Global Speaker Series

Bring the world into your classroom.

Global Issues At Dragons we see exceptional beauty in diversity. And we believe that the experience of connecting with unfamiliar cultures has something to teach everyone. We are dedicated to cross-cultural learning because we know that future leaders will be required to think beyond borders. Part of our work in this world is to bring what we’ve learned abroad back home to share.

Guest Teachers + Engaging Facilitation With this mission in mind, each year we send our best teachers—with years of international education experience—to schools across the United States to share their perspectives and insights with students ready to engage with critical and compelling global questions.

Bold Conversation We invite you to look at some of the conversations our staff are facilitating in classrooms around the country. 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. If one of the following class titles piques your curiosity, please get in touch. We’d be happy to coordinate a visit from one of our teachers to speak to your class on the subject. And if there’s a topic you would like to address that’s not on this list, let us know. It’s exactly this type of question-based collaboration with students, schools, and educators that inspires us.

As part of our educational mission, the Global Speaker Series is funded by Where There Be Dragons. There are no costs associated with requesting a speaker.

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 Global Speaker Series, Topics 2018-2019

 

Power & Privilege
Synopsis: This seminar highlights activities and discussions on the challenging topic of power dynamics in the U.S. Students will learn tools, frameworks, and common language to delve into anti-oppression work. It is reflective, experiential, and participatory. Race, class, ability, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation…bring it on!
Speaker: Sarah White, Ph.D. Anthropology and Social Change, California Institute of Integral Studies (Candidate), M.A. Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management, SIT Graduate Institute, M.Res. Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews, B.A. Global Studies: Performing Arts & Social Justice, Global College
Dates: January and March
Location: Northern CA

 

Structural Violence
Synopsis: Students will be introduced to a powerful conceptual framework for understanding the differences between institutional, cultural, and direct violence. The iceburg model of violence pushes students to see through a new lens, deepening their understanding of the world around them. Student-centered, this seminar allows young people to connect their personal experiences to broader processes. If desired, it can be paired with a critical exploration of The American Dream, or a complementary framework of how to find root causes of contemporary social issues
Speaker: Sarah White, Ph.D. Anthropology and Social Change, California Institute of Integral Studies (Candidate), M.A. Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management, SIT Graduate Institute, M.Res. Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews, B.A. Global Studies: Performing Arts & Social Justice, Global College
Dates: January and March
Location: Northern CA

 

Choose Your Own Adventure: Indian Subcontinent Edition
Synopsis: Explore the diversity of the Indian subcontinent in a “choose your own adventure” themed lesson, where the class will direct the discussion to engage in various topics most of their interest while pulling together threads along common themes. Topics may include Partition, Gandhi, the Ramayana, Indian languages, Bangladeshi history, Indian holistic medicine, current Indian politics, and more, according to the curiosities of the class.
Speaker: Christy Sommers, M.A. International Education and Development; University of Sussex, B.A. Political Science and International Studies; Northwestern University, Fulbright Fellow, Bangladesh, 2010-2011
Dates: March
Location:  CA

 

Introduction to Bangladesh
Synopsis: Dubbed a “basket case” by Henry Kissinger at the birth of Bangladesh as a new nation in 1971, this country has often been portrayed as a place of famine and natural disaster. Bangladesh has recently garnered more international attention as the new home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, but the news often eclipses a more nuanced understanding of the rich Bangladeshi and Bengali culture. This interactive lesson will provide a basic introduction to Bangladesh’s history, including the effects of Partition on present-day Bangladesh and the country’s war for its independence, and touch on the literary and musical influences that define the culture of a nation.
Speaker: Christy Sommers, M.A. International Education and Development; University of Sussex, B.A. Political Science and International Studies; Northwestern University, Fulbright Fellow, Bangladesh, 2010-2011
Dates: March
Location:  CA

 

