OCTOBER 29, 2018

CityLab Detroit HIGHLIGHTS Innovation in Cities and Global Scholars Classrooms

CityLab brings together mayors and urban leaders annually to address issues that cities often face and to encourage collaboration to solve the challenges they share. Detroit’s urban revival efforts offer insights and inspiration to urban leaders globally. The city is hosting innovators for the next three days at CityLabDetroit – and inspiring innovation throughout the year in cities and Global Scholars classrooms around the world.

Global Scholars connect in digital classrooms where students from many international cities create and share original content and other students respond. Students learn that global issues are complex and affect everyone. They also improve their skills at collaboration and respectful communication through a series of digital projects, culminating in a Community Action Project. CityLab this week will touch on just these issues, bridging the gap between what cities are doing and what students are learning.

Last year, students in 64 cities shared solutions to #FeedingOurCities, modeling collaborative problem-solving and global competency. Students in Detroit decided to turn a neglected courtyard into a community garden for their own school for their Community Action Project, which asked them to apply global lessons locally. They had been studying issues such as food waste and food deserts in cities around the world as part of the Feeding Our Cities curriculum.

 Detroit Global Scholars turned a school courtyard into a garden, applying global lessons locally.

Detroit Global Scholars turned a school courtyard into a garden, applying global lessons locally.

Blog: Learn how students went about Growing a Better Breakfast in Detroit.

Video: See how design thinking helps Global Scholars tackle complex projects throughout the year.


OCTOBER 17, 2018


In our first Facebook Live, we sat down with education leaders and classroom teachers from Taipei and Madrid to discussion international collaboration through Global Scholars. A delegation of Global Scholars educators from Taipei were visiting Madrid to deepen the professional connection begun in the e-classroom.

The real world itself is very complicated now. When students are facing the real world with Project Based Learning, they actually learn to become wiser problem-solvers.”
— Gladys Fanyn Yeh, Global Scholars Educator, Taipei

Participants in this Facebook Live included (left to right) Nicky Keefe—Host, Global Cities, Inc.; Lindsy Lee, Global Scholars Taipei hub leader; Angel Huerga Garcia, Global Scholars Madrid hub leader; Gladys Fanyn Yeh, Taipei teacher; José Vicente Sanchez, Madrid teacher.

Follow the ongoing conversation on Facebook!


OCTOBER 19, 2018

teachers travel to deepen international collaboration

Global Cities Board Member Bob Orr welcomes Taipei teachers to madrid

MADRID, October 17, 2018. Global Scholars teachers and school administrators from Madrid welcomed their counterparts from Taipei on Wednesday for a celebration of international collaboration. Through Global Scholars, our pioneering digital exchange program, we emphasize professional development and a supportive global network for teachers as well as students. The program includes a robust teachers’ community online as part of our mission to provide middle school students with opportunities for international conversations about important global issues in e-classrooms. This live visit allowed that collaboration to deepen.

“We need all people, all citizens of all countries to solve a problem like climate change,” said Global Cities Board Member Bob Orr, welcoming the delegation from Taipei to Madrid. “What better way than to start with 10-year-olds?”

 Global Scholars Madrid students show off their digital work to Nova Hung, a Global Scholars Taipei teacher joining a delegation to observe Madrid classes and teaching practices.

Global Scholars Madrid students show off their digital work to Nova Hung, a Global Scholars Taipei teacher joining a delegation to observe Madrid classes and teaching practices.

Bob welcomed participants in English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese, languages he speaks fluently from time spent in Peru and Taiwan. He serves as dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and special advisor to the United Nations secretary-general on climate change. Bob drew on his experience working in climate change, educational leadership, and public policy to urge our educators to help students prepare for the local and global responsibilities they will assume as adult citizens.

The Taipei delegation included 16 Global Scholars teachers and school administrators, visiting the Madrid Regional Ministry of Education to learn from their expertise in implementing the Global Scholars curriculum in digital classrooms. We were delighted to host more than 100 of our educators at a welcome reception in Madrid.

Our first Facebook Live conversation featured two educators from Madrid and two from Taipei, who shared their experiences of international collaboration as participants in Global Scholars.

View Bob Orr’s complete remarks here (7-minute video.)

Global Cities staff met with educators (and residents) at the NY Aquarium


In last week’s post, we previewed the 2018-19 curriculum, World of Water, and promised a few more behind-the-scenes glimpses. OK, Global Scholars education team, what can you give us for our patience?

1   Which unit of World of Water contains the most surprises for students?

Each unit and lesson can be surprising in different ways for different students. The biggest surprises come in the e-classroom discussion boards when students share their local experiences, cultures, and perspectives. They’re the ones creating surprises for each other and for us! Discovering the commonalities we all share around the globe, and the unique reasons behind our differences, is always a surprising adventure in Global Scholars.

