Bridges to the World
Bridges to the World is a newly-developed educational program initiated by the Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) to raise awareness about the world, its countries, and its peoples. There are three primary arenas for which raising awareness is important in the world today: education—to understand the historical, political, and economic significance of the countries and regions; culture—to understand the people of these countries and better appreciate their diversity and uniqueness; heritage—to increase and enhance the personal and community connections to countries around the world provided through the heritage and cultural organizations in the Greater Cleveland area.
CCWA’s mission is to increase awareness and engage our area’s citizens in issues of global significance. The Council’s education department works with teachers and students in Northeast Ohio to develop global awareness. We accomplish this through educational programs such as the Model United Nations that has been hosted by the Council for 65 years. The Ohio Department of Education is urging school districts to internationalize the curriculum in order to better prepare students for the positions they will assume as future citizens of the world. We understand that it is imperative to provide educational programs that are relevant for the youth of our urban area as they explore beyond their neighborhoods and as they proceed along their education and career paths.
Goals of this project are:
1) to create a program for Ohio educators that will provide them with the educational background and curricular tools needed to increase knowledge about the world, cultures, and peoples;
2) to raise awareness about the issues affecting regions of the world and to discover the relevancy of those issues for Northeast Ohio citizens; and
3) to partner with community groups to develop programs with educational and cultural relevance to educators, students, and other community members.
The Bridges to the World program is tied closely with the Council’s overall mission of education. With this program we will work with community partners to develop components of the project, such as:
• providing opportunities for students to interact with international visitors through CCWA’s International Visitor Program and speakers through public lectures and programs in collaboration with CCWA’s Public Programs department
• facilitating teacher workshops, institutes, and educational exchanges cooperatively with higher education institutions and local school districts
• pursuing curricular materials development and/or identification of existing curriculum
• creating partnerships with community and cultural programs
During the 2008-2009 school year, the Council implemented a pilot program with the John Hay School of Science and Medicine in collaboration with Edward Weber, the school’s principal. The Council’s Director of Education worked with Mr. Weber at John as we began an initiative called Bridges to Africa
. We have since broadened the initiative to be Bridges to the World
. On three separate occasions throughout the year, when the Council had a speaker scheduled for an evening public presentation, a local resource person met with a group of students from John Hay to orient them to the country/region as well as to assist them in formulating questions for the speaker. This orientation took place 7 to 10 days prior to the speaker’s arrival. This school year, Dr. Meshack Owino of CSU provided the orientation prior to a presentation by the Ambassador to the US from Kenya as well as a presentation by the Ambassador to the US from Lesotho. In addition, Dr. Behane Ghaim form Baldwin Wallace provided the orientation prior to a presentation by Majka Burhardt on Ethiopia.
In evaluating the format of this pilot, the school and the Council were very positive and encouraging. The success of the initiative suggested that the Council replicate what has been done through the partnership with John Hay through the use of technology to provide more CMSD students the opportunity to connect with speakers and visitors from around the world. The proposal is to partner with WVIZ/IdeaStream
using distance learning technology.
As the proposal is put together, here are the ideas. During the 2009-2010 school year, as speakers for the Public Programs and visitors through the International Visitors Program would be scheduled to be in Cleveland, background would first be provided on the speakers’/visitors’ country/countries a week to 10 days before their arrival by broadcasting through distance learning at WVIZ to high schools within CMSD. Other schools within the WVIZ network could also participate, but the primary audience is CMSD. The broadcast would allow for interaction between the speaker and the students. This model would be used again when the speaker(s)/visitor(s) arrived in Cleveland. The Cleveland Council on World Affairs hopes this proposal sounds appealing. In addition, CCWA would work with CMSD High Schools for visits as was in our pilot with John Hay this year. The CCWA has had correspondence with Duane Olderman regarding technology in the High Schools.