Tag Archives: education

Noah Zeichner featured in Rethinking Schools’ Fall 2013 issue for his article “Rethinking Shit: Excrement and equity.”

Art By Erik Ruin
Erik Ruin

Noah Zeichner teaches the Global Leadership Class at Chief Sealth International High School, which was developed by Global Visionaries for students to have a safe environment to discuss the issues of our world today and what can be done about them. Zeichner often addresses global poverty in his class sessions, and his unit on rethinking shit has quickly become one of his favorites.

Approaching the topic of human waste is uncomfortable at best, especially in the classroom setting. However, Noah Zeichner has found a way to make a lasting impact on his students by approaching the world’s sanitation problem with an immersive perspective, by making his students delve into the topic of shit and how it affects our world. In the early moments of his class session, Zeichner shows his students a clip from the film Slumdog Millionaire of a boy delving through a latrine in Mumbai in order to meet a famous movie star. Zeichner comments, “The latrine scene is disgusting, and our natural reaction is often to laugh. It relaxes the students enough to be able to talk seriously about a seriously gross topic”.  Showing documentaries and film clips that show how truly horrific this problem is, he is able to trigger emotional reactions in his students to interest them and inspire them to learn more.

The spark of inspiration is as simple as learning key facts, such as the scary truth that 40 percent of all humans have nowhere to defecate. To those who have never had to worry about having a place to go to the bathroom besides waiting in a long line at a busy place, this fact may seem shocking and hard to hear; but for those who have to go to the bathroom in the same water they use to cook their food with, it’s all they know. However, Zeichner makes it clear that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Zeichner stresses the importance of looking at the causes and consequences of this global issue, and not just possible solutions that don’t address the root problem. Simply delivering toilets to those in need without educating them on the consequences (and benefits!) of their own human waste isn’t going to do enough. Addressing the imbalance of power and wealth within our world is a necessary step towards change. Altering our current economic policies that favor the wealthy is a crucial element to think about when discussing what can be done to help places in dire need. For Zeichner, change is a possibility through educating his students and inspiring them to educate their friends and families, to one day inspire change globally.

Here at Global Visionaries, we’re focused on the idea that youth leadership can inspire change throughout the globe, and we believe empowering today’s youth is the key to economic and social action. New and innovative ideas spread like wildfire through groups of young people who are truly inspired. We’ve found that one of the best ways to reach youth is by bringing these programs straight to their schools. To find out more about the Global Leadership Class, check out the description found on our website.

To read the full article featured in Rethinking Schools, you can subscribe via their website.

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Intern Insights: What Are We Doing Here?

By Noel Chapman, PR & Communications Intern

image[1] rotatedHello GV Community!

My name is Noel Chapman, and I am a PR and Communications intern.  I introduced myself at the beginning of the year (see Greetings from New GV Intern Noel Chapman), but I wanted to talk to you all in more detail about what I am doing here.

You may have seen me or my classmates around the Global Visionaries office, out and about with Earth Corps or digging in at the Local Roots farm.  We are all a part of the Humanities for Leadership Studies major at Seattle University, but what exactly does that mean and what in the world are we doing at GV?

As I said in my previous article, the Humanities for Leadership Studies (or BAHL as we call it) is a degree that studies both leadership theory and philosophy as well as practical skills that any leader should have.  This major is in direct fulfillment of the last part of Seattle University’s mission: “empowering leaders for a just and humane world.”  Sounds a lot like GV’s mission, “Empowering young people to become global leaders in creating a just and sustainable future,” doesn’t it?

One of the reasons why I love this major is the combination of theoretical discussion and then practical application.  This has occurred in many classes that I have taken for my major requirements so far and is also seen in this internship experience.  It really ensures that I am learning and remembering the information that I get in class.

During the sophomore year of the BAHL degree, we must participate in a local internship.  This is obviously a time for professional development and skill building.  However, our major does not just leave it at that!  We take a class in tandem with our internship.  Fall quarter the class was heavily informational as we learned about organizational theory and culture.  During winter quarter and now spring quarter, we are doing more application than theory as we reflect in papers and present our observations to our classmates.  We focus on applying the knowledge we gained fall quarter.

For those of us at GV, this has been such an incredible learning opportunity.  We have and continue to delve into GV’s organizational culture and how GV really works.  It has enhanced my internship experience so much! Because of the design of this educational experience, I can now say that I learned much more than those basic office skills that any intern can pick up on; I learned how to identify an underlying organizational culture and evaluate how it fits in with the every day functions of the office.

