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Report Recommends Strong International Focus For Afterschool Programs


NEW YORK, NY -- As policymakers and business leaders debate strategies to upgrade the U.S. education system to ensure our future competitiveness and innovation, a coalition of organizations released a report today recommending a strong international focus in afterschool programs to help American children prepare for the new global economy.

“Afterschool for the Global Age,” issued by Asia Society, The George Lucas Educational Foundation, the Afterschool and Community Learning Network, The Children’s Aid Society, and the Center for Afterschool and Community Education at Foundations, Inc., identifies strategies for expanding internationally themed programming in afterschool and summer learning initiatives. The report offers a research-based overview of why international education is a vital part of a full and well-rounded education for all students and highlights promising practices, new innovations, and recommendations to build effective programs. It summarizes the expertise of two dozen national, state, and local education and youth development leaders who convened at a national forum in 2006.

“Afterschool and summer programs are an important, but until now largely untapped, opportunity to help prepare young people for employment and citizenship in the global age. While Congress debates No Child Left Behind and other competitiveness measures, educators and youth workers have the opportunity to bring about change now by integrating international content that exposes children to the world beyond our borders,” said Vishakha N. Desai, President, Asia Society.

The report concludes that afterschool and summer programs are ideal settings to learn about world affairs, cultures, and languages by helping young people make relevant connections, explore project-based learning, and connect to peers worldwide through communication technologies. Examples outlined in the report focus on ways to introduce global content through inquiry-based projects, games, arts, and sports while developing skills for early literacy, math and science, world languages, and career preparation.

A notable model of the type of afterschool programming highlighted in the report is carried out by Global Kids (, a New York City-based non-profit that leverages partnerships with the Public Broadcasting Service, the Council on Foreign Relations and youth groups worldwide to foster virtual dialogues about current events, and promote global citizenship through interactive educational games. Their online learning programs raise youth awareness on health, poverty, and other global issues through virtual communities such as Teen Second Life.

Milton Chen, executive director of The George Lucas Educational Foundation, said, “Kids are natural explorers. As the school day has increasingly narrowed in its focus on testing, we must find new ways to help young people become engaged with deeper, more meaningful, and productive learning. Integrating international education into afterschool and summer programs is a much-needed approach to create natural connections to diverse communities and cultures, and to build deeper global literacy skills through the technology tools that young people already know and love.”

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Asia Society

Asia Society is the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. We seek to enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, and culture. Founded in 1956, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. On the web at

The George Lucas Educational Foundation

The George Lucas Educational Foundation, founded in 1991, is a nonprofit operating foundation that documents and disseminates information about exemplary programs in K-12 schools and communities. It serves this mission through the creation of media including Edutopia magazine, its Web site,, and documentaries celebrating the unsung heroes who are making “Edutopia” a reality.


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