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.