If you have any questions for me after hearing about this program, please feel free to ask (especially any interested high school students)!  I’ll be around the office Wednesday afternoons; so if you’re in, say hi. I promise, interns don’t bite!

GV to Take Part in Third Annual GiveBIG Event on May 15, 2013

TSFGiveBIG2013_color_block_dateGlobal Visionaries is proud to announce that on May 15, 2013, from midnight to midnight (Pacific Time), we will once again take part in The Seattle Foundation’s third annual GiveBIG event. We are joining more than 1,300 other nonprofit organizations on this one-day, online charitable giving event, which aims to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations like GV, who make King County a stronger, more vibrant community for all.

Amplify Your Gift

Join thousands of new and returning individual donors and make an online gift to GV on May 15 and boost your donation even further through matching funds made possible through the generosity of The Seattle Foundation, individual donors, and sponsors like Seattle International Foundation, Bezos Family Foundation, Boeing, Microsoft, Medina Foundation, Starbucks and others.

Follow us on Facebook! Start now by “Liking” us and stay tuned for details. Share our page and help spread the word about our good work.

Remember: only donations made between 12 a.m.-12 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15 through our page on The Seattle Foundation’s website will be eligible for matching funds!

We recommend that you bookmark it so that it’s easy to find on the BIG day.

Letter from the Executive Director

Annual Appeal Header

TOGETHER.
SHAPING THE FUTURE.

“As someone from the south end of Seattle, getting to know kids from Mercer Island
along with my Cleveland High School peers is a powerful thing.
Stereotypes are destroyed and we’re better for it.”

-16 year-old Global Visionaries leader

Greetings,

Thank you for being a member of the Global Visionaries family. Put another way, if you are reading this, I recognize you as a Global Visionary and I am proud to be part of your family.

GV is a catalyst for uniting youth across economic and racial spectrums. Our programs invite young people to recognize and manifest the global leaders that they are. These “spectrums” rarely interact, let alone solve problems together. However, solving global problems is just one part of our mission at GV.

To accomplish this mission, our youth need your support! I ask you to make a gift now to our year-end annual campaign. By doing so, you are empowering young people to become global leaders in creating a just and sustainable future.Please “put in your grain of sand” as Guatemalans say, to enable the GV family to reach our $10,000 Annual Appeal goal.

And here’s the best part – your support will position GV to reach our 2020 Vision:

GV will serve 20% of Seattle public high school youth by 2020

That’s 2,543 youth impacted each year through peer-to-peer education.

I am excited to share with you Global Visionaries’ 2012 Annual Report. This year, we have gone paperless for both our Annual Report and Annual Appeal. I invite you to enjoy the report and to celebrate our many accomplishments.

We thank Spring 2013 participant Fiona Carlile’s fabulous father, Dave Carlile, and his team at Sublime Media, Jeanne Buchler, Ryan Moeck, Corey Campbell, Kirk Kriskovich, David Linder, and Liisa McConnell for beautifully crafting and designing our 2012 Annual Report.

Give to Global Visionaries TODAY to empower young global leaders.

I wish you and your family the very best this holiday season. We look forward to collaborating with you again in 2013!

Grateful for your endless support,

Christopher Fontana
Executive Director, Global Visionaries

The Spark of Social Justice

By Noel Chapman

photo (2)

The last thing I would have wanted to do in high school was sign up to sit in a small room for two hours every Monday night and talk about heavy subjects like sexism, racism, or ageism.  However, this is exactly what the Pro Justice Team at Global Visionaries has committed to doing.

The Pro Justice Team, or PJ as it’s normally called, consists of eight high school students from a variety of schools.  PJ is a part of Youth Board, a program for second year students who have decided to continue to be a part of GV in different leadership positions.

PJ focuses on learning about and educating others regarding “cycles of oppression and privilege” as Tiffany Lumley, Assistant Program Manager, explained.  “They focus on a different ‘ism’ each week and break it down.  They learn ways they can fight that ‘ism’.”

I had to check this out and see for myself what it was that these high school students are learning about each week, and I was blown away by the material that they were actively paying attention to.

This past week PJ had Anita Nath come in and talk to them about the work that she is doing with Unite Here, an organization that helps hospitality employees find a voice.  Anita herself is a boycott organizer and is working with the Hilton and the Edgewater boycotts and marches.

I was stunned to hear these high school students making connections between this local issue and concepts like racism, sexism, and imperialism.  I mean, imperialism?!  Isn’t that something we all learned about once in history and quickly forgot after the quiz?  Apparently not to these PJ members; they were keenly listening to every word that Anita was saying.  I could see the wheels turning in their heads as they were identifying how the abstract “isms” that they have been learning about were actually happening in their own city.

