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.

Booking a Global Speaker is Free The Global Speaker Series is sponsored by the Dragons Global Education Fund, in partnership with The Futurity Foundation 501(c)-3. Email info@wheretherebedragons.com or call 303.413.0822 for more information.

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The Global Speaker Series, Topics 2017-2018

 

Damning the Mekong: Gambling with 70 Million Lives
Synopsis: South East Asia is rising, and it’s hungry… For power. Damming the Mekong, the second most biodiverse river in the world, has been put forward by several countries as the solution. But what impact will these hydro dams have on the 70 million people who rely on the river for food, income, ceremony and culture? Having worked with some of the poorest farmers and fishermen in the region for the past four years, Jess will guide students through a series of interactive games and discussions to understand how damming the Mekong will have the greatest impact on the people who rely on it the most
Speaker: Jessica Armstrong, B Science with First Class Honours in Ecology (University Medal), The University of New South Wales
Dates: January and February 2018
Location: NY and CT

 

Why Not to Ride an Elephant in Thailand
Synopsis: Just imagine how incredible it would be to sit atop a massive 9 foot tall, 4 ton beast while lumbering your way through deep rivers and pristine jungle. This is an experience many dream about when planning a visit to Thailand. But have you ever thought about the actual animal you dream of? Where was it born? How was it raise? How was it trained? In this engaging lesson Jess draws on her experience as a biologist living and working in Asia to discuss the impact of “ecotourism” on elephant populations. She will make you consider your power in preventing the harmful treatment animals all around the world and offer simple solutions to promote sustainable and ethical travel.
Speaker: Jessica Armstrong, B Science with First Class Honours in Ecology (University Medal), The University of New South Wales
Dates: January and February 2018
Location: NY and CT

 

From Banana Leaves to Plastic Bags: We are Eating Asia’s Plastic Waste!
Synopsis: 60% of all plastic pollution found in our oceans comes from Asia. Why is that? In countries like the USA following the three RRR’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) is common practice, but in Asia, it’s a different story. Jess is an avid conservationist who is passionate about protecting our oceans. From Asia to the ocean and onto your dinner plate, Jess explains why people in Asia are struggling to deal with their plastic waste and how we are eating it.
Speaker: Jessica Armstrong, B Science with First Class Honours in Ecology (University Medal), The University of New South Wales
Dates: January and February 2018
Location: NY and CT

 

“The Geography of Small Talk”: Greetings Across the Globe
Synopsis: How do you say hello – and what does that reveal about what matters to you? Students will reflect on greetings, from friends to elders, in America and abroad, and consider what those greetings imply about culture, value, and human dignity. Exploring language traditions of West Africa and Senegal in particular, this discussion could also be modified for a French language class.
Speaker: Angelica Calabrese, B.A. Anthropology, Yale University. Angelica’s love of working with students and curiosity about other cultures has led her to work as an educator and writer in West Africa, Southeast Asia, southern Europe, and across the USA.
Dates: January 2018
Location:  NY and CT

 

Encountering the Nacirema
Synopsis: What is culture, and how does it shape our perspective? This interactive discussion will explore what happens when we encounter a different culture, and how this experience often leads us to learn more about ourselves than we might have expected. Drawing on readings, videos, and stories from around the world, we will explore how the place that we come from shapes our experience of the world – and how we can attempt to understand another person’s experience with humility and curiosity
Speaker: Angelica Calabrese, B.A. Anthropology, Yale University. Angelica’s love of working with students and curiosity about other cultures has led her to work as an educator and writer in West Africa, Southeast Asia, southern Europe, and across the USA.
Dates: January 2018
Location: NY and CT

 

The Danger of A Single Story: Colonialism on the African Continent
Synopsis: What stereotypes exist about the African continent – and why? This lesson deconstructs common stereotypes about the African continent to explore the colonial roots of many of the issues perceived to still plague the continent today. Drawing on years of experience in Senegal, Ghana, and Benin, Angelica will explore differences between French and British colonial governments to illuminate the way colonialism continues to affect the continent today.
Speaker: Angelica Calabrese, B.A. Anthropology, Yale University. Angelica’s love of working with students and curiosity about other cultures has led her to work as an educator and writer in West Africa, Southeast Asia, southern Europe, and across the USA.
Dates: January 2018
Location: NY and CT