2   Can you give some examples of how you’re tailoring professional development to this curriculum?

Water can be an elusive topic for adults as much as young people. We just don’t spend much time thinking about how water gets to our tap, how it is managed in our cities, or how our city water systems interact with natural waterways nearby. We’ll be guiding educators through this discovery process so they can guide their students through it as well.

3.  What is the connection between the curriculum and global competency skills?

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Do you see a duck? A rabbit? Unit 1 focuses on seeing more than one perspective

This year’s curriculum will support the building of skills and understandings that are important foundations of our student learning outcomes, which include both global learning outcomes (Appreciation for Diversity, Cultural Understanding, Global Knowledge, and Global Engagement) and the general learning outcomes that support them (Digital Literacy, Language Communication, Self-Efficacy, Academic Engagement, and Critical Thinking). Unit 1 begins to build toward these outcomes with important lessons on perspective-taking. Our PDs this year will help educators understand what building those capacities looks like in the classroom and what to expect from students as they think and grow through the process.

4.   Finally, what is it like to work in a team to create a new curriculum?  

Working in a team to create the curriculum is a lot like the process we guide students through for their group projects. First we brainstorm and research by interviewing experts, going on field trips, and doing lots of reading (online, newspapers, books). Then we make a plan—the curriculum outline—and create a first draft. We go through many cycles of testing it out and revising. Each year, we have about a dozen Global Scholars educators from diverse countries and perspectives give feedback on a draft of the student workbook before we make final revisions. We want to make sure the curriculum will work as best as it can in all the different contexts in which it is taught. We also have a content expert, such as a university professor who specializes in the subject matter, review and give us feedback. This year, Global Scholars educators also met with the education team (and several schools of inhabitants) at the New York Aquarium.

The Global Scholars e-classroom opened on September 24. Throughout the year, follow us on Twitter and Facebook

World of Water curriculum


SEPTEMBER 20, 2018

Q&A: WHy "World of Water"?


Dive into the new Global Scholars curriculum

Global. Urban. Relevant to students ages 10-13 in cities around the world.  Each year, the Global Scholars Education Team challenges itself to find that just-right topic for a new, original curriculum. It’s got to involve real science, opportunities for project-based learning, and chances to develop global competency skills such as appreciation for diversity and critical thinking. But it’s also got to be cool.

It’s likely that students will be able to see connections between the curriculum and their local news and experiences

The 2018-19 winner is World of Water, which invites students to explore the role of water in our lives, cities, and world.  Just how did it clinch the top spot?  We sat down with the education team for a deeper dive.

1.       Why water?

Water is a topic that can be discussed on so many levels from the personal to the global, cultural to geographical. Water has also been in the news lately, in the United States and globally, increasing people’s awareness about climate change, plastic waste in oceans, and inequities in water access. It’s likely that students will be able to see connections between the curriculum and their local news and experiences

2.       What’s new since Global Scholars first looked at water in 2014-15?

The 2018-19 curriculum covers many of the same topics, but the information is updated to reflect new knowledge in the field. We’ve also learned about the types of activities and discussions that are most engaging for students and that foster the development of our global and general learning outcomes. For example, interviews with community members are a wonderful authentic learning opportunity and generate high levels of student interest and exchange in the discussion boards.

3.       Since the curriculum is project-based, can you preview any of the end-of-unit digital projects?

Each Global Scholars unit ends with a multimedia project.

It’s always a fun puzzle to figure out the end-of-unit projects so that students will be able to apply what they’ve learned throughout the unit and also gradually build the skills they’ll need for the end-of-year community action project. Among the adventures this year:

  • a school-based water audit

  • an exploration of a local waterway

  • a community survey of local water issues.

Prezi, VoiceThread, Piktochart, and Adobe Spark are the digital tools we’re recommending this year.

4.       Will there be a board game?

Yes! We’ve been working on it all summer. It’s been fun to play each version in the office and create a game-based learning experience about water security around the world. It takes a lot of fine-tuning to make a game work both as a game and as a learning tool. Watch for this one in Unit 4.

Stay tuned for three more insights into World of Water in next week’s blost post! 

The Global Scholars e-Classroom opens on September 24, 2018. We can’t wait to see old friends and to meet new ones.

Meantime, have a look at the full World of Water curriculum.  


JULY 11, 2018

Taipei: Fighting food waste one rice ball at a time

TAIPEI.  Global Scholars in Taipei, Taiwan had everything they needed for a successful Community Action Project, although they confessed to some self-doubt. First, they reviewed data from a school survey they had conducted as part of Feeding our Cities

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Taipei students were stunned to see how much food was wasted

  1. They learned that Taipei schools throw out 10 tons of food each day.

  2. When they interviewed a local food worker, they learned that nearby tea shop workers threw out “a huge amount of fruit peel and tea leaves.”

