Distance Learning | News

Global Connections 2.0 Links U.S. and Middle East in Virtual Exchange

The International Education and Resource Network (iEARN-USA), which helps connect classrooms through virtual exchange programs, will implement an initiative that will partner students and teachers in the United States with those from 19 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. U.S. teachers who are interested in participating in Global Connections 2.0 can apply for a scholarship.

Global Connections 2.0, funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs division, helps students and teachers engage in cross-cultural dialog with peers around the world and learn leadership and technology skills through group peer projects. The project is aligned with education standards and uses a secure online collaboration portal.

"As the divide continues between the U.S. and countries with Muslim populations, preparing high-quality young professionals who can collaborate on global issues is more crucial than ever," said Dina Guirguis, government grants director of iEARN-USA.

Participants in the program will be selected by iEARN and U.S. embassies in the Middle East and North Africa.

iEARN-USA will also work with the Buck Institute for Education to create a portfolio of curriculum-based project-based learning resources for teachers, in both English and Arabic, focusing on global themes.

Global Connections 2.0 also includes professional development trainings, a workshop at the 2013 iEARN Annual Conference in Doha, Qatar, and online courses, for 300 teachers.

"This reciprocal exchange will enrich our students' lives through globally minded leadership development," said Kahraman Arafa, iEARN-Palestine coordinator. "Our educators and youth will benefit from the opportunity to exchange ideas around youth empowerment and free expression with partner educators and youth in the United States and other countries."

Teachers interested in applying for a scholarship should e-mail Jennifer Russell at [email protected]. Limited opportunities are available.

iEARN-USA, a nonprofit organization, began international exchange programs in 1988 and is involved in programs with more than 125 countries.

For more information, visit us.iearn.org or exchanges.state.gov.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.