 

Vivir Bien
Synopsis: Ever notice that the media in the US are always telling us to buy stuff that’s bigger, better and new? In this class we will explore the question, “what does it mean to live a good life?” We will talk about the Andean concept of Sumak Kawsay, which roughly translates to “living well,” which Bolivian and Ecuadorian governments have embraced in varying degrees. This will be an interactive, multimedia presentation, with the option of sections or the entirety taught in Spanish.
Speaker: Leah Erlbaum, B.A. Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic.
Dates: January 2018
Location: VT, MA, NH, ME
***Available in English or Spanish

 

Urbanization in China and the Biggest City You’ve Never Heard of
Synopsis: Drawing on 11 years of life and work experience in China, doctoral research in Anthropology at Stanford University, and a passion for Chongqing’s local history and economic transformation, Jody will introduce students to this city of 12 million and what it can tell us about migration and urbanization in China today. Bonus Topic: For interested Chinese language classrooms, Jody also enjoys performing and discussing Chinese pop songs!
Speaker: Jody Segar, B.A. East Asian Studies, Oberlin College; M.A. Anthropology (Ph.D. ABD), Stanford University. Jody has been pulled back to China again and again since his first visit in 1996.
Dates: October 2017 – March 2018 
Location: CO, CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, VT
***Available in English or Mandarin

 

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 over four years of community work with 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. Rich’s first-hand experiences in Central America can help provide much needed context to our national conversation on immigration.
Speaker: Richard Brown, B.A. Anthropology, Columbia University. Born in South Africa, 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 2018
Location: CT, DC, PA, MD, NJ, NY, VA
***Available in English or Spanish

 

Introduction to Islam 
Synopsis: There are over 1 billion Muslims spread across the globe from all different cultural and societal 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. Cara draws on her own observations and interactions based on her years volunteering, working, or conducting research in the Middle East and North Africa.
Speaker: Cara Lane-Toomey, received her M.A. from the American University in Cairo (AUC) in the Department of Middle East Studies (2011) and also holds a B.A. in Peace Studies and Political Science, minor in Middle Eastern Studies, from University of St. Thomas (2005). Cara spent five years living in the Middle East/North Africa and has worked in the field of international education for the past 10 years.
Dates: December 2017 – March 2018 
Location: DC, MD, VA

 

Tips and Tricks for Learning Arabic
Synopsis: The Arabic language is deemed to be a “critical” and also a “super-hard” language by the U.S. government. With an estimated 88 weeks of full-time intensive study required in order to achieve a professional level proficiency, Arabic learners need all the help they can get to master this critical and challenging language. Cara draws on her own lessons learned to provide a variety of tips and tricks to develop conversational abilities across the Arabic-speaking world. These lessons are based on her 13 years as a student of Arabic and her years volunteering, working, or conducting research in Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, and Oman.
Speaker: Cara Lane-Toomey, received her M.A. from the American University in Cairo (AUC) in the Department of Middle East Studies (2011) and also holds a B.A. in Peace Studies and Political Science, minor in Middle Eastern Studies, from University of St. Thomas (2005). Cara spent five years living in the Middle East/North Africa and has worked in the field of international education for the past 10 years.
Dates: December 2017 – March 2018 
Location: DC, MD, VA

 

Why Hasn’t Democracy Come to China?
Synopsis: For years, political scientists assumed that China’s economic liberalization and increasing connection to the outside world would certainly bring about democracy and the end of the country’s one-party system. China is now the world’s second largest economy and one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, yet the one-party system is stronger than ever. Has China figured out a way to govern effectively without turning to democracy? Or is the Communist Party’s rule bound to end in failure?
Speaker: Joseph Vincent, B.A. Chinese Literature, Reed College. M.A. Chinese Literature, National Taiwan University. Joseph is a translator and educator based in Chengdu, China.
Dates: January 2017 – February 2018
Location: Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio

 