  3. Many students disliked school lunch. (“Sometimes it is greasy. Sometimes it's too bland. Once we had bubble milk tea and we found milk powder at the bottom of the drink. These make us doubt if the food is cooked properly.”)

For the final Community Action Project, Global Scholars knew they needed to search for bite-sized solutions to global problems, something they could do in their own schools and cities to make an immediate difference.

They brainstormed and came up with a multi-part solution to food waste, even to disappointing lunches:

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Project 1: Rice balls

“We plan to shape the leftover rice from our school lunch into round rice balls using beeswax cloth.”

Project 2: disappointing lunch

“After we talked with our principal, we decided to take photos of the leftover school lunch and make posters to ask the school lunch company to provide fresher and healthy school lunch. “

Project 3: recycling fruit peel

"We are collecting the fruit peel from the tea shops and our school lunch to make dishwashing soap!"

Learning to Take Action

Food waste was one challenge; skepticism about taking on such a large challenge was another. “Students think these projects are fun, but they still doubt if they can make a change in school and community,” reported their teacher, Lingyun Chang.

“The hardest part will be to make our action project successful,” confesses a Taipei Global Scholar.

Self-efficacy is one of the general learning outcomes that global digital education can advance. Global Cities defines self-efficacy as the ability and motivation to learn, adapt, take action, and put forth one’s best effort, particularly in challenging situations. Research suggests that students start to develop self-efficacy during the middle school years. (Here is a helpful overview by Frank Pajares.)

That doesn’t mean that students ages 10-13 need to solve the world’s problems before summer arrives. But they do benefit from identifing problems and taking local action. A global e-classroom provides exposure to new problems and allows students to consider the impact their actions might have on their peers, communities, and even world.


Taipei students found ideas and encouragement for their Community Action Project in the Global Scholars e-classroom. They also found inspiration in their community, visiting a local nature park to see how a professional created something delicious and healthy from food on-hand.

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Encouraged, the students began to collect leftover rice from their lunches. They completed their poster advocating for better lunches, securing signatures of support from teachers as well as the principal. They even worked with local tea shops to collect leftover fruit peel.

Each action helped students envision small actions with clear personal pay-offs. The rice balls, for instance, would not only salvage food leftover from lunch, but would fend off a common afternoon problem among middle school students: "it can make me not hungry in the afternoon." 

Early results are promising. The school lunch vendor, for instance, "accepted our opinion and poster and have committed themselves to providing students better school lunch next semester!" 

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Taipei students present a poster with 129 signatures to the school lunch vendor

As for sharing rice balls with other classes, Lingyun reports: “The students eat the rice balls they make! We are sharing the idea with other classes so that they can make their rice balls if they want to 😊” Inspiring others is a form of community action, too.

What would Taipei students tell other students? “They can make stuff and make a difference,” said Aashika. George added: “My advice is to continue trying, no matter if you think it is going to fail, because from my experience, to give up is to throw away your chance.”

See community action projects around the world on Twitter by following the hashtag #GlobalScholarsTakeAction.


JUNE 20, 2018

Growing a Better Breakfast in Detroit

DETROIT, MI. “We discovered that there is not a place near us to get fresh fruits and vegetables,” reported fifth and sixth grade classes in Detroit, Michigan. “We saw that we eat unhealthy snacks, and that children in other countries eat similar things!”

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The students connected this insight to their final project for Global Scholars, a Community Action Project, which asked them to apply global lessons locally. They had been studying issues such as food waste and food deserts in cities around the world as part of the Feeding Our Cities curriculum. So they decided to turn a neglected courtyard into a community garden for their own school.

Their reward: fresh strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and even maple syrup, with generous servings of self-efficacy, digital literacy, and global engagement on the side.

See what they have to say about the project, below. 

Our Twitter Series is following Global Scholars classes around the world as they launch Community Action Projects. Have a look! #GlobalScholarsTakeAction

Q&A with Global Scholars: detroit

Q. What did you set out to do and what did you do?
A. We wanted a garden that would have food that students would eat. We planted strawberries. We have one raised bed with tomatoes and cucumbers that we started from seeds indoors.
Q. What positive effects have you already seen from your community action project? 
A. We are excited to go outside and work! Even though we have only one garden bed in, the courtyard looks better because it is cleaned up and tilled. Other people in the school want to help (especially with the tiller), but they cannot! It is our project.
Q. What advice would you share with another class starting the same kind of project?
A. Doing a survey to see what people would eat, and then seeing if it would grow here was a big help. Look way in advance for a grant or do fundraisers to get money for your project. Make sure everyone knows the chores and has a tool so that no one is playing or not doing anything.

The students benefitted from local generosity, as Lowe’s donated five raised garden beds and a community member donated six maple tapping kits. (See video for details.)