The PJ members learn a language they can use to describe social justice issues around the world.  This is a language I did not come into contact with until college.  They are able to name specific forms of oppression, utilizing labels to take the first step in social change.  To read more about the use of language and naming see former GV intern Tim Takechi’s article.

Not only is the PJ team provided with this terminology, but they are given the opportunity to pass it on to the first year participants.  PJ is in charge of one culture night of the year in which they facilitate the sort of discussions and learning that they have been exposed to the whole year.  They also are in charge of a section of the first year participant’s retreat which has been said to be one of the most powerful parts.

If you want to learn more about what the PJ Team is or get involved in what they are doing you can check out Anita Nath’s work with Unite Here at www.unitehere8.org.  Unite Here even has a Facebook page under the name Unite Here! Local 8 where you can stay updated on the events that are happening in Seattle.

Teach English In Mexico And Get Paid!

Hey GV alumni—are you ready for your next international adventure?

Then you should consider the Global Leadership English School, located in Temascalcingo, Mexico. Here in this picturesque town in the central Mexican highlands, you will have the opportunity to live, work, and study for a year.

The Global Leadership English School, founded and directed by former GV Program Manager Aimee Duran (previously Aimee Hibbets), is now accepting qualified candidates to teach English and leadership skills to local youth.  You can work, earn money, and improve your Spanish, all while having an in-depth, authentic experience in this small community.

For more information about the program, fees and how to apply, see the Global Leadership English School website http://globalleadershipengl.wix.com/globalleadershipengl.

Check us out on Facebook, or email globalleadershipenglish@gmail.com .

Upcoming Diversity Workshop

Global Visionaries and The Mandala Center for Change present

DIVERSITY: EVOLVING FROM REALITY TO TRUTH

A participatory workshop featuring Theatre of the Oppressed

Facilitated by Cheryl Harrison & Marc Weinblatt

When: Dec. 1-2, 2012; Sat & Sun 9 AM – 6 PM
Where: Seattle location TBA
Cost: $200

 

  • How does our gender, ethnicity, and other social group memberships affect our experience in the world and how others experience us?
  • How can we work together to create a more just and healthy world for all people?

This popular workshop invites an exploration of the frequently challenging issues that surface under the general term “diversity”.  Often associated just with race, this also includes gender, class, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, nationality, and more.  Whether it be around institutions or in your own personal life, develop deeper awareness about societal systems, your own social rank and its impact on situations, as well as strategies to be become a more effective ally to yourself and others.

Through story sharing and problem solving, our goal will be increased awareness, empathy, and empowerment towards action.  Primary tools include Theatre of the Oppressed and other participatory tools to generate an honest and humane dialogue on systematic oppression (power-based analysis of the “isms”) that divide people through inequity and injustice.  The process will be highly experiential and driven by the wisdom and needs of the participants. Despite the serious nature of the issues, the process is remarkably playful.

For anyone interested in re-humanizing humanity including community organizers, activists, teachers, social workers, therapists, workshop leaders, and more.

To register, contact:

Global Visionaries
T: (206) 322-9448
E: programs@global-visionaries.org

For workshop information only, contact:

Mandala Center
T: (360) 344-3435
E: info@mandalaforchange.com

***

Facilitator Bios

Cheryl Harrison

Former and founding member of Seattle Public Theater’s Theater of Liberation Ensemble, Cheryl has been active in anti-oppression and empowerment work with people of all ages since the mid 1980’s and has designed and facilitated workshops and trainings locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. Using music, theater, lectures, and a variety of experiential activities both Theater of the Oppressed based as well as non-T.O. based, Cheryl has worked with a wide array of organizations and communities such as homeless youth and other marginalized social groups, domestic violence survivors, school age youth, nurses, work transition programs (YWCA), as well as universities and colleges. Some agencies and organizations include the State of Washington (DSHS and Department of Labor and Industries) the International Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed Conferences in New York, Nebraska, and Ohio, University of Minnesota, Kellogg Fellows, ACLU, Amnesty International, Wheaton College, PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health), University of South Florida, Global Visionaries, Power of Hope, Labor Center at The Evergreen State College, and the Eastside Domestic Violence Program among others. Through her work Cheryl is committed to facilitating self-awareness and empowerment for individuals and communities as a means to create a world which values equity, understanding and compassion for all peoples around the world.