Smog Cities and Solar Farms: China’s Environmental Challenges
Synopsis: In the past 35 years, China’s economy has grown at a scale and rate that is unprecedented in human history. This economic expansion has lifted tens of millions of Chinese people out of poverty, but has also created many environmental problems. From polluted cities to spoiled rivers, China faces environmental challenges of epic proportions. However, China has responded to these problems with green development projects of equally epic scale, including the world’s largest wind farm, massive floating solar islands, and the construction of “eco-cities” around the country. China is currently the world’s biggest polluter, but could it become the global leader in the fight against climate change?
Speaker: Joseph Vincent, B.A. Chinese Literature, Reed College. M.A. Chinese Literature, National Taiwan University. Joseph is a translator and educator based in Chengdu, China.
Dates: January 2017 – February 2018
Location: Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio

 

Good Intentions with Complicated Outcomes: How to Responsibly Volunteer
Synopsis: To volunteer time is often a wonderful and selfless gift to the world. However, sometimes an act of generosity is actually more harmful than helpful. Having spent years volunteering in different parts of the world and instructing groups in volunteer projects, Kristen has valuable experience in understanding the impacts of ‘voluntourism.’ In this lesson, students evaluate and reflect upon service learning while discussing the ways we can continue to give and serve responsibly in the world
Speaker: Kristen Gianaris, M.A. Anthropology and Sociology of Development, The Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland/The American University in Cairo, Egypt; B.A. Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies, Illinois State University.
Dates: January – February 2018
Location: Chicago, IL

 

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
Dates: January – March 2018 
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 iceberg 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
Dates: January – March 2018 
Location: Northern CA

 

Seeds of Culture: Food Systems as a Lens for Understanding Culture and History 
Synopsis: In this talk, Ben explores the possibility of using food as a lens for cultural learning and place-based study. Using history, and plenty of personal anecdotes, the talk dives into examples of food as representations of culture and identity, and demonstrates that studying a place’s food systems will inevitably lead to a better understanding of its people, politics, and social justice issues.
Speaker: Ben Mitzner, B.A. Environmental Studies and Political Economy, Lewis & Clark College. Ben’s love for leading groups in the wilderness have taken him from the Rockies to rural Alaska, Asia, and Latin America.
Dates: January – February 2018 
Location: CA, OR, WA

 

Pack it In or Pack it Out? Impacts of Trekking and Climbing in the Himalaya 
Synopsis: From expensive and complicated permitting systems, to unmanaged waste (human and otherwise), the trekking and commercial climbing industry has had plenty of not-so-pretty impacts on local systems in the Himalaya. Learn more about what issues exist, and what is being done to address them.
Speaker: Ben Mitzner, B.A. Environmental Studies and Political Economy, Lewis & Clark College. Ben’s love for leading groups in the wilderness have taken him from the Rockies to rural Alaska, Asia, and Latin America.
Dates: January – February 2018 
Location: CA, OR, WA

 

Empathy, Yes!
Synopsis: Approaching others with empathy is paramount to the Dragons philosophy. It should be paramount for everyone. As tensions in the US rise, and isolationism and fear gain traction in our national rhetoric, it’s more and more important to learn how to de-escalate rather than antagonize. Ben will provide simple, applicable tools that students (and teachers) can use to take violence out of the debate, leave room for all opinions, and drive connection rather than disconnection.
Speaker: Ben Mitzner, B.A. Environmental Studies and Political Economy, Lewis & Clark College. Ben’s love for leading groups in the wilderness have taken him from the Rockies to rural Alaska, Asia, and Latin America.
Dates: January – February 2018 
Location: CA, OR, WA

 

Down the 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.
Speaker: David Haffeman, B.A. International Business, Fort Lewis College; B.A. Spanish, Fort Lewis College; Teacher Certification K-12 Spanish
Dates: January – February 2018
Location: Colorado and Southern US
***Available in English or Spanish

 

