me today, as someone who was not even born yet when it happened.

Every day the leaders of our nations partake in a never-ending ballet, where everyone has a part to play. They battle each other for the staring roles and do their best to trip one another up when the audience is watching. They are careful, elegant, and practiced in their movements, following the laws, the codes, and the ethical outlines they have written on their own behalf. Yet, for all that grace and delicate balancing they are in their own show, and we are the audience.

… The greatest changes happen when a small group of people take on something greater and more powerful than they are; like those teachers who bravely faced their nations’ enemies, only to find that they shared more than words could ever say.

It is important for us, as teachers, to pass that idea on to our students. We must be ever mindful of generalizing, oversimplifying, and putting words into the mouths of the millions of people across the world. We must be ever vigilant in reminding them that they have a voice and a say. By participating in iEARN they have a forum in which to share those voices, and to hear the voices of thousands of other students across the world. It is by sharing those voices that we can truly learn about our world and build bridges where they most certainly need to be built.

Bringing Global Connections to Life in United Arab Emirates

iEARN-UAE and the Dubai Modern High School

iEARN-UAE and the Dubai Modern High School host the first Christopher Stevens Youth Network: Global Connections 2.0 Professional Development Workshop on February 9, 2013.

On February 9th, iEARN-UAE and the Dubai Modern High School hosted the first professional development workshop under the auspices of the new Chris Stevens Youth Network. The workshop marks the ninth year in which UAE teachers and students have participated in iEARN activities.

In 2005, Egyptian Association for Educational Resources received a MEPI grant from the US Embassy in UAE to initiate iEARN activities in partnership with the Information Resource Center at the Embassy, the Ministry of Education, and the Emirate of Fujairah. iEARN-Egypt provided 25 Emirati teachers from government schools with training and materials needed to join iEARN projects. Later that year, iEARN-USA hosted two teachers from the UAE attended the Master Trainer Seminar in New York City, and iEARN-Lebanon hosted two teachers at the BRIDGE Regional Conference in Beirut in July 2005. In July 2006, four teachers from UAE attended the Annual iEARN International Conference in Enschede, Netherlands.

Emirati teachers discuss iEARN projects at an April 2011 workshop made possible by the support of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic and Al Ameen Private School.

iEARN-UAE hosted a workshop for teachers in Abu Dhabi at Al Manhal International Private School on February 4th, 2012

iEARN-UAE hosted a workshop for teachers in Abu Dhabi at Al Manhal International Private School on February 4th, 2012

A recent highlight of iEARN-UAE participants has been the Finding Solutions to Hunger collaboration with schools in the US and other countries. Principal Fatima Martin of Al Ameen School in Dubai collected writings by students, including this poem by Khadija Aliasgar:

Homeless people

 Unhappy children

Need nutrition

Generosity needed

Eager to get fed

Raise money to help the needy.

Hunger is grey,

Like a rain cloud over my head

It sits in my heart,

Like a heavy load I have to carry.

It makes me feel scared,

Like when I’m away from my family.

It makes feel sorry for those who have no food.

Hunger is blue,

Like the depths of the ocean.

It tumbles through my mind,

Like a stone tumbling down a hill.

It makes me feel depressed,

Like a child whose parent

Can not feed him or her.

It makes me want to help somebody.

Hunger is brown,

Like a hollow log inside of me.

It flows through my body,

Like a raft on a river.

It makes me feel empty,

Like a shell that’s been left behind.

It makes me want to help others.

iEARN-USA is proud to be working with iEARN-UAE coordinator Ms. Basma Musamih and her teachers and students, and we’d love your help to increase the program’s impact by offering as many US and UAE teachers and students as possible to find solutions to hunger together, so that hunger is neither grey, blue, or brown, but just a fading memory for future generations.

Trenton, NJ - Dubai, UAE Finding Solutions to Hunger Videoconference (view from Dubai)

Trenton, NJ – Dubai, UAE Finding Solutions to Hunger Videoconference (view from Dubai)

Trenton, NJ - Dubai, UAE Finding Solutions to Hunger Videoconference (view from Trenton)

Trenton, NJ – Dubai, UAE Finding Solutions to Hunger Videoconference (view from Trenton)

Bringing Global Connections to Life in @lgeria

ELT@lgeria 5th AnniversaryThe team at iEARN-USA invites you to join us in celebrating the 5th anniversary of ELT@lgeria, which facilitates iEARN in Algeria. ELT@lgeria was created in January 2008 by Mr.Mustapha Louznadji, founder and president of the Association of Teachers of English and Inspector of National Education, and Ms. Kheira Mezough, educator and webmaster. For five years, ELT@lgeria has served as a space for educators to share teaching experiences and practices, to build relationships, to engage in reflective practice, and to have interactive opportunities that develop and broaden their existing knowledge.