Now the students look to the courtyard and see a world of possibility.

“Maybe next year we can plant a vegetable from another country. Instead of shipping food, we could get it right here,” said one student. Global knowledge, eco-friendly transportation, and a local food source, all in one good idea.  Well-done, Global Scholars.

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We pulled some giant weeds


Everyone loved the tiller

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Plot twist: maple syrup!


JUNE 13, 2018

Celebrating Community Action, Global Connections

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Global Scholars Buffalo  welcomed 200 to year-end event

BUFFALO, NY. While exploring their school’s food environment earlier this year, middle school students at Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence—P.S. 89 in Buffalo, NY—noticed that there were few sources of healthy food nearby, and that some students couldn’t identify benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Across town at P.S. 81, students conducted a survey of food waste and were surprised to see how much good, healthy food was thrown away daily at their school. At Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy P.S. 76, students discussed the difficulties of growing food year-round in the northeastern Buffalo climate.

So each class took action.

These problems and solutions came into focus last Wednesday, June 6, at the Culmination Program for Global Scholars Buffalo, in which students from eight Buffalo middle schools showed off their Community Action Projects.

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  • P.S. 89 planned a school community garden, won a grant from Whole Kids Foundation for seeds and materials, and built it to grow healthy produce and educate the community. Now they will partner with the Buffalo Farm to School program to deliver fresh garden food directly to school cafeterias. (Scroll down to see their video!)
  • P.S. 81 wrote a cookbook to offer families—and the school cafeteria—delicious ways to prevent food waste. Carrots alone could become carrot chips, carrot soup, or glazed carrots. The Home Economics class demonstrated another option, converting ripe bananas to banana oatmeal muffins to serve at the Culmination Event.
  • P.S. 79 envisioned a school community garden with a self-watering innovation that could run year-round and use water wisely. 

"It was a showcase of what students have learned and accomplished this year in Global Scholars," said Pamela Littere, Instructional Technology Coach at Buffalo Public Schools. "The teachers and students did a wonderful job sharing their experiences with the many students, parents, school leaders, teachers, and community members who attended the event."  

"In future I could use
what I learned in Global Scholars
by helping to stop food waste."
Global Scholar, Buffalo

Buffalo is one of 64 cities participating in Global Scholars worldwide, allowing students ages 10 through 13 to connect with one another and to share projects and observations as they follow a shared curriculum. This year's theme was Feeding Our Cities. Students study global issues that affect all cities, such as food security and access to clean water, and the final Community Action Project lets them see that their actions make a difference.

"In the future I could use what I learned in Global Scholars by helping to stop food waste," said one Buffalo student. "I could plant my own food. Also, I could travel easier since I know a little about other countries in the world."

A highlight of Wednesday's Culmination Program was a live Skype chat with Global Scholars from Seoul, South Korea. Details such as time of day, what's for lunch, and today's weather become magical when shared with peers halfway across the world. Throughout the year, most of the interaction in Global Scholars is digital. Students post projects and ideas to the e-classroom and comment on the work of their international peers, learning to use English in a formal online setting, to communicate respectfully, and to share opinions and digital-project tips. In turn, they receive first-hand reports on a thrilling range of cities and perspectives.

VIDEO: Global Scholars at P.S. 89 in Buffalo document their journey from idea to school community garden.

"The most important thing I have learned about ways of life around the world through Global Scholars is that everyone is different and unique," said a Buffalo student, "and to accept another person's culture."


Find out more about the link between global digital education and student learning outcomes.

Feeding Our Cities: Global Scholars Launch Community Action Projects


April 20, 2018

Follow Along as Students in Detroit, Taipei and Other Global Cities Put Food Lessons to Use

 After studying urban farms, students in Barcelona visited a local artichoke farm created on an abandoned lot. As a next step, they will launch their own food-related community action project.

After studying urban farms, students in Barcelona visited a local artichoke farm created on an abandoned lot. As a next step, they will launch their own food-related community action project.

Get your work boots on, because Global Scholars in 64 cities are launching year-end Community Action projects and we are following along in our new Twitter Series, #GlobalScholarsTakeAction! We’ll cheer on all classes and travel step-by-step with Detroit and Taipei. Discussions are just beginning in these classes about what community action means, what local food issues they might want to tackle, and how they will go about it. We’ll share each week on Twitter from our handle @GlobalCitiesOrg.  Join us!

Global Connections, Local Surprises

Middle school students have many “aha” moments as they study the global food system. Many didn’t know the distances some foods travel to reach their plates. Others didn’t realize how much of their food is grown locally. Most reported shock when they learned how much food is wasted in the course of feeding a city or a school.

Global Scholars ages 10-13 have spent the past 8 months studying “Feeding Our Cities.” They started with their own cities, interviewing food workers, surveying their schools on food waste, and creating posters, infographics, and videos of their findings. Then they shared digital projects with 13,000 peers around the world via our secure e-classroom and discussed one another’s work. Those global connections are coming in handy now, as students take global lessons back home.