The Living Inca: Reflections from La Nacion Q’Eros of Peru 
Synopsis: What happened to the Inca? is a 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 an informative glimpse into the living traditions of the Inca. And yet, they also represent a complex clash of cultures struggling with the pressures of globalization and development. Accompanied by incredible images, Aaron shares stories from his time living with the communities of Q’eros
Speaker: Aaron Slosberg, M.A. History; B.A. Religion and History, UCLA. Aaron is the Director of Student Programming at Dragons and past field instructor in Latin America and Indonesia
Dates: October 2017 – April 2018
Location: Colorado and other locations by request
***Available in English or Spanish

 

Woven Stories: Telling Stories Through Textiles in Latin America
Synopsis: Storytelling in the Americas brings vibrant, culturally meaningful connections of family and tradition to life, and these stories are literally woven into the fabric of place in textiles. Textiles are embedded with myths, tradition, utility, heroes, and values in their delicate threadwork. In this class, students identify patterns and symbols of textiles across Latin America, Guatemala, Peru, and Bolivia and engage in telling and hearing stories from the beginning of time
Speaker: Sara Russell, M.A. International Education, Endicott College; Graduate Certificate in Learning Design and Technology, Harvard Extension School; BS Biology/Minor in Environmental Studies, University of Minnesota.
Dates: October 2017 – February 2018
Location: Colorado and other locations by request

 

 

 


The Global Speaker Series, Topics 2016-2017

 

Tiny Homes: Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Speaker: Katie Tomai
Synopsis: From suburban NH to rural Nepal, Katie explores the relationship between the structures we live in and how they shape our communities. She draws on her experiences traveling and building a tiny house on wheels to begin a conversation about how we can look to our built environment to create stronger and more resilient communities.
Dates: December 2016
Location: New England and upon request

 

The 500-year Struggle Heats Up: Maya Activism in Guatemala
Synopsis: Indigenous Maya culture is alive and well in Guatemala. Half the country speaks a Maya language as its first language, and Maya philosophy guides social movements around the country as Maya people continue their struggle to overcome centuries of marginalization and oppression. Rich draws on three years of work with community groups in Guatemala to explain how and why Maya people are risking their lives as, after 500 years of struggle, their voices are having a greater impact than ever.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Massachusets, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia

 

Rwanda: Rising From The Ashes
Speaker:Zack Siddall
Synopsis: How a country went from tragedy to one of Africa’s top powerhouses. Join Rwanda Peace Corps volunteer Zack Siddall in a discussion on international development and the resilience of the human spirit.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island

 

Coca: The World’s Most Controversial Plant
Speaker:Zack Siddall
Synopsis: For thousands of years the coca plant has been sacred to the people of the Andes. Today the coca leaf is under attack for its role in cocaine production. Globalization, the US war on drugs and many other factors to be discussed are changing a culture that is fighting to hold onto its Incan roots.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island

 

Development 101: What is a ‘Good Quality of Life’?
Speaker: Cate Brown
Synopsis: What is a good quality of life? What is positive social impact? If you care about the well-being of other humans, where is the best place to begin? Cate leads students through an interactive discussion about the foundational questions of international development and human-centered design. Students will be asked to reflect on their own personal values and ‘recreate’ the rules of their ideal society.
Dates: January 2017
Location: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey

 

Basins at Risk: An Interactive Discussion on Coping with Water Scarcity in the 21st Century
Speaker: Cate Brown
Synopsis:What happens if the Colorado River dries up? The Mekong? The Nile? Will we go to war over water within our lifetime? As we face a future with more people and fewer natural resources, many political scientists have hypothesized that the wars of the 21st century will be fought over water. Cate draws on academic research and personal experiences in the Jordan River Basin and the Mekong River Basin to lead students through a interactive discussion about the future of water in shared river basins. Students will participate in a short simulation and have an opportunity to share their own hypotheses about our future.
Dates: January 2017
Location: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey

 

The Maddening Mess that Madagascar Calls Mobility
Speaker:Briana Nowak
Synopsis: Transit equity is the ability of a person, regardless of socio-economic status, to move freely from point A to point B. There are millions of Americans who struggle with mobility every day, but there are also millions of us who are fortunate enough to have access to a personal vehicle, public transportation, a bike, and safe infrastructure. In Madagascar, a country nearly the size of the state of Texas, mobility for most revolves around a singular form of transportation: the taxi-brousse. In a taxi-brousse, the same 370-mile journey could take 12 hours or 28! How, you ask? Briana will captivate your classroom with her unbelievable stories of Malagasy transportation, the economic impact on its people, and how it compares to transit in the States. Her discussion will take you on a wild ride that is sure to leave you feeling extra comfy on your drive home.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey

