It seems fitting that we should baptize this gorgeous new home for WPP News (many thanks, Virginia!) with an update on the progress of the GFA’s World Perspectives Program. We are well into the program’s first year, which has brought many a triumph and, yes, a few frustrations. The enthusiasm among students and faculty, however, is wonderfully strong as many members of the community explore exciting ways to connect to global problems and think about new opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary projects.
Just this Wednesday morning, for example, LS Science Teacher Sofi Kurtz and I sat in my office and reviewed the connections that Lower School students had made this year with students at the Linda Vista School near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. Our Global Partnerships liaison in Denver and the representative of the community in Costa Rica joined us for a discussion of what went well and what we can do better in the coming year. There are constant difficulties with the web connection in the community in question and difficulty bringing the students together when the two countries’ academic calendars don’t exactly cooperate. The hope is that with Upper School students visiting Linda Vista in June, we will be able to involve them in the project and jump-start the S.E.E.D. project for the 2011-2012 year.
From that meeting I ran downstairs to meet with the Challenge 20/20 students who are exploring possible solutions to the seemingly endless conflict in Afghanistan. They are excited, interested and perplexed by the enigmas that present themselves in every article that they read. They are eagerly awaiting the beginning of a project in which they will compare the Afghan conflict with the Colombian state’s attempts to snuff out the FARC insurgency. If all goes as planned, GFA students will partner with young people in Medellín via Google Docs and collaboratively write papers in which they compare the roles of narcotrafficking, geography and poor governance in each of these conflicts.
We cut our discussion short however, because all of us wanted to get up to the Oak Room to listen in on the Advanced Alternatives in Art courses’ discussion with a Palestinian university student and activist. Ms. Stock’s students have been studying street art and protest art, and their video conference with the young lady in Nablus was a fascinating and absolutely engaging exchange. (see the photo above)
….and all of this took place this Wednesday.
Among all of this excitement, there have been myriad discussions with students, advisers and parents about Upper School course selections and how to make the IR and Global Thesis courses fit into busy academic schedules. There has been logistical planning to do for the upcoming (April) visit from seven students from Suzhou High School near Shanghai, China, and there has been plenty of discussion about and planning for this June’s World Perspectives trips (to Senegal, Costa Rica, The Bahamas and Great Britain). MS French students will depart on Friday morning for their annual Canadian adventure and US Model UN students have headed to Washington, DC for their regional conference.
In short, the World Perspectives Program is moving full steam ahead! We look forward to hearing from this year’s Global Thesis students during the public presentations this May! Hope to see you all there!