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The year-end Community Action Projects hold multiple potential benefits for students and for their cities. For students, taking action helps drive home the lessons of the project-based Global Scholars curriculum. Each curriculum unit ends with a digital project, and throughout the school year students are encouraged to make connections between their studies and the world they inhabit. They design 3D inventions to imagine how farming innovations might work in their own cities, for instance, and discover with amazement not only new digital skills, but also how vertical farming might work in the opposite climates of Buffalo and Abu Dhabi. Global knowledge comes with a shared “wow.”

We were surprised that they throw away food
at the end of the day. We are going to talk about what we can do to rectify this situation.
— Global Scholar, age 12 Boston/Everett, Massachusetts

The community project takes the project-based approach beyond the classroom and even the e-classroom, asking students to step into their school courtyards, local parks, or wherever they see a need and a possible solution. Students tap critical thinking as they observe that some members of their community need food, while others throw away excess. They develop a new sense of self-efficacy as they brainstorm solutions. And as they share discoveries and plans with distant peers, self-efficacy can turn into global engagement. It’s one thing to imagine ways to irrigate your urban farm in Madrid; it’s another when a kid your age in Cape Town couldn’t do that because of a water ration.  

Seeing how students your age respond to the same assignment in different ways prompts productive conversations about diversity and the many factors that influence perspective, such as climate and culture.

No Better Time to Address Perspective

“Kids have enough cognitive ability at this age to be pretty sophisticated on perspective-taking,” says Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Professor of Child Development at Columbia University. “Looking at other cultures and cities is a perfect activity for this age because they can take the other perspective, which is much harder to do than if we were focusing this program on second and third graders.” In other words, an important window into global citizenship opens in middle school.

Cities benefit from a new cadre of informed, engaged, digitally-literate community members. The hope is that they will also benefit from whatever solution the students propose and build to address the common challenge of #FeedingOurCities.

The overall goal of Global Scholars is to build global competency skills for today’s students, who are after all tomorrow’s global citizens. The program advances four critical student learning outcomes of global education, identified by Global Cities: appreciation for diversity, cultural understanding, global knowledge, and global engagement. The last point includes communicating and collaborating with diverse communities to find solutions to global problems—and no better place to get started on those problems than locally. 

So follow us on Twitter at @GlobalCitiesOrg, or just search for the hashtag #GlobalScholarsTakeAction!  And thank you students and teachers; we need all the solutions we can find.


Global Cities, Inc. Paris Symposium: What We Heard and What We Learned


OCTOBER 26, 2017


After a day of robust discussions and enlightening presentations from global learning leaders and educators at our symposium in Paris on Monday, Marjorie B. Tiven, our founder and president, shared our charge for the future: “We need to develop students’ abilities to solve complex global problems. We need to embrace global learning, preparing students to appreciate diversity and value cultural understanding. Global knowledge and global engagement are an important part of what our schools have to teach. Schools need to prepare students for adult roles in their complex globalized futures.”

The event, Students and the Global Edge: Evaluating the Global Digital Education Experience, hosted by Global Cities, Inc. and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), provided an opportunity to share our efforts to better articulate student outcomes with measurable indicators. International digital exchange educators are creating the educational experiences and cross-cultural learning that is allowing us to assess global competency in the classroom.

Our symposium addressed our work to make student outcomes explicit, an essential step to establishing metrics. It also stressed the power of ideas that create for our students and ourselves a greater awareness of self and a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.  Andreas Schleicher, Director of Education and Skills at OECD, said at the symposium, “Let’s teach global competencies in a new school subject. The key is really how can we make [it] everybody’s idea that it is natural for someone who teaches mathematics to [also] teach divergent thinking. That it is natural for someone who teaches history to teach us the history from multiple lenses and … cultural perspectives.”

The day’s participants shared their energy and expertise, bringing global competency to students around the world. They discussed civic engagement to help adults and students critically assess the flood of information reaching them in the digital age, the importance of using data to build better schools, and the importance of pre- and post-program surveys to build better digital exchange experiences. We are grateful for their dedication and input as we continue our efforts to drive the conversation so that rising generations can take full advantage of the promises of globalization.

Symposium attendees had the opportunity to hear from former Mayor of New York City Mike Bloomberg, who made connections between global learning and the global problems facing society today: “I couldn’t believe more strongly in the importance of the Global Cities program and the Global Scholars, giving students the ability to interact with and understand different cultures. It really is critical to building a brighter future and connecting the world.” Sir Michael Wilshaw, former Chief Inspector of Schools in England, also shared his commitment to giving teachers the support they need to help young people acquire knowledge essential to their own lives and their own communities as well as to the roles they’ll play as adults in the wider world.

