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