Marc Weinblatt

Marc has been a professional educator, theatre artist, activist, and workshop facilitator since 1980 having extensive experience with both adults and youth. Formerly Co-Artistic Director of the Seattle Public Theatre, Marc is an internationally recognized leader in the use of Augusto Boal’s ground breaking Theater of the Oppressed (T.O.) to stimulate community dialogue and social change. He has worked with diverse communities ranging from police to homeless youth, grassroots organizers and laborers to University deans. Internationally, Marc has worked with theatre activists in Canada, refugees in Azerbaijan, construction workers in South Africa, slum families in India, actors in the Republic of Congo, and victims of war, among others, in Afghanistan. Marc was recently named “Cultural Envoy” by the U.S. State Department for his work in the Congo in spring 2010.Marc regularly facilitates T.O. based diversity / anti-oppression workshops in a wide variety of contexts across the U.S. with a commitment to bringing a deep sense of spirit and humanity into social justice work. He also directs the multi-generational Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble which incorporates T.O. and Playback Theatre techniques to generate community dialogue on burning social issues. One of Augusto Boal’s “multipliers”, Marc has trained thousands of people in the use of Theatre of the Oppressed techniques through his classes and annual week-long intensive trainings since the early 1990’s.

Reflections from Trip Leader Katie Wallace

It’s the second to last day of the trip, our last day of work and just hours before our fiesta de despedida (farewell party). I’m sitting here overwhelmed by what we’ve seen, heard and done here in Guatemala in the previous two weeks.

As I prepare to head back to Seattle I begin to imagine what I’ll take home from Guatemala (aside from handmade earrings and hundreds of digital photos). I have memories of the steep, exhausting hill we climbed each day en route to the construction site. I have mental images of the lush hillsides, the cobblestone streets in Antigua and the beautiful smiling faces of the guatemaltecos that we greeted in every passing. I’ll carry with me new relationships, stronger relationships and a greater sense of peace than I had when we left.Above all these images and memories I am leaving with the desire to research. I want to know even more about Guatemalan history and politics. How can the current President of Guatemala be responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of people? How was this former General elected by Guatemalans in 2011? This leaves me with feelings of disbelief, frustration, anger and wonder.

Learning is not measured by the number of pages read in a night or by the number of books read in a semester.
Education is not an act of consuming ideas, but of creating and recreating them.
– Paulo Freire

The most valuable and eye-opening experience has been spending time talking with my host brothers, 21 and 18, after dinner. Their wealth of knowledge about Guatemalan history and their passion to raise awareness about politics (of the past and present) are impressive and motivating. My older host brother has led large scale protests in Guatemala City, and my younger host brother won a speech contest while we were there. He spoke in the central park in Antigua about acknowledging Antigua’s true history. I am in awe that there is such little acknowledgement of the genocide and corruption that have taken place in their country. I have never personally known young adults so angry and yet genuinely convinced that change on a large scale is possible and attainable. I look forward to learning more, and I hope that they will continue to inspire youth in Guatemala and from the U.S. to learn and take action in their communities and on a global scale.

Final Summer 2012 Trip Update

Saludos desde San Miguel Escobar,

Just as in the beginning everything was all about firsts: first time meeting the chapines, first time meeting homestay families, first days of language school and work, now everything is the last. Here at the GV office, two large tents cover the courtyard as we prepare for our final group reflection and our Goodbye party.

Today was our last day of work, and tonight will be our final goodbye with the Chapines. We started off with a traditional burning of fireworks to celebrate Cora’s birthday. There was laughter, water fights, and some tears, but mostly we are all just grateful to be able to enjoy the brief time we have left in Guatemala.

I look forward to seeing you at the airport. I will leave you with some further updates and reflections written by our junior leaders, Reed and Ari.

ARI: It is truly a wonder to see the changes among the individuals, and the change in the dynamic of the entire group over the course of a few short weeks here in Guatemala. I remember meeting all of them together for the first time and all I could feel was a huge amount of awkwardness between everyone. Now, it’s as though that awkwardness never existed.

I wish all of you were able to see it happen with your own eyes! But you’ll definitely see the change in your children when they get home. I remember my parents telling me that when I came back from my trip a year ago, I’d transformed from a naive teenager to a young adult with convictions. It’s not hard to believe that 2 weeks here in Guatemala could do that to a person. A lot of them will come back with a whole new perspective on everything. Some of them will want to come back to Guatemala. Some of them will tell you that they’ve made some of the best friends they’ll ever meet. A lot of them (I’m hoping) will be joining Youth Board in the next year and will become future Jr. Leaders like myself.

