Global Connections VII

February 2003


Global Connections VIIĀ tour de force.Hosted by L’Ermitage, a national school with a full range of International Baccalaureate courses, the Seminar was not only held in the magnificence of the 17th century Chateau of Maisons-Laffitte, designed by the famous architect, Mansart, but it also offered a stunning agenda of speakers and discussions on the topic of “Crossing Frontiers: Culture, Language, and Bilingualism.”

The principal design of the Seminar was the concept of a Thematic Wheel, a series of related concentric circles connected internally and externally through the idea of achieving an international mindset and towards the evolution of a global citizen.

Presenters were from Bulgaria, England, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. Each addressed a different aspect of the Thematic Wheel; “spokes,” if you will, defining and describing the historical elements and evolution of cultural and linguistic frontiers, the school as an arena for the evolution of an international mindset, the teacher as a cultural manager, the role and impact of information technology, and the development of an international dimension within the framework of a national system. All spokes led from the challenge of crossing frontiers to the creation of a global citizen.

A total of 86 delegates from 24 countries attended GC VII and there were 14 additional participants from the host school. Three new countries participated: Bahrain, Guatemala, and Saudi Arabia. There were 75 schools of which 54 had been represented at one or more Seminars previously. A total of 21 new schools and 32 new participants were involved.

There were opportunities to visit the historic and cultural icon of Versailles as well as be entertained by a young “Edith Piaf” from the host school and other musicians, including several of the participating school delegates. These experiences involved all in different but significant ways and, as noted in the concluding Declaration of Global Connections VII:

We…deepened our understanding that we need to promote enabling environments that will celebrate and affirm a strong sense of cultural identity and validate the individual.

While at the same time we recognized that

… we need to provide our students with the skills they will need to move from the security of a clear sense of personal and cultural identity toward intercultural competencies, in order to be able to meet the requirements of responsible, global citizenship.