Our extensive white paper, “A Framework for Evaluating Student Outcomes in Global Digital Education,” which the symposium previewed, develops ambitious field standards for international digital exchange programs like Global Scholars and identifies measurable student outcomes for these programs. Our website will be a hub for symposium information including video coverage of the speakers and panel discussions; we will also post our white paper there once it is published. In Paris we reflected on the growth of the Global Scholars program and the field of international digital exchange and global education. We look forward to sharing with you our commitment to strengthening and contributing to this vital movement and its community of educators and students.



Paris Symposium to Address Urgent Need for Students to Collaborate with Other Cultures


OCTOBER 19, 2017

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At our symposium in Paris on October 23rd, Global Cities is bringing together leaders in the field of global education to discuss and evaluate the impact of international digital exchange experiences on student outcomes.  We are pleased that Michael R. Bloomberg, three-term Mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, will be opening the meeting.

Mayor Bloomberg’s remarks will touch upon the urgent need for the next generation of students to collaborate with other cultures. The most serious challenges facing the world are global issues such as climate change, terrorism, and food insecurity. Digital exchange programs like Global Scholars emphasize cross-cultural collaboration and preparing students to take on those global challenges.

Global Cities’ Founder and President, Marjorie B. Tiven, will build upon those talking points at the Paris meeting.  She will discuss how schools play a crucial role in cultivating global citizenship, and the need for schools to teach students critical skills like cultural understanding and global knowledge.

The symposium is also a side event of CityLab 2017 in Paris, which you can learn more about here. In addition to comments from Mayor Bloomberg, Marjorie, and other leaders in the field, educators from 14 countries will draw upon their classroom experience to add to the discussion. The event will also be previewing our groundbreaking white paper on identifying standards for measuring student outcomes in international digital exchange programs. Global Cities looks forward to working with and learning from all its participants at the conference.



Global cities welcomes new board members


OCTOBER 11, 2017

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As a new school-year begins, Global Cities Inc. continues to grow as more schools and cities join our Global Scholars network. We are also growing our leadership, and we are delighted to welcome three new members to our advisory board – Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Charlynn Goins, and John B. King Jr. Our new board members bring a rich and varied set of experiences in the fields of education and youth development.

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development at Columbia University’s Teachers College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and she also is co-director of the National Center for Children and Families. In her work and research, she focuses on family and community influences upon the development of children and youth.

Charlynn Goins is Chairman Emerita of the New York Community Trust, where she served as chair from
2009 through 2014, and continues to serve on its board. From 2008 through 2015, she served on the Board of Directors of Fannie Mae. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Century Association, and the New York Women’s Forum.

John B. King Jr. is President and CEO of the Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. He served as the U.S. Secretary of Education from 2016 to 2017 under President Barack Obama. He is noted for his lifelong commitment to education as a teacher, principal, and school system administrator, and for his passion for advancing educational equality for all students.

The arrival of our new board members is particularly timely as we prepare for our Paris symposium, Students and the Global Edge: Evaluating the Global Education Experience. At the meeting we will release our white paper on best practices for defining and evaluating student outcomes in the field of international digital exchange. Global Cities looks forward to drawing on the guidance of both our new and existing board members for these upcoming milestones and for our greater mission of cultivating the next generation of global citizens.



evaluating the global education experience with influencers in global learning


OCTOBER 4, 2017

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Plans for our upcoming symposium in Paris are underway, and we are especially excited about bringing together some of the influencers in global learning. The expertise of the participants at Students and the Global Edge: Evaluating the Global Education Experience will help us develop, implement, and evaluate outcomes standards for international digital exchanges.

The discussion will include Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills. OECD recognizes the need for young people across cultures to develop global competencies and will begin testing on this topic in 2018 as part of its PISA exam. The OECD report, Global competency for an inclusive world, explores how an increasingly globalized world will require young people to collaborate across cultures to solve complex issues facing their generation.

Participating as well will be Sir Michael Wilshaw, formerly Chief Inspector of Schools in England and former head of the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted). Sir Michael worked to reform England’s evaluation standards, advocating such innovative assessment metrics as student emotional health and preparedness for employment.

Liz Dawes Duraisingh, a principal investigator in the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Out of Eden Learn program, will bring to the gathering her perspective on how an online learning community can promote cross-cultural inquiry and exchange among students throughout the world. Much of Liz’s work has focused on encouraging young people to be curious about their world and the value of exchanging stories with peers from other cultures.

The symposium will provide a forum for thoughtful discussion on best practices for defining and evaluating student outcomes in the field of digital exchange, which is the subject of our white paper. Global Cities is grateful for the many global learning leaders and organizations that share our dedication to preparing students for their future roles as world citizens.



