The Challenges Why this? Why now?

Gripping gridlock in Washington, DC threatens America’s global leadership, already further challenged by stifled economic entrepreneurship, the growth in competitive competencies in international markets, and a profound lack of effective strategies for developing leaders to serve the next generation. Instability in the world financial system coupled with emerging and escalating conflicts in many regions underscore the need to concentrate our energies on building both America’s and the world’s future leaders to cope with and transform these
multi-faceted issues.

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Our current educational system lacks the energy, substance and focus to prepare young people to understand and navigate these complex challenges. High-stakes testing and over-reliance on test scores as measures of learning deprive young people of invigorating and inspirational academic experiences that value critical thinking, creativity, humanism, and cross-cultural competence. With growing concerns related to social development, environmental sustainability, healthcare, and numerous other human growth indicators, it is of paramount importance to shape global thinkers and activists who will be the source of innovative solutions benefitting us all.

Two vital areas help bridge the disciplines required for global leadership.
Cross-cultural team-based education utilizes experiential learning and global engagement to create opportunities to experience the world in the classroom and vice versa. Secondly, integration of arts into curricula, broadly defined, reflects the human need for expression, creativity and performance. The ancient Greeks had it right…to be a “human” requires dealing with the whole person, combining disciplines across sciences, arts, and humanities to build stewards of society’s evolution, and ultimate progress.

Everyone remains painfully aware that both our education and arts programs are underfunded due to the interlocking realities of the United States’ and world economy. To reclaim and regain our leadership role, and build our future success in an environment of competition and confrontation, we must create a novel educational paradigm, an actual educational movement, which integrates the best of America with the brilliance of our world in a new partnership for global learning and leadership.

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