 

So, You Live on an Island…
Speaker: Briana Nowak
Synopsis: Imagine you live on an island. On this island, you farm all the things you eat – rice, beans, vegetables, etc. Unfortunately, everything you grow is highly susceptible unpredictable natural disasters such as cyclones, flash flooding, and drought. On top of that, the forests you use for firewood and charcoal are becoming increasingly scarce, threatening your existence. For a lot of us, this is merely a hypothetical – a potential “so you’re stuck on a deserted island” apocalyptic-type scenario. For those in Madagascar, this is everyday life. Briana lays out the impact that decades of slash-and-burn deforestation is now having on the once biodiverse country of Madagascar. She also considers potential solutions learned from course instruction in India and why this problem affects you.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey

 

Deconstructing “Culture”: A Glimpse at Education in China
Speaker: Kristen Gianaris
Synopsis: How did you last use the word “culture?” Perhaps you used it in reference to a people, a place, or a ‘cultural’ experience. Although we tend to use the “culture” in our daily language, do we really understand all that it implies or is made of? Kristen draws on her experience as an English teacher in China to discuss the construction of “culture” through education in Chinese society and beyond.
Dates: 
January and February 2017
Location:
 California

 

Spaces in Words: From the Streets of Chicago to the Middle East
Speaker: Kristen Gianaris
Synopsis: From Chicago’s streets to the streets of the Middle East, Kristen uses an anthropological approach to explore the way spaces are created through artistic mediums such as music and dance. She draws from her field research in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa region) to understand the social and political construction of language and the arts.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location:
 California

 

Public Health in Africa 
Speaker: Laura Chase
Synopsis:  Malaria, HIV/Aids, Ebola, oh my! Three complicated global public health issues, three different examples of development issues in Africa. What are they and why do they persist? What are the deeper problems related to these three major health issues on the African continent? Drawing from her passion of public health and working in development in different countries in Africa, Laura takes us through HIV/AIDS, malaria, and Ebola and explains the deeper impacts these public health crises have had on local communities, as well as how each one comes down to a question of historical context and development.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: California

 

Water, Access, and Justice: The Southeast Alaska to the Sahel
Speaker: Laura Chase
Synopsis: How do we use water in our lives? Water is life. For plants, animals, and every human around the world, we are connected by our need for water as well as our search for water sources. In Southeast Alaska, the world is made of water and access is endless. There one encounters mountains with innumerable waterfalls and streams and rivers that plunge into the ocean and feed the forest; water is everywhere. In the Sahel of West Africa, water is harder to come by. Often found deep in the ground by freshwater wells, women will walk for hours a day to gather fresh water to support life. So how is the water we use connected to our roles as global citizens? In this engaging lesson, outdoorswoman and conservationist Laura Chase draws from her background of outdoor education and life in Alaska to days spent under the heat of the Sahelian sun of West Africa. She will inspire reflection on our own water footprints, discuss how water connects us all, and offer simple solutions to look more deeply at water in a global context.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: California

 

Potatoes in Peru
Speaker: Sara Russell
Synopsis: The Peruvian highlands are home to some of the most stunning crop diversity in the planet, especially in potato varieties. The potato reflects the unique and rich biodiversity of Peru and is a symbol fundamental to the Andean worldview. Join Sara in an interactive tour of how the the humble spud has woven its way through the cultural fabric of the people of the Quechua Valley to become a central pillar of Peruvian identity.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Missouri and Colorado upon request

 

Language on the Verge of Extinction
SpeakerJanpim Wolf
Synopsis: Linguistic diversity is steadily declining and many languages around the world are endangered. Half of the languages spoken today are expected to vanish during this century. As language is closely tied to culture, the cultural identity of many minority communities is at risk. When a language becomes extinct there is a loss of the group’s historical and spiritual knowledge which impacts their traditions and lifestyle. Drawing upon her travels through Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, Jan will engage students in a conversation about the issues surrounding language endangerment and preservation in South East Asia.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Virginia