We’ve had so many memorable moments. From water fights on the construction site, Simon and Sean’s creation of the Fun-O-Meter ranging from Malo to Bueno to Perfecto, Angela’s guitar skills, Jenna’s singing, Torin’s handstands, and Isabella’s constant hunger, and so many other things that it would be impossible to list everything, it’s easy to say that this group has made memories to last a lifetime. I’m sure everyone misses all of you, but I can say on behalf of the whole group that they’re all having the time of there lives here.

I’m honored and have been blessed with this opportunity to be a Jr. Leader for this group. I love every single one of them!

REED (written Monday):

This morning, GV participants were given the choice of either taking the morning off to be with their families or returning to the hospital (Obras Sociales Santo Hermano Pedro) in Antigua, which all participants toured on Saturday.

Yesterday, the entire group, Guatemalan teens included, took a two-hour bus ride to the Mayan ruins of Iximche. After a short session of storytelling from several Guatemalans whose families had been marginalized by the armed conflict throughout the 20th century, students got the chance to explore the ruins, with no shortage of pictures taken.

This afternoon, the entire group will get together once again for the “Coffee Tour” – an introduction to the process of coffee farming, various recent inventions for expediting the processing of coffee, and the history and politics surrounding that five-dollar cup of Starbucks coffee we bought this morning.

The preceding week was the participants’ time to fall into the rhythm of things. Nearly every weekday began with two-and-a-half to three hours in the students’ respective work teams – the Reforestation team lugged hoes, machetes, tree saplings, and five-plus-gallon water jugs up the hillside in Cerro del Nino. The Hospital team cultivated a week’s worth of compassion in a place where a single friendly touch is a rare treat for patients, as well as preparing for the tours and reflections they facilitated on Saturday for the rest of the group. The young men and women of Construction flexed and lifted away to help raise the walls of a brand new school in Cerro del Nino, and ended the week with an all-out water fight that included an ambush on the returning Reforestation team. Afternoons at the La Union language school kept students’ language skills sharp, and brief runs to nearby bakeries kept their bellies full.

After a sufficiently relaxing weekend (and Monday,) participants will return to their very last day in work teams tomorrow. For Reforestation and Construction, this will mean perhaps the most physically exhausting day yet – for Hospital, this will likely mean a day of bittersweet goodbyes.

With three days left in the journey, the entire Global Visionaries Summer 2012 group is able to reflect on the experiences that have transformed them, the hard work that has strengthened them, the cultural education that has made them more aware of their roles as U.S. Americans, and the support from one another that has pushed all of them to discover new and unexpected leadership opportunities.

¡Por fin! – Teacher Katie Wallace Weighs in on GV & Guatemala

Katie Wallace teaches Spanish at Chief Sealth International High School in Seattle and will be one of two area high school teachers who will be leading the Summer Trip (June 27-July 12).  Stay tuned for photos and updates from Guatemala!

***

¡Por fin! At last I will have the opportunity to travel to Guatemala with GV! I have dreamed of this trip ever since I worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Noah Zeichner’s Spanish classroom at Chief Sealth four years ago. It is hard to believe that three weeks from today I get to travel to Guatemala and serve alongside my own students from Sealth.

Why Guatemala and why GV? I love Spanish – the language and the people who speak it and the cultures in which it is spoken. As a Korean-American adoptee, I often surprise people (including my students and colleagues) with my love and knowledge of the Spanish language. My father is half-Mexican, so Mexican culture has always been a part of my life. My passion for social justice and my love for baseball have been driving forces in my longtime interest in Latin America. I can’t wait to experience Central America!

I love the energy and the grassroots feel of Global Visionaries. Chris is passionate, genuine and serious about his belief in young people’s capacity to learn, lead and love. Watching the students step out of their comfort zones, open their minds and facilitate meaningful dialogue impresses and inspires me.

Being immersed in Guatemalan culture, serving alongside locals and living with a Guatemalan family for two weeks – what an opportunity! This is beyond what we can ever offer within classroom walls during a normal school year. I am most excited about witnessing the participants’ growth as language learners and as human beings.

Encountering cultural differences is beautiful, challenging and rewarding. We are incredibly fortunate to have this experience ahead of us, one that will challenge our views, open our minds and undoubtedly impact the way we live. I look forward to working alongside my students, not just as a teacher, but as an adult participant with just as much to learn. I look forward to the tough questions, the “aha!” moments and the joys that come from building unexpected relationships.