The Center is working with Civitas partners in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo to implement an adaptation of Co-operation Ireland's Civic-Link and Project Citizen in middle and high schools. The project, which is supported by funds from the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, will culminate in a regional Project Citizen showcase and Leaders of Tomorrow summer camp. In October 2008, a diverse group of educational leaders from the participating sites convened for a steering committee meeting in Budva, Montenegro.
The Bridges to the World: Global Partnership in Education Conference, organized by the International Democratic Education Institute at Bowling Green State University, brought together faculty, community leaders, and educators. The two-day conference was designed to promote democracy through education, and sessions were attended by 273 education students from BGSU and neighboring universities as well as ninety-five community leaders. Conference participants included three delegates each from Poland, Ukraine, and Morocco, and four delegates from South Africa. The international partners shared best practices and the importance of international education.
The Wyoming Partnership for Civic Education has expanded its collaborative efforts to include the Wyoming Geographic Alliance at the University of Wyoming. Along with existing partners and Bolivia’s Educadores para la Democracia, the partnership hosted a training institute for Bolivian and Wyoming teachers using Project Citizen in conjunction with geography lessons. The institute, which was held in Bolivia in July 2008, resulted in teachers from both countries implementing Project Citizen in their respective classrooms as part of an effort to increase student understanding of public policy and broaden cultural awareness.
The Center’s partner in Honduras, the Federation of Organizations for the Development of Honduras (FOPRIDEH), held its First National Congress on Civic Education in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, from September 25—26, 2008. This event was a collaborative effort between FOPRIDEH, the Ministry of Education, United States Agency for International Development, the Peace Corps, and the National Pedagogical University of Honduras. Teachers, educational authorities and representatives from a number of civil society organizations in Honduras all participated in the conference. In his opening address, Charles N. Quigley, the Center's executive director, spoke about the history and importance of civic education in the United States. Program coordinator Paty Arias spoke specifically about work in Latin America.
Kazakhstan and India
Delegations from Maryland and India traveled to Kazakhstan in August 2008 for the final stage of an exchange program between the United States, India and Kazakhstan funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Highlights of the program included meetings with the Kazakh minister of education and other senior government officials in the political capital Astana and in Kazakhstan’s principal city Almaty, and a joint training session held by Indian and U.S. trainers for Kazakh school officials and researchers and attended by the U.S. public affairs officer. Nancy Grasmick, the superintendent of Maryland’s public schools, led the Maryland delegation and played a key role in promoting the significance of civic education to Kazakh officials (see story in Civitas International Programs section).
The Korea Democracy Foundation sponsored a five-day visit to Seoul, South Korea, for Charles N. Quigley, executive director of the Center, and Becky MacFarlane, assistant director of Civitas International Programs. The agenda included the presentation of several papers and an overview and familiarization with Center materials and programs. There were also media interviews and meetings with parliamentary members and with the president’s secretary for civil society. The successful visit concluded with the Center agreeing to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Korea Democracy Foundation to ensure future collaboration in strengthening civic education efforts in Korea and the Asia region. The Korea Democracy Foundation, founded by the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president Kim Dae-jung, is government-sponsored and is highly regarded by the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.
Sixty-four sixth- through 12th-graders, representing seven regions of Kosovo, came together in Ohrid, Macedonia, on June 22—27, 2008, for the Leaders of Tomorrow Summer Camp organized by Civitas Kosova. The students, who were of Albanian, Bosnian, Turkish, and Roma backgrounds, participated in highly interactive civic education activities designed to prepare them to be positive, responsible, and open-minded future leaders of Kosovo. Trainers Phyllis Bowie and Sally Martinez utilized an approach that combined Project Citizen materials with lessons on responsibility and authority from the Center’s Foundations of Democracy curriculum.
In November 2008, the Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy (PCCED) held its annual Project Citizen showcase. Students from 22 high schools in the greater Manila area competed in the two-day event. PCCED also welcomed students from four Philippine universities to the first annual American Corners Project Citizen Showcase, sponsored by the United States Embassy in Manila. Bill Hatcher,a board member of the Center for Civic Education, and his wife Carol, attended the events as speakers and judges. The Governor of Sorsogon Province, where Project Citizen will be launched in 2009, also attended the event.
Civitas Senegal Director Boubacar Tall is fostering a unique and beneficial partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross. In 2008, Project Citizen was implemented in forty-seven classes in each of the eleven regions of Senegal. In an expanding partnership with the Senegalese Red Cross and the Spanish Red Cross, Project Citizen will be in twelve new schools opening in Ziguinchor, Casamanche, in 2009. In addition to Project Citizen, the new schools will pilot a curriculum blend of Project Citizen and “Exploring Humanitarian Law,” which uses interactive, Project Citizen-based strategies to examine issues related to human rights.
Thailand’s first Foundations of Democracy teacher training sessions took place in Bangkok in October 2008. A Civic Literacy workshop, modeled after the Maryland Civic Literacy Summit, was also held to strengthen further the existing network of civic education leaders in Thailand. The workshop was attended by a cross-section of stakeholders including representatives of the Ministry of Education, the Election Commission, Non-Governmental Organizations, and educational institutions from throughout the country. These two professional development events marked the launch of a new three-year award supported by the Department of State’s Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Bureau that will help support a culture of civic engagement and tolerance in Thailand.
West Bank and Gaza
The Teacher Creativity Centre is spearheading a strong expansion of civic education programs in the West Bank and Gaza through funding from several international donor organizations. In the 2008–09 school year, more than 300 public schools in the West Bank and Gaza will be implementing Project Citizen. The Ministry of Education has expressed an interest in incorporating Project Citizen into the official curriculum for all ninth-grade students and is conducting a cost analysis for the project. In June 2008, twenty-eight youth program leaders trained by the Teacher Creativity Center implemented Foundations of Democracy with approximately 480 children during summer camps.