Urbanization in China and the Biggest City You’ve Never Heard Of
Synopsis: Drawing on more than 11 years of life and work experience in China, doctoral research in Anthropology, and a passion for Chongqing’s local history and economic transformation, Jody will introduce students to this city of 12 million and discuss migration and urbanization in China today.
Speaker: Jody Segar, Jody’s lifelong interest in China began when he first took a Chinese language class in high school…he went on to spend many years studying, working, conducting ethnographic research and living throughout China. Jody is passionate about introducing students to China’s diversity – especially it’s religious traditions, food, music and modern history.
Bonus Topic: For interested Chinese language classrooms, Jody also enjoys performing and discussing Chinese pop songs!
Dates: October – March 
Location: NY, CT, MA, NH, RI, VT, NJ, PA
***Available in Mandarin

 

Introduction to Islam
Synopsis: There are 1 billion+ Muslims  spread across the globe from all different backgrounds. The socio-political events of the last decade and a half have made it more important than ever for Americans to have a basic understanding of and a forum to ask critical questions about Islam. Shino provides a quick overview of the 5-pillars of Islam and discusses the different ways in which the religion is practiced across the Middle East and North Africa. Shino draws on her own observations and interactions based on her years volunteering, working, or conducting research in Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, and Oman.
Speaker: Shino Yoshen, B.A. International Studies: Concentration in Peace and Conflict Resolution, Minor in Arabic Language – American University – USA, M.A. International Education and Globalization – University of Bath – United Kingdom
Dates:  November – April
Location: NY, CT, NJ, PA, DC, VA, MD, MA, NH, RI

 

Taiwan: A Brief Introduction
Synopsis: Where is Taiwan, and what makes this island similar to and different from other parts of the Chinese-speaking world? This interactive lesson will provide a basic introduction to Taiwan’s history, including aboriginal history, the Japanese colonial period, the martial law era under the Nationalist Party, and democratization in the late 20th century. Students will leave this lesson with the historical context necessary for understanding both the complexity of Taiwanese identity and the island’s pivotal role in China-US relations.
Speaker: Joseph Vincent, BA Chinese Literature, Reed College; MA Chinese Literature, National Taiwan University; Joseph is a translator and educator based in Beijing, China
Dates: January and February
Location: NY, CT, NH, NJ, PA, IL, OH
***Available in Mandarin

 

East Meets West: An Infographic Portrait
Synopsis: The artist and visual designer Yang Liu was born in China and has lived in Germany since she was 14. By growing up in two very different places with very different traditions, she was able to experience the differences between the two cultures first-hand. Drawing from her own experience Yang Liu created minimalistic visualizations using simple symbols and shapes to convey just how different the two cultures are. In this lesson, students will analyze images that represent different aspects of Chinese and western culture and discuss how these differences might play out in the real world. This lesson can be facilitated in both Chinese and English.
Speaker: Joseph Vincent, BA Chinese Literature, Reed College; MA Chinese Literature, National Taiwan University; Joseph is a translator and educator based in Beijing, China
Dates: January and February
Location: NY, CT, NH, NJ, PA, IL, OH
***Available in Mandarin

 

Spiritual Ecology: The Role of Religion in Modern Environmentalism
Synopsis: The roots of society’s biggest problems often stem from the widening gap between our lifestyles and values and our true nature as biological beings in an ecosystem. Spiritual Ecology calls for a reexamination of our attitudes and beliefs about the Earth and our spiritual as well as physical responsibilities to the planet as a response to our current global environmental crisis. From ordaining trees as monks to honoring forest spirits, learn about how communities around the world utilize mindfulness and self-awareness to heal this human-environment relationship.
Speaker:  Kelsey Rae DaileyM.S. Hydrology and Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder; B.S. Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University. Kelsey is as an Earth scientist and educator who has worked with students in Southeast Asia, China, Central America, and across the USA. She is passionate about the roles of science communication and self-awareness in the human-environment relationship.
Dates: January – March
Location: Northern CA, MA, RI, NH, VT

 

Nature as the Other: The Dangers of “Wilderness”
Synopsis: Historically, land has been set aside globally in national parks, reserves, and conservation areas in order to protect it from the impacts of human development, despite the less obvious interconnectedness of all land and water. But what does this say about our valuation of other lands like cities and landfills? We explore how this standard and others have transformed our perception of what “nature” is and how a focus on sustainable development and environmental justice provides a different option both globally and locally.
Speaker:  Kelsey Rae DaileyM.S. Hydrology and Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder; B.S. Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University. Kelsey is as an Earth scientist and educator who has worked with students in Southeast Asia, China, Central America, and across the USA. She is passionate about the roles of science communication and self-awareness in the human-environment relationship.
Dates: January – March
Location: Northern CA, MA, RI, NH, VT

