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York's Distinguished Global Scholars
Posted 11/10/2016 10:11PM

“In the Internet age, the world feels far smaller than it used to. But many Americans still know little about the rest of the world and may be more detached from it than ever. Such a lack of awareness is, in certain respects, understandable. Once the Cold War ended, some 25 years ago, Congress, perhaps out of a false sense of security, cut the foreign affairs budget, which led to the closing of some U.S. overseas posts. The news media, especially the commercial television networks, took their cue and began to reduce overseas coverage—responding, they said, to the decline of public interest in such matters, which conveniently coincided with their own economic woes. Consequently, as new global challenges have arisen in recent years, American discourse on world affairs has lacked historical context or deeper understanding. It has become difficult to stir thoughtful, informed debate on foreign policy issues during congressional—or even presidential—campaigns. Many politicians who aspire to lead the country seem not to understand what constitutes a foreign policy issue, let alone the complexity of dealing with one.”  -- from the “The Study-Abroad Solution: How to Open the American Mind,” by Sanford J. Ungar, President Emeritus of Goucher College

“One way to make education relevant is to support students so they gain the competencies necessary to understand the world in which they live, to appreciate it and its complexity, to understand its challenges, and to care enough about them to want to contribute to address them.”  -- Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and co-author of "Empowering Global Citizens"

As a child I emigrated to the United States from Australia and growing up I took pride in my ex-pat heritage and the global perspective it afforded me. But as a young adult I gained even more pride from the commitment I made to the United States in the form of applying for U.S. citizenship and confirming that citizenship in the oath ceremony. That desire was fueled in part by my desire to vote, to own property, and to travel abroad on a U.S. passport (the summer before my senior year I was given the opportunity through my high school to live in and travel around Italy, but owing to my green card status at the time, I needed special permission from the government to leave the States and return home).

Such experiences imbue the pride I now feel in working at York School, a community dedicated to diversity and an academic program that values intercultural understanding. York aims to prepare students for a world increasingly interconnected economically, environmentally, culturally, and politically. We wish to see all York graduates with the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance. to do so requires intercultural development, which functions on a continuum, and therefore it is incumbent upon us to develop students’ understanding of multiple perspectives and cultures if they are to both achieve an adaptation perspective and act as leaders in a global society. 


Given these aims, let’s consider these facts. Less than 40% of Americans hold passports, and 1% of college applicants have studied abroad. To help ensure, then, that York graduates are some of the best prepared students in the nation, we have entered into a partnership with CIEE, a leader in study abroad programs. CIEE offers three types of programs (Language and Culture; Service and Leadership; and Global Discovery). Students can choose from twenty five destinations and experiences approximately 4 weeks long with homestay or dorm accommodations as well as an academic component designed to allow for immersion in another culture. In the last two summers dozens of York students have studied abroad through CIEE. And others have participated in other forms of international travel-learning experiences. They have all returned with fabulous stories, but most importantly they all speak of transformative experiences. Last week some students from summer 2016 trips spoke at a school forum: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1OlXlXPt6a3C3-fU7LJvXLsocdeeNMiIuw0haKhrNV0I/edit?usp=sharing

These opportunities are available to all York students. Because of a generous donor, every York student who applies for a CIEE summer trip is guaranteed scholarship funding. York is the only high school in the country that can guarantee scholarship funding for study abroad to every student. Apply here: Seize the Summer. Therefore, I am pleased to announce a new program at York that recognizes students who have achieved excellence in developing the knowledge, skills, empathy, and leadership required to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world: York’s Distinguished Global Scholar Certificate.

Recipients of the York Distinguished Global Scholar Certificate will need to demonstrate success in three areas:


❏ Advanced Achievement in World Language: Study through York Advanced Studies Level IV of a modern world language

❏ Activity Involving Global Communities: Completion of one or more of the following:

➢ Global Curriculum: Coursework that has an international focus, such as Asian History or Environmental Science
➢ Internationally-Focused Clubs or Organizations: A two-year commitment to a club, organization, or global service activity (e.g. Model United Nations, Language Honor Society)
➢ Hosting: Host an international student for one year or more
➢ Other: A globally-focused experience or service activity to be evaluated by the Distinguished Global Scholar Committee


❏ International Travel-Learning Experience: Successful completion of an approved study abroad trip

➢ Through our partnership with CIEE, a leader in study abroad and intercultural exchange programs, and thanks to a generous donor, at least 25% of program costs will be covered for a CIEE summer study abroad experience, more depending on financial need


❏ Synthesis Project: Bringing together what was learned in and out of the classroom, completion of a project that serves the common good locally, nationally, and/or internationally and is then presented to and evaluated by the Distinguished Global Scholar Committee

York School is committed to preparing students for a positive, productive future, and that includes their recognizing and appreciating one’s individual role in world economics, politics, and environmental sustainability. The world our students inhabit will need global leaders and problem-solvers, ready to approach challenges from multiple perspectives with a cross-cultural fluency.

Application details for the Distinguished Global Scholar Certificate can be viewed HERE.

We are excited to launch this program. If you have any questions, please contact me.

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York School is committed to equal opportunity in educational programs, employment and campus life. The School does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, parental status, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in any access to and treatment in School programs and activities.

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