Global Connections XIII

July 2011

South Africa & Botswana


In July of 2011, delegates from six continents came together in South Africa and Botswana. This marked the return of the Global Connections Seminar to South Africa, where the first seminar was held in 1997. Global Connections XIII recalled past initiatives and looked ahead to the role of Global Connections delegates in enhancing the global-mindedness of our diverse school communities. Delegates from schools large and small, publicly-supported and tuition driven, urban and rural, resource rich and economically disadvantaged share a common dedication to engaging with a world beyond our classrooms and offices, even as we develop global habits of mind and habits of heart in our local contexts.

We came together in a spirit of optimism about our ability to inculcate global habits of mind and heart in our colleagues and students, to challenge stereotypes and assumptions about people we do not yet know, and to create a climate in which we come to know ourselves as well as the diverse members of the broader human family. We seek to respond to the questions, “Who am I?” “Who are they?” and “Who are we?” That optimistic spirit was further inspired by the colors and timbres of our host countries. South Africa and Botswana, with their vibrant textiles and traditions, many languages, and a spirit of equality and inclusion continue to amaze visitors from abroad. From the South African Constitutional Court to schools in both countries committed to leadership and service throughout the continent, Global Connections XIII provided us with diverse models of education and society. In the songs and dances of their people, our hosts presented their history, struggles, and possibilities for the future. We spoke with many students who offered their perspectives on how to make the world a better place through global initiatives and service in their neighborhoods.

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