 

Change Knows No Boundaries: Climate, Consumption, and Compassion
Synopsis: Climate change and globalization are causing extreme ecological and cultural transformations to happen everywhere on our planet. From remote inland villages to lush tropical beaches, no place is untouched. Learn about the basics of climate change, the impacts to come, and how thinking globally while acting locally and approaching the future and others with compassion can heal our “doomsday” relationship with this wicked problem.
Speaker:  Kelsey Rae DaileyM.S. Hydrology and Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder; B.S. Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University. Kelsey is as an Earth scientist and educator who has worked with students in Southeast Asia, China, Central America, and across the USA. She is passionate about the roles of science communication and self-awareness in the human-environment relationship.
Dates: January – March
Location: Northern CA, MA, RI, NH, VT

 

The Fortune Cookie in America: Consuming a Fabricated Conception of China
Synopsis: Although everyone in an American classroom would recognize a fortune cookie, what if we told you the same is not true in the Chinese world? Evidence shows that fortune cookies actually originated in Japan. Why then has the fortune cookie come to represent China and influenced evolving conceptions of “Chinese-ness” in the United States? Join Marcus for a fun discussion on the impact of language and translation on cross cultural image creation.
Speaker: Marcus Larsen-Strecker, B.A. International Relations and Asian Studies, Tufts University; M.A. Graduate Program in Translation and Interpretation, National Taiwan University
Dates: January 
Location: MA, RI, ME, VT, and NH
***Available in Mandarin

 

Camino Inca, or Camino de Llamas? (Inca Trail, or Llama trail?)
Synopsis: While their most recognized trading routes lie near Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Incan empire’s network of trails spanned the length of South America. However, great civilizations and animals thrived across the continent before the Inca and created the foundation for these routes. Ben focuses on the role early llama migrations played in helping the Inca create footpaths in Bolivia that connected regions ranging from 17,000 to 500 feet, as he opens a broader discussion about how trails, roads, and highways are created through ancient processes.
Speaker:  Ben Daley, Psychology and Latin American Studies, Lewis and Clark College. Ben is a current field instructor in South America.
Dates: January – March
Location: SC, NC, GA, TN,, OR, WA, CA
***Available in Spanish

 

Feminism: Bettering the Lives of All
Synopsis: Feminism is often thought of as the advocacy for equality among genders. But can the goals of feminism change within impoverished communities that suffer from inhumane working conditions? In Bolivian mining towns and cities, groups of women organize to alleviate hunger and provide alternative work opportunities for all, through empowering women and changing gender structures. Ben discusses Bolivia’s history of exploitation and inequality while asking the broader question: how can a society resist oppression if half of its population is oppressed from within?
Speaker:  Ben Daley, Psychology and Latin American Studies, Lewis and Clark College. Ben is a current field instructor in South America.
Dates: January – March
Location: SC, NC, GA, TN, OR, WA, CA
***Available in Spanish

 

The Forces Behind Migration from Central America
Synopsis: Migrants regularly risk their lives, and sometimes lose them, to reach the US from Central America. Rich will draw on four years of work with community groups in Guatemala to explore the motivations that compel people to migrate, the dangers they face, and the social, economic, and historical factors that have led to recent waves of migration.
Speaker: Richard Brown, Rich grew up traveling and in 2013 moved to Guatemala where he’s lived since. He edits the website of EntreMundos Magazine, a bilingual human rights and development publication that focuses on grassroots activism. He loves the challenge of traveling and working in foreign countries because it teaches him something new every day.
Dates: January – February
Location: PA, NJ, NY, CT, MD, VA, DC
***Available in Spanish

 

