At the annual conference of the Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG) earlier this month, Dr. Laura Appell-Warren, Director of Global Citizenship at St. Mark's, was named to the GEBG's Board of Directors.
Established in 2007, the GEBG is an association of independent schools that work together to find best practices in global education to prepare students, academically and experientially, for a diverse and dynamic cultural and socio-economic world. St. Mark's School was one of eighteen GEBG Founding Member schools nationwide.
The mission of the GEBG is to identify specific practices in global education by collecting, analyzing, and sharing data from GEBG members; and to promote the development of global citizens in independent schools and beyond through global curriculum, experiences, and institutional support. "Global education develops the knowledge, skills, and empathic orientation required to understand multiple perspectives and to thrive in increasingly interconnected world systems," declares the GEBG website. "A global citizen acts to promote the common good locally, nationally, and internationally."
The annual GEBC conference, held this year from April 6-9, was open to anyone interested in global education. Its offerings addressed critical issues in the field with an emphasis on providing safe travel programs, management, global curriculum development, marketing, finance and communications. Keynote speakers were anthropologist/ethnobotanist Wade Davis (pictured left), named by the National Geographic Society as one of the "Explorers for the Millennium;" and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario, who is currently traveling around the country speaking on the issue of unaccompanied immigrant children.
St. Mark's recognizes that a global education is a critical component of a 21st Century education and was specifically identified as one of the key components of the St. Mark's 2020 Strategic Plan. Under the direction of Dr. Warren, the School's Global Citizenship Initiative, through both curricular and extracurricular offerings, works to help students see and appreciate the distinctive features and the beauty that exist in the variety of cultures of the world, to appreciate the human universals that make all people more similar than different, and to inspire St. Markers to become global citizens.
To fulfill its mission, the Global Citizenship Initiative at St. Mark's offers five academic programs (the regular III Form Global Seminar course, the Lion's Roam program within Lion Term, and three outside opportunities), seven student exchange/gap year options with partner schools around the world, a number of spring break and summer travel opportunities, and service learning opportunities both abroad and in the United States. Each summer since 2014, St. Mark's has hosted its Global Citizenship Institute (GCI) on campus. The GCI is an innovative program between Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria and St. Mark's to educate and support faculty and students from public, private and international secondary schools as they learn ways to become engaged global citizens actively working to solve problems of global and local significance. Students and teachers join St. Mark's and Salzburg Global Seminar faculty for a week of intensive exploration of what it means to be a Global Citizen in a globalized, interconnected 21st century world. Participants hear leaders in the field talk about the issues related to global citizenship and participate in numerous small group discussions focusing on the themes of global citizenship. These themes include, among others: social justice and human rights; creating an engaged community; intercultural communications and perspective taking; climate change and sustainability. The hallmark of the program is that students and faculty will meet with the faculty and students from their home school to create a project to take home to their community. Past participants in the program have come from as nearby as Framingham, MA and as far away as Australia and China.
Congratulations to Dr. Warren for being recognized as a leader in global education by the GEBG.