Last week, Mr. Louznadji spoke eloquently about the accomplishments of ELT@lgeria:

From articles on different educational issues to courses on teaching practices, from teacher true stories to critical school situations to reflect on, from poems, games and other contributions to advertising books written by Algerian

authors, from downloadable teaching materials related to the curriculum to exam papers designed by teachers and supervisors, from students project work to teachers project pedagogy, from case-studies, to educators’ professional development, from supporting teachers in their teaching practices  to praising and celebrating the teacher of the year… These wonderful achievements made in improving education outcomes since January 22, 2008 are the product of ELT@lgeria team hard work they have put passionately into the website.

But, if you take the time to truly think about it, you will realize that our achievement is only a small step away as compared to what is done in the field of education. To all educators here today, we are proud to celebrate the 5th anniversary, but we have to consider this progress as an extension of our ‘learning’ career, and we sincerely hope that we continue to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you when collaborating with iEARN and other forms of education.Algeria_TeachersDay

We’d love your help to enable as many U.S. teachers and students to learn with, not just about, their peers in Algeria and across the Arab world. We’re excited to offer a limited number of online course scholarships to U.S. high school teachers new to iEARN. Teachers who complete the course may also have a chance to participate in iEARN’s Annual Conference in Qatar in July 1- 6, 2013.

Congratulations to the team at ELT@lgeria and we look forward to learning with you, not just about you, for many years to come.

 iEARN @lgeria 25th Anniversary Graphic

Introducing the Chris Stevens Youth Network

The late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, at right, talks to boys in Tripoli, Libya. / AP

Since 1998, iEARN has been privileged to work with the US State Department to develop programs and projects to foster strong relations between the West and the Islamic world. Our efforts have focused on direct student and teacher interaction to build trust, mutual understanding, and a commitment to shared goals. Highlights include: the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), and the Global Connections and Exchange (GCE) Program.

This year, iEARN is privileged once again to work with the State Department to help launch a new initiative, the Chris Stevens Youth Network, introduced by Senator John Kerry on December 20:

So there are costs, but that’s no reason to retrench from the world and it is I think a reason to honor the memory of Ambassador Stevens and the others who were deeply committed to a strong American role in the world, that’s why he was out there.

So in the end colleagues, we are all Americans first. We can’t lose sight of that fact, particularly in the face of this tragedy. We’re very pleased that Secretary Burns and Secretary Nides have come here today. Secretary Burns recently established the Christopher Stevens Youth Network to honor Chris’ memory by building bridges of understanding and compassion between American youth and their Middle Eastern peers. We look forward to continuing that work with them.

stevens_amb_candlelight_vigil_ny_500

2012 File Photo/The Associated Press
Dilan Samo, 13, holds a picture of Stevens during a candlelight vigil outside the Libyan mission to the United Nations in New York, September 13, 2012.

The Christopher Stevens Youth Network is an Exchange 2.0 effort that will offer complementary physical and virtual exchanges anchored by iEARN’s Global Connections 2.0 program. iEARN will support approximately 10,000 students and 400 educators in 20 countries to interact and learn with each other through online project-based learning focused on eight thematic units: conflict resolution and peace education, the environment, civic education, social entrepreneurship, empowering girls and young women, food security, health, and literacy and education.

iEARN will select educators from each country to attend a master trainer workshop at the 2013 iEARN Annual Conference in Doha, Qatar, where they will share, both face-to-face and virtually, project objectives and outcomes with thousands of peers from around the world.

Like YES, NSLI-Y, and GCE, the Christopher Stevens Youth Network will leverage new educational technologies, social media and partnerships with an increasing number of schools and organizations connecting classrooms worldwide. Mobile learning, open data, cloud computing, MOOCs, social entrepreneurship, and other tools and resources are evolving and changing teaching and learning and classroom-powered public diplomacy at a remarkable pace. Like their YES, NSLI-Y, and GCE peers, Christopher Stevens Youth Network participants will seek ways to make a positive difference in their communities, with new cross-cultural appreciation and skills. The Christopher Stevens Youth Network will advance our national security, enhance our education system, and enable our country to move closer to the goal that EVERY student in the U.S. have an international experience to gain critical skills and knowledge.