Down River: The Flow of Water and Wealth
Synopsis: From the Amazon to the Colorado River Basin, explore the relationship we have with water and how it has shaped our social and political climates. David will relate the environmental impacts dams have had on local ecosystems with the economic benefits that are essential to global economies. David will share his experiences interacting with local communities whose lifestyles are dependent on these meandering giants. This lesson is also available in Spanish.
Speaker:  David Haffeman
Dates: Ongoing
Location: TX and CO upon request
***Available in Spanish

 

Choosing Happy: Positive Psychology Research in Practice
Synopsis: Stress, anxiety, and struggle can leave us feeling overwhelmed and under empowered. How can we source happiness amidst the challenges and pressures of daily life? Pulling from the latest research in positive psychology, Aaron offers practical and proven tools to understand and foster a more positive mindset. A popular talk with students and teachers, attendees will walk away with an awareness of our power and choice to create happiness in myriad small yet important ways.
Speaker: Aaron SlosbergM.A. History, University of California. B.A. Religion and History, University of California. Aaron has spent 600+ days in the field as a Dragons Instructor in Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, and Indonesia.
Dates: Ongoing
Location: CO & CA upon request 
***Available in Spanish

 

The Living Inca: Reflections from La Nacion Q’eros
Synopsis: What happened to the Inca? This is common question for anyone interested in the history behind Machu Picchu. The people of la Nacion Q’eros would simply reply, “we’re still here.” Nacion Q’eros offers a colorful glimpse into traditions surviving in the direct lineage of the Inca. And yet, it also represents a complex world struggling with the sacrifices and adaptations mandated by globalization and development. Accompanied by incredible images, Aaron shares stories from his time visiting the communities of Q’eros.
Speaker: Aaron SlosbergM.A. History, University of California. B.A. Religion and History, University of California. Aaron has spent 600+ days in the field as a Dragons Instructor in Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, and Indonesia.
Dates: Ongoing
Location: CO & CA upon request 
***Available in Spanish

 

Over the Sea: Living with Sea Nomads in Southeast Asia
Synopsis: For millennia the Bajau people have roamed the tropical waters of southeast Asia. With stricter immigration laws these historically nomadic peoples are being settled into floating fishing communities around the archipelagos of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Aaron shares incredible stories and images from his 6 years of visits to one Indonesian Bajau village completely detached from land. Learn about the colorful mixture of Islam with local beliefs, traditional spear fisherman who can dive to over 80 feet without oxygen, the impacts of global warming on coral reefs and communities, and the fascinating realities of a people far removed yet still connected to our daily lives in the US.
Speaker: Aaron SlosbergM.A. History, University of California. B.A. Religion and History, University of California. Aaron has spent 600+ days in the field as a Dragons Instructor in Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, and Indonesia.
Dates: Ongoing
Location:CO & CA upon request 
***Available in Spanish

 

Social Cohesion: Diversity vs. Division
Synopsis: The importance of diversity is difficult to argue against: conformity is the enemy of innovation and difference is potentially a catalyst for discussion and growth.  However, difference, as history has taught us, also presents challenges.  This seminar explores some of the nuances behind division versus diversity through the lens of case studies where there have been intentional interventions to promote social cohesion.  Specifically, we will look at the mechanisms behind the relatively peaceful transition out of Apartheid for South Africa and the complex role language has played in post-conflict Sri Lanka.  These discussions will enable us to gain more insight into the complexities of achieving social cohesion and distill strategies, at an individual level, on how to seek and grow from diverse environments.
Speaker: Steve Roberts, BSocSci (Economics & Film), MA (Education and International Development), MA (Digital Technologies, Communication and Education)
Dates: February
Location: CA 

 

Advocating Through Story
Synopsis: Stories can change the course of history.  We all have them and are often touched and influenced by the tales of others.  From advocacy to entertainment, stories have the power to influence, amuse and evoke an emotional response within the listener.  This workshop looks at the social and economic impact of selection of stories, explores ways to structure a story for engagement and impact, and gives participants the opportunity for practice.  Drawing on the concepts of global citizenship and leadership, we will reflect on the impact individuals wish to have on the planet and the role story can play in advocating for this.
Speaker: Steve Roberts, BSocSci (Economics & Film), MA (Education and International Development), MA (Digital Technologies, Communication and Education)
Dates: February
Location: CA 

 


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