Global cities to evaluate the impact of digital exchange programs


SEPTEMBER 19, 2017

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Education leaders and teachers are eager to help their students learn about each other and cultivate skills for global citizenship.  Global Scholars, a program operated by Global Cities, Inc., has been a leader in this area; last year, more than 10,000 students in 26 countries participated in our peer-to-peer digital exchange program.

Global Cities is sponsoring the Students and the Global Edge: Evaluating the Global Education Experience symposium this October, bringing educators from our network together in Paris to explore outcomes desired from digital exchange and to discuss how we can evaluate the impact of these programs on students.  

Experts at the convening will include:

  • Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies, and 108th Mayor of New York City
  • Andreas Schleicher, Director of Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Tony Travers, Director of Government at the London School of Economics
  • Ester Fuchs, Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University
  • Morris J. Vogel, former President of New York’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum
  • Sir Michael Wilshaw, former Chief Inspector of Schools, England, Head, Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted)

At the meeting, we will present an extensive white paper on digital global exchange and student outcomes, drawing on several years of significant classroom experience from our Global Scholars curricula, platforms and professional development workshops. We’ll join with our participants to consider strategies for evaluating and increasing the effectiveness of digital student exchange programs.

Global Cities is dedicated to readying students to become thoughtful stewards of the human future, and we are excited to build on this work by developing ambitious field standards for international digital exchange.





AUGUST 23, 2017

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In the 2016-17 school year, students and educators from 26 countries and 47 cities participated in the Global Scholars program; 13 of those cities were in the United States and 34 cities outside the U.S. The number of schools participating within each of those cities varies. As the number of participating schools in a particular city expands to include 3 or more schools, it becomes a “hub” city with a “hub” leader or central contact on the ground serving as a liaison with Global Scholars.

Our current hub cities include Barcelona, Boston, Buenos Aires, Buffalo, Fort Lauderdale, London, Madrid, Miami, Mumbai, New York, Taipei, Tel Aviv and Warsaw. For the 2017-18 school year, we are excited to see existing partner cities significantly expand their number of participating schools. In Taipei, Global Scholars will be expanding from 11 to 19 schools. We expect this expansion to continue; in fact, one Taipei school is also revising their English language curriculum in younger grades specifically to better to prepare students for Global Scholars as they reach middle school. This relationship has also been strengthened by having an educator from Taipei working at Global Cities, Inc. this summer, providing valuable feedback and support to our team and curriculum development.

One of the advantages to hub cities is the enhanced interaction among local teachers through professional development and networking. Cities with expanded participation are also able to host events where students and educators come together for end of year celebrations or large Skype sessions with international cities. We look forward to more cities across the globe expanding their participation with Global Scholars.


Middle School is a Critical Time to Develop Global Competency Skills


JUNE 29, 2017

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Beginning in 2018, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test for 15-year-olds, administered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), will include global competency. Middle school is a critical time for young people to develop skills for living in an inter-connected world and participating in a workforce where they will be communicating with people from around the globe.

Model initiatives to prepare students for an inclusive world are being tested today through international digital exchanges, such as our Global Scholars program. Our worldwide network of 10,500 students age 10-13 provides the opportunity to gain global competency skills, attitudes and behavior, with no fee to schools. Urban school districts are encouraged to apply to the Global Scholars program. Priority is given to school districts that present an effective plan for providing leadership and support on the district level.

Interested district leaders can email to learn more.


Buffalo Schools Host Global Scholars Culmination Night Featuring Skype Call With Peers in Tokyo


JUNE 19, 2017

Buffalo Public School students who have participated in the Global Scholars program this year came together on June 8 with educators, parents, and administrators to celebrate and showcase their student work. Speakers at the event included Assistant Superintendent of Buffalo City School District Dr. Fatima Morrell, and Meg Louis, Vice President of Global Cities, Inc., as well as a few Global Scholars who also came up to the podium to present their work to the audience.

The event culminated in a Skype call between Buffalo students and their Global Scholars peers in Tokyo, Japan. The students exchanged questions with each other about their favorite parts of the program, information about their cities and schools, and their favorite sports, music, food, and books. Global Scholars from both sides were excited to find out about several shared interests.

The Global Scholars curriculum ends with students creating a Community Action Project that makes a difference in their school or city. One of the projects displayed at the event featured students who partnered with a felt manufacturing company that was disposing their excess felt in a landfill. The students repurposed the excess felt and designed products such as wallets, bags, and cardholders, which were successfully sold at an art fair. Throughout the year these Buffalo students learned about the links between technology and sustainability, saw an opportunity to develop a project, and were able to address a local issue through investigation and collaboration.

#60Lessons Twitter Chat on June 7


JUNE 5, 2017

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We are excited to host a Twitter chat on Wednesday, June 7 at 8 p.m. (ET) to discuss global education and Fernando Reimers’s new book, Empowering Students to Improve the World in Sixty Lessons. Using the hashtag #60Lessons, we will bring together educators and supporters of global education to share our interest in global learning and tools and insights for the classroom and beyond.