For many Americans, “Benghazi” is associated with election politics, Muslim rage, and the tentative relationships between people in the US and people in predominately Muslim countries. We hope, however, this tragic Libyan city becomes a catalyst for greater investment in programs that help young people to build the trust, respect, and empathy needed to take action with peers and contribute to the welfare of planet and its people. We invite US educators and their students to join us for the launch of the Christopher Stevens Youth Network and to help us promote peace and conflict resolution through exchange and meaningful collaboration.

Kids in Lajan Village, Kurdistan, Iraq, hold a tablet for the first time as participants of Touchable Earth, the first digital world book for kids where kids in each place explain all the facts about it. The Chris Stevens Youth Network will support iEARN efforts like this in Kurdistan.

Bringing Global Connections to Life in Bahrain

iEARN Bahrain Exhibit Booth at iEARN Annual Conference, Egypt, 2007

iEARN-USA is proud to be a partner of iEARN-Bahrain, and in 2013 we seek to enable as many U.S. and Bahraini educators and students as possible to connect, to learn from each other to build lasting friendships.

iEARN in Bahrain began in 2003 with support from the US Embassy, Manama, and the Ministry of Education.  Impressed by the project work of students and teachers at Al Ma’arifa Secondary School (Moving Voices; What is Sacred to Me); Ahmed Al-Omran and Isa Town Secondary Schools (My Hero); and Khawla Secondary School for Girls (One Day in My Life; My Country; International Teen Scrapbook), and other schools, the Ministry of Education set the goal of expanding iEARN into every secondary school in the country by 2010.

Khawla students are active in the annual Global Youth Service Day.

Khawla students are active in the annual Global Youth Service Day.

iEARN participants in Bahrain have embraced Global Youth Service Day and have participated in both iEARN’s Adobe Youth Voices and Global Connections and Exchange Programs:

In 2008, iEARN-Bahrain hosted the first Adobe Youth Voices Regional Workshop for Gulf Countries at the University of Bahrain’s E-Learning Center. Ten educators from Oman, UAE, and Bahrain examined youth media in both theory and practice, and discussed ways to use multimedia to promote youth engagement in their classrooms and communities.

On April 21-22, 2010, a two-day AYV workshop was held for 23 educators at the NY Institute for Technology. The first day of the workshop the participants had training on Adobe Photoshop software, and the second day the training was on Adobe Premiere Elements software. The workshop, made possible through support from the Adobe Foundation, was hosted by the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Bahrain and iEARN-Bahrain.

As part of the Global Connections and Exchange Program, a delegation of four students and one teacher from the Khawla School for Girls traveled for a three-week home-stay visit to The College of Staten Island High School for International Studies (CSI) in Staten Island, New York City in 2006. This was the first-ever US government-sponsored visit of Bahraini high school students to the United States.

The 2006 Khawla School for Girls – College of Staten Island High School for International Studies exchange was the first-ever US government-sponsored visit of Bahraini high school students to the United States.

At the time, CSI Principal Aimee Horowitz, now Superintendent of High Schools at New York City Department of Education, shared:

Students who participate in this exchange certainly realize how similar teenagers from all over the world are and how much they have in common.  Both online and in person exchanges promote dialogue among students, dispel stereotypes and promote understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures.  [Global Connections] is one of the most valuable experiences students can participate in.”

Lead teacher Nancy Kaplan, who worked with CSI administrators to organize and select US host families and prepare CSI students and the school for the Bahraini arrival, noted:

collaborative global exchanges, either online or in person, are essential in the twenty-first century in order to foster understanding and friendship.  I feel strongly that the Bahraini/NYC exchange is a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other and build lasting friendships.  It is my goal to continue our dialogue through Internet forums and live teleconferences.

Students at the Khawla Secondary School for Girls participate in many IEARN projects.

Please join us virtually or in-person in Qatar this July to learn with our peers in Bahrain, not just about them.

iEARN-Bahrain Country Coordinator Amani Amer (second from right) met with David Edginton, Public Affaris Officer, and Fife MacDuff, Regional English Language Officer, at the U.S. Embassy in Manama in September to discuss the future of the iEARN program. The meeting was also attended by Ms. Ahlam Al Amer, the head of the First Educational District
for Academic and Development Affairs at the Bahraini Ministry of Education.



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