Peace Corps Hosts First Global Issues in the Classroom Conference
August 2, 2007WASHINGTON, D.C. August 2, 2007 - The Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools Program held the first Global Issues in the Classroom Conference: "Teach a World of Differences, Make a World of Difference." The one-day conference held on August 1, 2007, featured speeches, panels, and a resource fair aimed at giving educators ideas and tools for integrating global issues into the U.S. classroom. More than 130 educators from around the United States and the world participated in the conference.
Ron Tschetter, Director of the Peace Corps, kicked off the conference with remarks about his experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India, over 40 years ago, and the importance of global education. Dr. Susan Sclafani, Director of the Chartwell Education Group, then spoke about the need to internationalize education in the United States. Dr. Sclafani charged the attendees by saying, "Your job is to be zealots for internationalizing the curriculum from kindergarten and early childhood programs all the way through high school graduation."
Other conference presenters included Sivasailam "Thiagi" Thiagarajan, Matthew Erdman, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Madagascar, and Betsi Shays, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Fiji. Shays currently works at the Office of International Affairs of the U.S. Department of Education. She also challenged the educators at the conference and said, "[Students] need to learn other people's language not only for communication purposes, but because its a sign of respect." The conference also included a resource provider fair featuring organizations such as National Geographic, iEARN, and UNICEF.
Coverdell World Wise Schools fosters an understanding of other cultures and global issues by facilitating communication between Peace Corps Volunteers and U.S. classrooms, and publishing print and online resources based on the Peace Corps experience. The program is named after its founder, the late U.S. Senator and Peace Corps Director Paul D. Coverdell.
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 30-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 187,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.
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