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"A Changing World"— Global Citizenship Institute 2017
"A Changing World"— Global Citizenship Institute 2017

Over seven days, from July 9 through July 15, more than 40 participants— students and faculty from several different schools—took part in the 4th Annual Global Citizenship Institute at St. Mark's. A collaboration between St. Mark's School and Austria's Salzburg Global Seminar, the Global Citizenship Institute's mission is 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.

Among the school's participating were two from Pennsylvania—the Church Farm School (Exton, PA) and Pine Richland High School (Gibsonia, PA). There were also several local Massachusetts institutions represented, including Norwood High School, Algonquin Regional High School (Northborough/Southborough), and Keefe Technical High School (Framingham), as well as St. Mark's. Internationally, students and teachers from Sri Lanka were in attendance, under the auspices of the Educate Lanka Foundation, an award-winning international non-profit social enterprise enhancing access to quality education and employment opportunities for the socioeconomically marginalized children and youth in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Laura Appell-Warren, Director of both the Global Citizenship Institute and the Global Citizenship Program at St. Mark's, led a team of nine St. Mark's faculty facilitating the Institute. Guest lecturers during the week included Sue Stafford, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Boston's Simmons College; and Manjula Dissanayake, a social entrepreneur and the founder of Educate Lanka. As he has for previous GCIs, Bruce Wilson (SM Class of 1954) was on hand throughout the week as a program observer. A St. Mark's trustee, Wilson first attended the Salzburg Global Seminar in 1965 and has attended its June Board Meeting annually since 2007. He has chaired the Global Citizenship Committee of the St. Mark's Board and played an essential role in the creation of the Global Citizenship Institute. Six interns, including two St. Markers and participants from each of the three previous SM-Salzburg Global Citizenship Institutes, worked to facilitate the program under the leadership of GCI veteran Emily Michaelson (SM Class of 2013).

Throughout the week-long GCI, students explored, in large and small settings, global citizenship issues. Faculty worked to develop strategies and lesson plans to infuse global citizenship education into their curriculum. In addition, students and faculty from each school came together to create and present a global citizenship action plan to be implemented in their home school during the 2017-2018 academic year.

There were several highlights from this year's Global Citizenship Institute (GCI) at St. Mark's. Sue Stafford presented on "The Ethics of Climate Change" and talked about justice in a changing world, while Manjula Dissanayake led an insightful and productive "Fireplace Chat" on Tuesday evening. Dr. Warren's presentation— "Perspective and Ethnocentrism Through Maps"—gave a valuable focus for the institute, as did a particular emphasis on "Design Thinking," which included exercises in St. Mark's FAB Lab and a screening of the award-winning film Extreme by Design (Stanford University, 2013) with its emphasis on "building a better world."

Throughout the week, participants engaged in reflective journaling, and there were insightful explorations of topics such as "What is Global Citizenship?" and "Understanding Your School Through Empathy". Smaller Global Topics discussion groups examined the environment (climate change and water rights), health, conflict and refugees, human rights, the meaning of "cultural competence", and "The U.S. in a Globalized World: Return to Isolationism." This year's GCI at St. Mark's also beta-tested an online course for the Moral Courage College.

On Wednesday, everyone took part in an exciting field trip into Boston, where they walked the Freedom Trail, led by Natalie Armacost (SM Class of 2013), an official interpreter and guide for the Freedom Trail Foundation. Back on campus, students and faculty worked on the action plans they will be taking back to their respective schools. It was a week filled with fun and camaraderie, as well as insightful and empowering presentations, conversations and collaborative endeavors.

"The fourth Global Citizenship Institute went extremely well," commented Dr. Warren. She recognized the contributions of the faculty, guest presenters, and interns, as well as the administrative support of Lori Karlsson and Mary Ann Ciampa at St. Mark's as instrumental in this year's GCI success. Dr. Warren was also "thrilled that we are partnered with the Salzburg Global Seminar, as they are leaders in the field of Global Citizenship education." Founded in 1947, the purpose of the Salzburg Global Seminar is to challenge present and future leaders to solve issues of global concern. To do this, participants are brought together from different cultures and institutions, problem-focused initiatives are organized, and leadership development is supported.

"GCI is one of the most interesting academic experiences I've ever had," declared one participant. A student from Sri Lanka noted that "in a tightly interconnected world that's run by computers, being a global citizen has never been more important than it is today. Understanding how to become a global citizen," she noted, expands her "view of the changing world" and broadens her "ability to solve problems."

In the rapidly changing 21st Century world there is a need for individuals who can skillfully and ethically navigate our increasingly complex and interconnected planet. As technology, economics, environmental issues and political events intersect, boundaries blur and engaged citizens must work together without national bias with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds, nationalities, and experiences.

The Global Citizenship Program is one of the three central initiatives of the ongoing St. Mark's 2020 strategic plan.

For more information on the St. Mark's Global Citizenship Institute, click here.