The purpose of this activity is to expose students to the important benefits of cultural diplomacy during International Education Week, as a way to foster mutual understanding, empathy and respect for different cultures. International Education Week, a joint partnership between the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of State, celebrates the tangible benefits of international education and exchange each year during the third week of November – as a pathway to future college and career readiness.
Cultural Diplomacy is described as “course of actions, which are based on and utilize the exchange of ideas, values, traditions and other aspects of culture or identity, whether to strengthen relationships, enhance socio-cultural cooperation or promote national interests. Cultural diplomacy can be practiced by either the public sector, private sector or civil society” (by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy). As a long-standing organization with origins of peace building and cultural understanding amongst youth worldwide, AFS-USA believes in the power of intercultural education as one of many ways students can become global ambassadors in their classrooms and communities. Now, more than ever, in an increasingly globalized world, it is important to inspire students become more globally aware in the classroom and beyond. By partnering with the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, AFS-USA offers youth programs to encourage diplomatic ties with the United States and other countries through global exchange.
This lesson plan will allow students to critically think about their role in promoting peace and cultural diplomacy through global education. Students will be asked to formulate creative ways to use cultural understanding as a means to promote global citizenship. Students will also read two examples of initiatives from participants from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and think about how they can take action for cultural diplomacy in their schools and communities. Students will then deliver a presentation on the benefits of cultural diplomacy through global exchange.
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Youth Programs: “The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ youth programs empower the next generation and establish long-lasting ties between the United States and other countries. Exchange programs focus primarily on secondary schools and promote mutual understanding, leadership development, educational transformation and democratic ideals.” – See more at http://eca.state.gov/programs-initiatives/youth-programs
Cultural Diplomacy: “Cultural Diplomacy may best be described as a course of actions, which are based on and utilize the exchange of ideas, values, traditions and other aspects of culture or identity, whether to strengthen relationships, enhance socio-cultural cooperation or promote national interests; Cultural diplomacy can be practiced by either the public sector, private sector or civil society.” – See more at http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org/index.php?en_culturaldiplomacy
Culture: “the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from another”. – See more at https://geerthofstede.com/
International Education Week: “an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.” – See more at: http://eca.state.gov/programs initiatives/international-education-week
Students will be able to:
• Analyze important aspects of cultural diplomacy
• Explore different youth programs from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote cultural diplomacy
• Consider factors of global exchange that affect cultural diplomacy
• Deliver a presentation on how they plan on taking action for cultural diplomacy in their school or community
• Discover their place in the world as global citizens by raising their own awareness
Common Core Standards:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.5: Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text
AFS Educational Goals:
• To understand the concepts of “culture” and intercultural adaptation.
• Cultural knowledge and awareness: To become more aware of their own culture and recognize its influence on their behavior.
• To have a deeper concern for and sensitivity to others and expand their capacity to perceive and respond to the values, feelings, and realities of others.
• To develop an increased curiosity and concern about world affairs, to develop a sustained commitment to obtaining information from many sources and seek out perspectives from other cultures in understanding world situations and problems.
• To understand the interdependence of the global community and have an increased awareness of the larger impact that their personal choices and actions have in other parts of the world.
• To be willing and ready to work with others to help build peace, to improve world conditions and to commit to actions that will bring about a just and peaceful world.
• Ask students to state key terms that come to mind when they think of the cultural diplomacy and write them on the board (Ex. Cross-cultural communication, peace, empathy, education, language, culture, etc.)
• Share the definition on the white board “ Cultural Diplomacy may best be described as a course of actions, which are based on and utilize the exchange of ideas, values, traditions and other aspects of culture or identity, whether to strengthen relationships, enhance socio-cultural cooperation or promote national interests; Cultural diplomacy can be practiced by either the public sector, private sector or civil society”
• Break students into groups of 3-4, and ask them to describe ways they can promote cultural diplomacy in their classroom and local community, encouraging them to think about as many ways as possible
• Provide students with a Poster board to share their answers
• Ask students to share their findings, noting the similarities and differences from their classmates
• Ask students to read the Programs and Initiatives: African Disability Rights Advocates & A Different Side of Brazil and answer the following questions through a group discussion:
o How did the participants promote cultural diplomacy in that community?
o Describe some of the hesitations/expectations.
o How are they similar? How do they differ?
o What do you think the participants learned from this experience?
• Challenge students to explore a country of their choice and create a project that can help promote cultural diplomacy through global exchange. Encourage students to think about factors such as sustainability, cultural impacts and social responsibility.