World Perspectives Program
Our goal is to help each student at GFA achieve global competence, but what does that mean? We think of it as a combination of attitudes, skills, and understandings that allows them to enter an unfamiliar place or circumstance with openness and to adapt quickly. We do this by exposing them to other cultures, languages, and histories. We give them opportunities to interact with people around the globe through technology as well as through travel.
Victor Llanque, Ph.D., associate head of school
In addition to the global material covered in the social studies program, a dedicated World Languages Classroom gives young learners a place to practice the languages and explore the cultures of places outside of the United States. This creates a strong foundation in their global education and cultural education.
By Middle School, students experience global education by studying the globe through geography and then through contemporary issues in the World Explorations course. School trips are introduced, and all students produce a Capstone Research Project, many of which deal with global issues.
In addition to a wide range of academic courses on global education dealing with global issues and language, Upper School students can participate in off-campus study, travel, clubs, and a culminating Global Thesis Project and Symposium that allow first-hand, in-depth focus on our world.
I am involved with the Komera Club at GFA, which supports Rwandan girls getting an education. I got to travel to Rwanda with a group from GFA. It’s one thing to send support; it’s another to be in a village and see what it’s doing for the families there. Being in Rwanda distanced me from materialism for a while. I’m trying to maintain that. And I’m definitely going back.
“I helped start the International Youth Film Festival as a club at GFA because I loved my video class. That, Spanish, and my Global Thesis on Cuban Protest Music followed me to UCLA. To this day, I feel I was given the reins at GFA to explore something so vastly interesting, and then be guided to get the research tools and create something huge on my own. It set me up for what I’m doing now. I’m still pursuing Spanish and film to the point that over the summer I took a film class in Spain, where I was the only American.”
Throughout my trip, my definition of poverty changed, as we saw a population that cannot compete with our own country’s capacity to produce material goods, but is nonetheless filled with joy and purpose every day. It was also from my vantage point that I realized that despite man’s attempt to control nature, we are only guests here on a huge planet with an unbridled capacity to harm and hurt us at its own leisure.
World Perspectives Symposium
The World Perspectives Symposium is an academic conference for students at GFA to present original research. Students and faculty attend presentations on a range of topics of global significance. The day begins with a keynote address by a guest speaker and ends with a speech by a thought leader in our community. Throughout the day, students participate in individual and panel presentations by their peers. To learn more, click here.
A sampling of Symposium topics
13 Reasons Why: A Post-Modern Obsession with the Mentally Ill
Cryptoanarchy vs. Government: Does the Deep Web Undermine
the Power of the State?
Finding and Comparing the Biofuel Yield of CT Invasive Plant Species
Love, Power, and Violence: How Cinema Changed the Perception of Diamonds
The Race to Superhumanity: China’s Invisible Edge in Gene Editing
Radical Design for a Home in an Earthquake Zone
The Use of a Pixy Camera and Robotics to Eliminate Human Error by High School Soccer Referees