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.
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.
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.
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.