K-12 Educators Play a Vital Role in “Mapping the World”

IIE is a proud contributor to the recently-released interactive online mapping tool “Mapping the Nation: Linking Local to Global,” which pulls together demographic, economic and education indicators—nearly one million data points—to show that the United States is a truly global nation. A quick look at the diverse education data from Mapping the Nation confirms what educators and policy-makers have suspected for many years: U.S. students, at both the school and university level, must become globally competent to succeed in the 21st century.

IIE recognizes the important role educators play in this process and along with administering exchange programs for students and scholars, has prioritized the administration of teacher-focused international programming for many years.

IIE administers the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Fulbright Distinguished awards in Teaching Program provides U.S. and International K-12 educators from 12 countries with the opportunity to participate in university courses, collaborate with local schools and colleagues, and develop a capstone research project during a 3-4 month grant. Since its inception, the program has benefited over one hundred educators worldwide and has received a record number of applications for its FY2014 competition.


Wei-Ee Cheng, a Fulbright Distinguished alumna from New York City public schools says of her experience in Singapore: Living in the thick of it all, I was able embrace the different cultures through my surrounding neighborhoods. I also interacted with the Singaporean cultures (i.e., Indian, Chinese, and Malay) at my host country’s schools, workshops, and the National Institute of Education.

IIE also manages the Hilton HHonors Teacher Treks Program, which sponsors U.S. teachers to travel abroad to the country of their choice and upon return infuse their K-12 curriculum with the cultural knowledge of their journey.

For example, Carissa Martus, a primary school music teacher from Oregon, visited China and South Korea this past summer on the Teacher Treks program. Carissa visited schools in the region to learn the various teaching techniques of music and dance. Carissa has already incorporated her Trek experience into her classroom. Recently, she played traditional Chinese music for her classroom, and she narrated her Trek as the students acted out various skits of her travels. Carissa’s thirst for more knowledge continues and she is currently taking a class to learn about making Chinese silk scarves for a traditional dance.

IIE works with foreign governments, private foundations and corporations to create and implement these and other educator development opportunities. Thanks to these initiatives, we help mobilize over 1000 teachers across the globe; directly contributing to increased levels of global competence and to the vital task of linking the “local to the global”, one student at a time.