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Julie Kinnaird | October 22, 2019

Last week World View hosted our 22nd annual fall symposium, with the K-12 Global Education Symposium, The Sustainable Development Goals: Classroom Connections.  The day and a half program brought approximately 200 educators, presenters and exhibitors together from across the state. The theme of this year’s symposium was selected because the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are relevant to all of us as we work to improve the health and well-being of the world’s population and because they encompass the most critical global issues faced by populations across the globe. According to the United Nations, “The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”

Dr. Tony Jackson kicked off our symposium by sharing his journey in education and why globally competent students are critical for today’s changing, fast-paced world. He shared the four domains of global competency and the educator tools available from the Asia Society. Dr. Gina Chowa presented a powerful introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals, including a history and comparison to the global goal’s predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals. She discussed each of the seventeen goals briefly, the progress made thus far and what to expect for the future of the goals.

At the end of the day we heard from students and their former principal and IB Coordinator in Cabarrus County. The students connected with two inspirational women in the Dominican Republic. These women are working to improve the lives of women, children and families in two regions of the country. The team shared the successes and challenges of communicating with individuals in a different country and in a different language and how they overcame barriers to build bridges, completing a National History Day Project.

Participants chose from among fifteen concurrent sessions that included content on global issues related to the SDGs or strategies and resource sessions for incorporating the SDGs into their classroom. Several sessions complemented the Asia Society’s global competence four-part framework of investigating the world, recognizing perspectives, communicating ideas and taking action. One teacher who attended the symposium said, “I learned a lot, loved the presentations, and feel empowered and excited to implement new things at my school.” Another teacher stated that “This was an engaging, thought provoking session with great tools and ideas” when describing one of the concurrent sessions attended.

On the second day of our program we engaged in an intercultural competency training with Dr. Darla Deardorff. Dr. Deardorff led a powerful and interactive session, introducing the methodology of using story circles to build intercultural competence. The methodology was recently published in the Manual for Developing Intercultural Competences: Story Circles, available via open access. Dr. Jim Thomas, director of MEASURE Evaluation Project at UNC closed our session with a look at the many positive advances we have made in global health and a reminder that it’s time to rethink how we see the world using data.

Overall the 2019 K-12 symposium was a success! World View thanks the many participants, presenters, exhibitors and supporters for joining us for an important discussion around the Sustainable Development Goals.