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Creating 'Students of the World'

Parents all around the world want the best for their children, especially when itcomes to education. Today we will talk about a program that educateschildren with an international focus.

World economies are becoming more and more interconnected. And peopleare moving around the world in search of personal and professionalopportunities. With this global way of living becoming more common, aninternational approach to education seems like a good one. The goal of theInternational Baccalaureate Organization is to create “Students of World.”

The International Baccalaureate Organization was founded in 1968 in Geneva,Switzerland. The IB organization works with schools in 147 countries to offerprograms for students three to 19 years old. These programs, it says, "helpto develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learnand work in a rapidly globalizing world."

The organization says that IB programs are in nearly 3,800 schoolsworldwide. The majority of these schools offer IB diploma programs. Highschool students have to complete six courses, pass exams and write a 20-page paper to earn an IB diploma. And schools accepted into the IB programare expected to “walk the walk and not just talk the talk.”

Students are given opportunities to attend events that open their eyes to alarger world. There are IB workshops and conferences held all over the world.

One such event was a five-day conference at the University of BritishColumbia in Canada. The conference was called “The New Sustainability:Making Things Better, Not Just Less Bad.” Three hundred students from 13counties attended.

One of the speakers was Drew Deutsch, director of IB Americas. He saysthe conference was meant for students to not only learn about theenvironment, but also to become more international in their thinking anddevelop lasting relationships.

DREW DEUTSCH: "We want to send the students back to their schools tohighlight issues surrounding protecting the environment, but also make surethat these students become more students of the world, and that they formbonds with peers their own age from around the world. And, obviously, withsocial networking and the tools that are available to students today, we expectthat they will have formed these bonds really for life."

Seventeen-year-old Itzel Chavez was one of 21 IB students who receivedscholarships to attend the conference.

Davidson IB Middle School from North Carolina captured the top prize in the 2010 National Engineers Week Future City Competition with Mamohatra, a future metropolis that combines advanced technologies, green principals and cultural diversity.

ITZEL CHAVEZ: "I really wanted to go. So I applied for a scholarship and I had to write an essay. And in my school they chose one person, and I got chosenfor the scholarship. So I got to go."

She says the main speakers would describe a sustainability program or tellhow a special project improved the environment in their community. Then thestudents had to choose a project to present to the conference.

ITZEL CHAVEZ: "We would get into groups of about nineteen or twentystudents and we would have to come up with a project for the end of the weekthat showed what we learned."

How do you feel about teaching children to be global citizens? Share yourthoughts about the International Baccalaureate model of learning in ourcomment section!

I’m Anna Matteo. Join us again tomorrow for another As It Is.

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