 

In Pursuit of Truth in Travel Photography
SpeakerJanpim Wolf
Synopsis:How can photographs be used to showcase a holistic depiction of life in other parts of the world? Travel always inspires storytelling. When traveling, one can develop an authentic, captivating visual story by creating visuals that reflect the human experience. Jan Wolf, a graduate from Virginia Commonwealth’s Department of Photography and Film will share photos from her adventures in South East Asia and beyond. She will give tips on how to cultivate a global mindset as the means to approach visual storytelling. Students will learn how to thoughtfully build a visual narrative with consideration to perspective, selective focus, and composition.This talk emphasizes how good travel photography is a product of critical thinking and cultural awareness.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Virginia

 

Choosing Happy: Positive Psychology research in practice
Speaker: Aaron Slosberg
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.
Dates: Ongoing
Location: Flexible

 

Over the Sea: Living with the Sea Nomads of Southeast Asia
Speaker:Aaron Slosberg
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.
Dates: Ongoing
Location: Flexible

 

How to Make a Country in Thirty Days or Less
Speaker: Micah LeMasters
Synopsis: Indonesia, the world’s largest muslim country and the fourth biggest country in the world, is a vast archipelago made up of over 14,000 islands and thousands of languages and cultures brought together in an incredibly short amount of time by a visionary and a dictator. A brief and engaging overview of how Indonesia went from a Dutch colony, to an occupied Japanese territory, to an Independent country in a remarkably short amount of time. This talk will also cover the rule of Sukarno and Suharto that made up the first 50+ years (1945-1999) of Indonesian Independence..
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Illinois and Indiana

 

Nutmeg, etc. 
Speaker: Micah LeMasters
Synopsis:The story of the Spice Trade and how a couple of tiny islands in the middle of the Banda sea fueled the age of exploration, created unbelievable fortunes and once were traded for Manhattan.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Illinois and Indiana

 

Second Star to the Right and Straight on ‘til Morning
Speaker:Micah LeMasters
Synopsis: The unbelievable story of human migration that brought Indonesian and African people to the island of Madagascar. Madagascar was the last landmass on earth to be populated by humans and is home to some of the most diverse and unique cultures and animals on earth. Join Micah LeMasters, returned Peace Corps volunteer, and Dragon’s instructor in a talk that recounts the remarkable people who sailed hand hewn outrigger canoes over thousands of miles of open ocean with nothing more than a complex understanding of the stars and waves.
Dates: January and February 2017
Location: Illinois and Indiana

 

Ingredients of Revolution: Lessons Learned from Latin American Uprisings
Speaker: Britten Ferguson
Synopsis: The political history of Latin America tends to be one of brutal dictatorship, oppressive governments, and the grassroots uprisings that sparked revolution. By examining these movements, attendees leave with a sense of simple, actionable things they can do to become more politically interested, engaged, and equipped to have conversations about our own political climate in the U.S.
Dates:  Flexible
Location: Massachusets and Upon Request

 

The Power of Humility: Stories of Biking Across South America
Speaker: Britten Ferguson
Synopsis: During a 6-month cycling expedition with 45 people from all over the world, Britten tells tales of the countless encounters the group had with local people and how they, more than anything else, shaped an incredibly challenging yet rewarding experience and what it illustrates about the complexities of Latin American culture, both modern as well as traditional.
Dates: Flexible
Location: Massachusets and Upon Request 

 

People-powered Sustainability in Latin America
Speaker: Adelaide Nalley
Synopsis: Environmental and economic constraints, accompanied by care for Pachamama (mother earth), have propelled members of progressive communities throughout Latin America to develop and implement creative and sustainable solutions to their communities’ needs. In this chat we learn about permaculture and appropriate technology through the examples of composting toilets, rocket stoves, and biciblenders!
Dates:  February – March 2017
Location: Pacific Northwest and Northern California