Here is a preview of the questions we will use to guide our conversation on Wednesday:

1.  What is global citizenship education to you, and why is it important?

2.  What opportunities help students understand the world in which they live, and how they can learn to improve it?

3.  What tools and resources can help schools include global education in their curricula?

4.  What challenges do educators face including global competencies in their lesson plans?

5.  How can we better prepare students to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world?


Follow us @globalcitiesorg -- we look forward to chatting with you! 


A New Resource for Teaching Students to Understand, Care About and Improve the World


May 25, 2017

As a member of our Advisory Board, Fernando M. Reimers shares in our mission to create opportunities for students to learn about the world and take action as innovators and thinkers. In his new book, Empowering Students to Improve the World in Sixty Lessons, Professor Reimers has joined with his students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to provide tools and a curriculum prototype for teachers and school leaders who recognize the importance of including global learning in K-12 education systems.

Professor Reimers defines global citizenship education as: “supporting educators so that schools can enhance human rights, educate about shared global challenges, educate for engaged citizenship, focus on dispositions and values as much as skills, and attend to the conditions that make it possible for schools to be effective in achieving these goals.” With praise from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that is planning to assess global competence in PISA 2018, this book is a welcome resource for educators around the globe who are motivating students to appreciate cultural differences and change the world.


Global Cities, Inc. Joins with Out of Eden Learn to Cultivate the Next Generation of Global Citizens


April 26, 2017

Our Global Scholars program offers educators a constructive approach to counter recent trends of xenophobia and intolerance. Using digital technology, students interact across different cultures, gaining an appreciation for diversity and curiosity about the world at an early age. In this effort, we have found common ground with Out of Eden Learn (OOEL), developed by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Global Cities, Inc. has committed $250,000 to OOEL’s online learning community that fosters thoughtful cross-cultural inquiry and exchange.

As presenters at our symposium last year on The Future of International Digital Learning, OOEL shares our interest in evaluating student outcomes in digital exchanges. Students who participate in these programs are learning from one another in e-classrooms that are geographically diverse. Global Scholars and Out of Eden Learn provide cross-disciplinary curricula that support broader school-specific goals and motivate students to develop an interest in learning about the world and solving global problems. 

“The world has its dangers, just as your hometown does,” said Paul Salopek, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow, speaking to OOEL students who are following Paul on his Out of Eden Walk around the world. He added: “The world is your home, too. Don’t fear it.” Whether building cultural understanding, sparking a desire to communicate or connecting peers around the world, Out of Eden Learn is helping to cultivate the next generation of global citizens. We are pleased to have them as an ally in the vital field of global education.


Announcing "Feeding Our Cities"


MARCH 14, 2017

We are pleased to announce the all-new Global Scholars curriculum for the next school year, leading students worldwide through the complex systems that grow and distribute food to the world.

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Whether you are new to Global Scholars or a multi-year veteran, please contact us to reserve your school's spot in next year's e-classroom. Limited space is available for public school districts worldwide.

How an International e-Classroom Inspires Tech Learning


FEBRUARY 14, 2017

Digital skills. Cross-cultural savvy. Today's middle school students need both to become tomorrow's global citizens. Educators using the international digital exchange program Global Scholars—and one inventor—came together in New York City on February 7 to discuss the benefits of connecting 10,500 students ages 10-13 through global e-classrooms.


Ayah Bdeir, Founder and CEO of LittleBits, added: “The way we approach it—and I think it’s in line with the Global Scholars program—is, we want to equip students to be problem-solvers, to be critical-thinkers so that they can themselves invent the world they want to live in and be adaptable to whatever comes their way. We can help them become collaborative creators.”

“The most important aspect of Global Scholars—at least the one that I value the most—is motivation,” explained Xavier Cortina, Educator at Institut Vall de Llemena in Girona, Spain. “They are sharing their knowledge with students the same age. They use their knowledge of other subjects in a really practical and meaningful way. The students know that the products that they make will not stay inside the classroom but it will be seen by a lot of people.”

Our e-Classroom is Growing


JANUARY 17, 2017

Welcoming New Cities: Abu Dhabi, Beijing (pictured), Buffalo, Chengdu, Gothenburg, Houston, Manila, Oakland, Providence, St. Louis, Singapore and Tokyo


Global Scholars Participants:

More than 10,500 students ages 10-13 in 47 cities, 26 countries, on five continents

Global Scholars is the signature program of Global Cities, Inc., a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies. There are no fees to schools for participation in Global Scholars. Space is available for urban public school districts. Priority is given to districts that enroll multiple schools and provide local leadership. If you are a district leader interested in finding out more, please email