I'm pleased to introduce iEARN-USA's Impact Update—a quarterly newsletter sharing the impact of our global programs and partnerships. This first edition includes highlights from 2016 and upcoming activities in the first quarter of 2017 for iEARN and iEARN-USA, BRIDGE, YES and NSLI-Y.
This past year was a busy one! At the end of 2016, we launched a new website, as well as a new mission and vision statement to better reflect our purpose and goals. "The mission of iEARN-USA is to empower young people, their schools and their communities through global collaboration and transformative learning in order to create a more interconnected, peaceful and just world."
I thank you, as a friend and partner of iEARN-USA, for your support and I look forward working together in 2017 to continue to empower young people, support educators and transform learning. We’d love to hear your feedback! Thank you!
Dr. Tonya Muro
Last fall we produced the 2016-2017 iEARN Project Book - a comprehensive and updated guide to iEARN Global Projects - all aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Included in the guide are 94 iEARN projects from 119 project facilitators in 40 countries.
In October 2016, iEARN-USA sponsored the mobile app for the Global Education Forum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nearly 400 people attended the annual event.
iEARN sponsored and participated in the 7th Annual Global Education Conference in November 2016, leading more than 18 sessions with presenters from 14 countries, including a keynote by Executive Director Tonya Muro on virtual exchange. View the session recordings.
On December 7, 2016, 16 students, their teachers and parents from Helen Keller Middle School in Easton, Connecticut were invited to the United Nations to present on the iEARN Global Project "Water is Life" for the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development. Read about their journey.
With the support of a generous grant from the Longview Foundation, iEARN-USA will be producing the Teachers’ Guide to Global, Collaborative Teaching and Learning, a new effort to bring together resources and opportunities for global collaboration. Submissions of projects and resources for inclusion in the guide are currently being accepted.
Registration is now open for the 2017 iEARN Conference and Youth Summit in Marrakech, Morocco July 17-22, and hosted by the Moroccan Education and Resource Network (MEARN). Educators, students, program staff, officials and partners from more than 50 countries are expected to attend, including iEARN-USA.
In 2017 we're expanding the Global Education Ambassadors (GEA) program (with the generous support of a donor), an opportunity for current iEARN-USA educators to take on a leadership role in the iEARN-USA network. GEA's serve as regional representatives, support recruitment and training of new iEARN educators, and participate in professional development opportunities to continue building leadership skills in global education.
iEARN-USA is currently implementing the BRIDGE Program (Building Respect through International Dialogue & Global Education) part of the Aspen Institute's Stevens Initiative, a tribute to late Ambassador Chris Stevens. In the first year of the program 150 teachers from 10 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as well as the U.S. participated in professional development and international networking, More than 1,000 students in MENA and the U.S. collaborated in global projects.
Since the start of the program, experienced iEARN facilitators have conducted 15 in-person workshops in all of the participating countries. These workshops prepared educators for online professional development, cross-cultural collaboration with teachers from other countries, as well as reviewed the essentials of online exchange and project-based learning.
In December, iEARN-USA’s BRIDGE Program Coordinator, Rachel Manley, conducted site visits at three schools in Winchester Public School District in Winchester, VA, including John Handley High School where she observed a Hunger Banquet as part of iEARN’s global project “Finding Solutions to Hunger.” Visit the BRIDGE website later this year for video of the event.
The Spring activities of the BRIDGE Program will kick off in the end of January 2017 with another round of in-person workshops, followed by the online educator course in February. Online professional development will include synchronous videoconferencing, recorded webinars, and activities for student preparation.
In May 2016, The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) team - in collaboration with the YES Consortium partners - led the third annual Alumni Association Leader Training in South Africa with 27 alumni leaders from 24 countries.
YES Alumni lead a Community Health webinar on July 25, 2016, featuring Ashfaq Hussain, YES ‘15 alumnus from Pakistan and Joyce Kilikpo Jarwolo, Founder and Executive Director of Public Health Initiative Liberia (PHIL), a national public health organization that works to improve and increase access to quality health care for Liberians.
YES ‘16 Alumni in Sierra Leone, Joseph Kebbie, Hawa Dominica Yokie, John Kpaka , were awarded a $10,000 grant from the US Embassy to implement a project that empowers girls ages 3-6 through STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) learning.
In January 2017, iEARN YES Coordinators will finalize the selection of 168 high school students to make up the 2017-2018 YES cohort.
The iEARN YES Team is collaborating with the AMIDEAST YES team to plan an Interfaith Harmony Online Workshop to coincide with UN World Interfaith Harmony Week in February. Learn more about the workshop.
iEARN-USA's National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Interactive team organized and facilitated six virtual events, connecting NSLI-Y students in Korea, Moldova, Morocco, India, Tajikistan and Taiwan, and NSLI-Y alumni, with classrooms in the U.S. and language and culture enthusiasts.
NSLI-Y Alumni presented in two sessions during the 7th Annual Global Education Conference: “Sharing International Exchange Through Multimedia” and "Host Family Experiences in Study Abroad."
Mackenzie Hale, one of iEARN-USA's NSLI-Y Academic Year students currently in Taiwan, was honored as the American Abroad Student of the Month in October 2016, administered by the U.S. Department of State.
In 2017, iEARN-USA's NSLI-Y Interactive Team will again organize and facilitate six virtual events, including its first-ever virtual event focused on the theme of inter-religious dialogue in Morocco on January 17, 2017. Stay up to date on these exciting events by signing up for the NSLI-Y Interactive Virtual Events newsletter.
iEARN-USA's NSLI-Y Team will continue to work with its international partners to support its 19 students currently in Korea and Taiwan through June 2017 and will plan to welcome 100 students to the program this coming summer.