Boyd County students making global connections
By Glenn Puit, Editor
From the Daily Independent
Maddie Bolt and her fellow students at Boyd County High School are learning a lot these days about how students just like them, thousands of miles away, have a lot in common with their counterparts here in the United States.
Students in the Boyd County classroom of social studies teacher Lindsay Bryan are participating in The Global Nomads learning experience. It is a virtual exchange program that connects the students this semester with kids in Tunisia. A Greenup County High School class recently featured by The Daily Independent is also participating.
“It is really cool — we have an opportunity to learn from other students and today a speaker from Tunisia about issues around the world,” Bolt said.
The project is part of the Stevens Initiative, which is a public-private partnership supported by the Department of State in Washington D.C. The Stevens Initiative is named after the late U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Stevens had a distinguished career as a U.S. Ambassador for America. He was killed by violent extremists in Libya in September 2012 but his legacy continues through the type of important work unfolding at Greenup. The Stevens Initiative is managed by The Aspen Institute. The group, Global Nomads Group, has also played an important role in developing the global connections taking place at Greenup County Public Schools.
The application of the program in Boyd County is made possible through a grant by AEP.
In a recent classroom experience in Boyd County, students of Bryan heard from Houssem Ben Lazreg, who is a translator and a third year PhD student with vast experiences in the Middle East. The students talked a lot about the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East. They also interacted with students thousands of miles away in Tunisia. Lazreg talked a lot about shared values and understanding what we have in common more than our differences.
"It is the same values — they move away East and West…we all share the same values and we all have the same obstacles for the future,” he said.
Bryan said the class is a great learning experience for all of the students and the Tunisia instruction connection has been particularly valuable.
"My goal is for students to become globally competent,” she said. "To understand that issues affecting the youth and adults in the Middle East are affecting us either indirectly or directly and that in the near future (our students) are going to be voters, citizens or even politicians who make important decisions about how we as a nation handle this as a global participant.”