Global Speaker Series

Bring the world into your classroom

Each year our best teachers—with years of international education experience—speak in classrooms  across the United States to share their perspectives and insights with students ready to engage with critical and compelling global questions. We are currently booking our 2023-24 virtual global speaker series.

Global Connection

Our Speaker Series is committed to cross-cultural education. We view it as a tool for breaking down barriers, enhancing understanding between communities across the world, and bringing what we’ve learned abroad back home to share.

Engaging Facilitation

We invite you to look at some of the conversations our staff are facilitating. Whether you are a teacher of Language Studies, Geography, Science, History, Social Studies, Religion, or Art, we hope to have a topic of interest to you.

Critical Issues

Speakers cover a range of compelling global topics that are designed to push students to challenge their assumptions through real-world insights.

Request a Global Speaker

Select one of our free 60-min global talks that are funded by Dragons and offer your students the opportunity to engage with critical global conversations. More than three talks at the same school will incur a small speaker fee to ensure we can meet the demand of our constituents.




Climate Change’s Cultural Side
Synopsis: Even with 100% renewable electricity and a complete shift to electric cars, the United States would still produce more greenhouse gases per capita than China or any Western European country. The average U.S. resident emits double the average German. Throughout human history, sustainable practices have been primarily cultural, not technological. Out of necessity, communities all over the world develop life ways that match the landscapes and ecosystems they are a part of. This talk is a tour of cultures in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Amazon, and the Mekong River Basin asking what the modern Western world might learn about solving environmental problems from communities that live more in touch with the natural world.
Speaker:Jeff Wagner, Founder of Groundwork climate education nonprofit, B.A. Environmental Studies, Western American Studies, and Geography – University of Colorado


We Are Not The Future; We are the present! Unleashing youth activism across borders
Synopsis: Young people make up 1.2 billion of the world’s population. In regions like Latin America, they constitute around 60-70% of the population. We are everywhere, except in decision-making spaces and dialogues. Our world is facing one of the most significant changes in human history: climate change. Every day, we see how the rising temperatures, unpredictable weather conditions, and extreme weather affect everyone worldwide. If young people don’t act now, there won’t be a future to wait for. But rather than focusing on a bleak future, Stephanie aims to awaken the activist spirit in young hearts. If we all act together as a collective with real and cross-border solutions, we still have hope. Global citizenship is not just about living and traveling abroad; it’s about connecting with the land and protecting it as our own. After all, we all belong to Mother Earth, and it is our duty to protect her now.
Speaker: Stephanie Guarachi-Ayala. Youth mentor and Social Entrepreneur, B.A. Human Ecology, – College of the Atlantic.
*Available in Spanish


Commodity, Community or Sacred: A Multicultural Perspective on Fresh Water
Synopsis: Water unites us all. We are made of water, and we need it to live. And yet, increasingly, the relationship between communities and their water is being slowly lost. For some, water has become an economic resource, or a monthly utility bill, while for others it is a sacred spirit, or life source. How can we sustain both perspectives of the same resource? This talk presents philosophical debates, social movement case studies from Latin America and conversations on fresh water and Human Rights on a planetary scope to explore multicultural perspectives on relations to water.
Speaker: Itza Martinez Eulate Lanza. Fresh water policy specialist, M.A. Water Science and Integrated Management, Universidad de Barcelona.B.A. Environmental Engineer, Universidad Centro Americana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua.
*Available in Spanish




Why study abroad is more important than ever in a post-Covid world
Study abroad and international travel came to a screeching halt one week in March four years ago. As many expatriates returned to their home countries and students who had planned cultural immersion and language-learning opportunities abroad turned their dreams elsewhere, the world, too, began to retreat behind borders as countries navigated wide-ranging public health responses to the pandemic. When China, one of the last countries with strict travel restrictions, resumed international tourism in late 2022, another phase of the pandemic crawled to a close. However, as travelers, the world we’re looking towards in 2024 is markedly different to the one we left behind in 2020. As this new chapter takes shape, what is most exciting, and most important, about a gap year in our post-Covid landscape?
Speaker: Maddie Melton, Silk Road & China Language Course Director, M.S. Environmental Humanities, University of Utah; B.A.H. Anthropology, University of Cape Town; B.A. Anthropology, Chinese, Psychology, and Drama, Rhodes University
*Available in Mandarin


The Interconnection of Geography & Culture in the Bolivian Andes and Amazon
Synopsis: How does a glacier’s base become a sacred site for locals? Why is the preservation of diverse Andean potato species culturally imperative? Through tales from the Andes and Amazon, Ben explores the profound impact of geography and ecosystems on cultures near and far. This presentation delves into Bolivia’s stunning geography, the sway of indigenous communities, and the political context. It fosters a discussion on the undeniable connections between geography and culture, shedding light on human influences like conflict and migration. Students will depart with a deep appreciation for Bolivia, one of the world’s most diverse countries and learn more about what it’s such an incredible place to visit.
Speaker: Ben Daley, Wilderness guide, South America Course Director, B.S. Latin American Studies, Lewis and Clark College
*Available in Spanish


A Cup of Tea: History, Culture, and Ceremony in China and the World
Synopsis: Did you know that all tea comes from the same plant? Or that tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world (after water)? Learn the fascinating story of tea: a key player in wars and revolutions, as well as an object of art, medicine, and meditation. This presentation delves into the history of tea, from ancient Chinese legends to the Tea Horse Road to its spread around the globe. Madeleine also draws on her time living in tea-producing villages in southwestern China and her travels to the tea mountains of Taiwan and Thailand to share how tea is traditionally grown, harvested, processed, and enjoyed. Optional tea ceremony demonstration and/or tea tasting following presentation!

What is Ethical Travel? Being a Good Guest in Other People’s Homes
Synopsis: International travel & tourism is a trillion-dollar industry encompassing everything from all-inclusive cruises to youth volunteer trips. In this workshop inspired by the travel writing of Bani Amor, students will dig into travel culture and the inequalities that plague it. We will ask big, messy questions such as: How can we be good guests in other people’s homes? How do we grapple with power and privilege abroad? What does it mean to decolonize travel? Madeleine shares her own reflections from researching tourist villages in southwestern China and leading groups of students abroad in Asia. Students will leave the workshop with a renewed perspective on travel, ideas to keep in mind for future trips, and, likely, more questions than answers.

Speaker: Madeleine Colvin, Fullbright Research Grant Recipient, Dragons Instructor in Southeast Asia, China, and Taiwan, M.Ed Curriculum & Instructions: Education for Environment & Community, University of Washington; B.A. International Relations, Pomona College

Next Steps

Please reach out to us with questions regarding our specific speakers or to customize some programming that fits your classroom needs. Contact [email protected] for more information. Space is limited and we recommend booking soon.

Request a Global Speaker
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