In the center of the country are centers of excellence: National Resource Centers and other university resources; model school programs; a strong language pipeline program. Read on.

Afterschool/Extended Learning

Within the Chicago Public Schools and other districts in the state, there are several programs that allow students to gain understanding of global issues and cultures. In many high schools, students have the opportunity to engage with world languages in clubs and organizations such as Spanish Club, French Club, Japanese Club, as examples. There is also a diverse selection of cultural activities such as Asian dance, Latin dance, and African dance. Model UN is available for all high schools throughout the state. In Chicago, students have the opportunity to take classes at Alliance François, Goethe Institute, Cervantes Institute and the Confucius Institute in Chicago.

Chicago’s neighborhoods are an additional source of global connection and teachers are encouraged to arrange field trips to areas of the city that represent global communities. In addition, there are several schools which sponsor global field trips and students visit schools across the globe. Other organizations such as Building With Books, Los Amigos and others offer the opportunity for students to travel and be involved in service learning. This past summer, a junior from a CPS school traveled to Sudan to teach basic computer coding to young women I a local village after receiving permission from the tribal chief.

World Languages

Chicago Public Schools offers Chinese classes to more students than any other city in the United States. Several World Language Academies offer students in grades K-8 offer Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, Arabic, Urdu and Spanish. At some world language academies, students learn a third language as well.

GlobalFest is an annual celebration and promotion of the study of world languages and international studies through educational activities connected to the Illinois Learning Standards for students 6th through 12th grades. GlobalFest participants learn about and share the knowledge of the world through introductory lessons in languages of Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East; interactive cultural activities and performances; arts and crafts displays; global knowledge competitions, and exhibits. Teachers earn CPDUs. Approximately 800 students and teachers from all parts of Illinois attend.

Teacher Preparation and Professional Development

The Center for Global Studies (CGS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers Professional Development Workshops on global studies topics upon request, in connection with academic conferences, and annually at the International Summer Institute:

• The K-12 Global Ed Listserv distributes notices about upcoming workshops and travel opportunities offered by CGS and other NRCs and educational organizations. Over 400 teachers in Illinois and across the nation are subscribers.

• The Global Studies in Education division in the Education Policy, Organization and Leadership Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers Masters and Doctoral Degrees, online and on campus. GSE provides excellent opportunities for working educators interested in thinking critically about issues of globalization and education and incorporating international perspectives into their curriculum and pedagogy.

• The CGS Outreach Coordinator consults with schools and teachers on developing global studies programs in schools and the classroom.

Midwest Regional Comparative International Education Society Conference at Illinois State University will advance a global education vision as articulated in the strategic planning document of Educating Illinois 2013-2018. The conference theme is “Developing and Supporting Global Initiatives in Education.” Each educational institution thrives to engage faculty, staff, and students, community members in the exploration, discussion, and understanding of challenges and promises of teacher education from an international perspective. The theme is provided as a vehicle for all educators to discuss best practices and models of developing and sustaining partnerships for global initiatives. It is hoped that this theme promotes active and meaningful collaboration to achieve tangible outcomes of developing and supporting global initiatives in education across institutions within the Midwest region.

• University of Chicago Center for International Studies annual educational conference. Several hundred teachers from Illinois attend and participate in the development of global lesson planning. Connections to organizations serving educational needs across the globe are available.

Workforce Development

World Business Chicago is currently developing a plan for jobs in the area and is seeking input from the public for further consideration. World Business Chicago has merged with Chicago Sister Cities and works hand in hand with educational, service and economic issues with the 21 sister cities.

The new STEM initiative that is emerging not only in Chicago but also Joliet, Illinois’ second largest city, and others across the state is considering the inclusion of global competences as they prepare young adults from work in a new global economy. Mentors from countries other than the United States are sought after to fully prepare our youth to be successful on international work teams and in work relationships with global employees.

Common Core

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign successfully developed a week of seminars to add global competences to teacher’s knowledge and implementation of CCSS. Teachers from around the state and from neighboring states attended and fully participated in reworking lessons and units including the Global Competences.


Illinois State University Center for Global Studies, Bloomington, Illinois

Chicago Public Schools, Department of Social Studies

World Business Chicago

Chicago Council on Global Affairs

National Resource Centers for International and Area Studies
The Title VI program of the U.S. Department of Education provides funding for professional development and K-12 educational outreach.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:
Center for African Studies(not currently funded)
Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (not currently funded)
European Union Center
Russian and East European and Eurasian Center
Center for International Business Research and Education

National Resource Centers elsewhere in Illinois:
Northern Illinois University Center for Southeast Asian Studies
University of Chicago Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies

Center for Middle Eastern Studies

South Asia Language and Area Center

Consortium for Latin American Studies

Case Studies

Walter Payton College Prep featured in
Andrew Jackson Language Academy, Chicago Public Schools


Ellen Estrada


Karen Hewitt

Global Competence Resources

Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) partnered to define global competence and the skills and abilities that students need to demonstrate to be globally competent.

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