January 29, 2003 - US State Department: Peace Corps, National Geographic Society Collaborate on Education Project

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Peace Corps, National Geographic Society Collaborate on Education Project

Read and comment on this Press Release from the US State Department on the collaboration between the Peace Corps and the National Geographic Society on an Education Project at:

Peace Corps, National Geographic Society Collaborate on Education Project*

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Peace Corps, National Geographic Society Collaborate on Education Project

(New publication applies Peace Corps experience to U.S. schools) (710)

The U.S. Peace Corps and the National Geographic Society announced a collaborative project January 27 that has resulted in the Peace Corps' newest educational resource -- a guidebook to help U.S. educators teach cross-cultural awareness.

Entitled "Building Bridges: A Peace Corps Classroom Guide to Cross-Cultural Understanding," the publication incorporates real-life experiences of Peace Corps teaching volunteers to create a useful resource for educators teaching grades 6 though 12 in the United States.

According to a Peace Corps press release, "Building Bridges takes the Peace Corps' expertise in preparing volunteers to live and work effectively in other cultures and applies it to the cultural challenges posed by the increased diversity of America's classrooms."

Peace Corps Press Secretary Barbara Daly commented, "The goal is to spread cultural understanding and provide an opportunity for children to learn about the world through the real-life experiences of Peace Corps volunteers."

The booklet has been distributed to 40,000 educators in the United States through the National Geographic Society's state-based geography alliances. An additional 9,000 booklets have been distributed by the Peace Corps partnerships with educational institutions.

Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez said the partnership with the National Geographic Society means that millions of students will benefit from the lessons of cultural understanding and tolerance that Peace Corps has developed throughout its 41-year history.

"Building Bridges: A Peace Corps Classroom Guide to Cross-Cultural Understanding" is available in print as a 48-page soft-cover volume and on the Web at:


The National Geographic Society is a private education and publishing organization based in Washington.

Additional cross-cultural education resources are available from the Peace Corps on-line library at: www.peacecorps.gov/library/culture.cfm Below are descriptions and links to resources on culture available there:

Culture Matters: The Peace Corps Cross-Cultural Workbook Culture Matters is an excellent training resource designed to increase cultural awareness from self-reflection and observation, through communication and adaptation. This interactive workbook uses exercises, stories, quotations, and descriptive text to help the reader successfully adapt to a new culture or live and work in a multicultural environment. Illustrated. ERIC: ED429911. http://www.peacecorps.gov/library/pdf/T0087_culturematters.pdf

La Cultura si Importa This publication is the Spanish language version of Culture Matters: The Peace Corps Cross-Cultural Workbook. http://www.peacecorps.gov/library/pdf/T0087_cmespanol.pdf

Culture Matters Trainers' Guide Training sessions in this guide correspond to concepts introduced in the Culture Matters Workbook. http://www.peacecorps.gov/library/pdf/T0103_trainculturematters.pdf

Building Bridges: A Peace Corps Classroom Guide to Cross-Cultural Understanding This electronic publication is a classroom resource and contains short, adaptable lesson plans and activities that build cross-cultural awareness, respect, and communication skills. Lessons are flexible, easy to use, and standards-based for easy adaptation by teachers of U.S. grades 6 through 12. http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/bridges/

Voices from the Field: Reading and Writing about the World, Ourselves, and Others This resource contains two sections and is designed for use by language arts teachers in U.S. grades 7-12. The Peace Corps Stories section contains narratives, fiction, folktales, and poetry around which lesson plans are organized. The Curriculum Units section contains two separate, but complementary language arts units: Reading and Responding to Literature and A Reading and Writing Workshop. Lessons are intended to engage students' imaginations and inspire them to lead "wide-awakened" lives. http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/guides/voices/

Insights from the Field: Understanding, Geography, Culture and Service This resource is designed to engage American students in an inquiry about the world, themselves, and others as they focus on a culture other than their own. This resource contains learning activities and performance tasks to help students learn about geography; increase their understanding of other cultures; appreciate how they are connected to their world; become inspired to engage in service to others; and achieve important curriculum standards. http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/guides/insights/

Looking at Ourselves and Others The activities contained in this resource will challenge students to become more conscious of the values they share with their families, friends, and communities. The materials also provide students with analytical tools that help combat stereotypical thinking and enhance cross-cultural communication. http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/guides/looking/

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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