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2023 Public Global Speaker Series

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Alex Biddle

Impromptu teaching in the Himalayas

Impromptu teaching in the Himalayas. Photo by Arvin Dang, Instructor.

We’re celebrating our 11th year of the Global Speaker Series! 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. While we used to do this for schools only, this year we’re really excited to offer these talks to anyone who would like to join. Our 2022/2023 virtual global speaker series includes a range of talks focusing on topics such as climate change, advocacy through story, and learning service.

Select one (or many!) of our free 60-min global talks (free talks are listed below – click on the title to register for the talk on Zoom) that are funded by Dragons and offer the opportunity to engage with critical global conversations. If you’re an educator interested in booking a talk for your classroom, you can do that here. Again, these are talks are open to anyone (general public) who is interested in learning more about one of these topics.

Please note that most of these talks are on Tuesdays at 5pm MST, but some deviate from that schedule to accommodate speakers’ time zones and availability.

2023 Global Speaker Series 

Climate Justice in Cambodia

January 25, 5pm MST

Cambodia is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change. As its youthful population grows, Cambodia is bearing the consequences of industrialized nations historical emissions and experiencing its own challenges of deforestation and ecosystem loss. Earth rights defenders stand between the world’s most powerful corporations and the world’s most valuable natural resources. But these courageous individuals are threatened. In this lesson, Brendon will draw on his experience training human rights and environmental activists throughout Asia to discuss primary threats to the environment and indigenous communities, issues related to climate justice, and solutions to protect earth rights defenders and the communities that they serve.

Speaker: Brendon Hahns Thomas, B.A. International Relations and Economics, Michigan State University | M.A. Global Human Development, Georgetown University


The Social Determinants of Health in our Local and Global Communities 

February 12th, 5pm MST

In the era of COVID-19, Global Health has never been more top of mind. While our headlines are burdened with our current pandemic, the origins of why certain communities are more susceptible to poorer health outcomes and the political, cultural, environmental and religious factors are often left out of the conversation. This talk dives into the basics of the “why” behind global and community health using case studies, tangible examples and reframes the way we think about our health and the health of the communities we visit and learn.

Speaker: Beth Eanelli, B.A. Bucknell University, Psychology & Creative Writing | MSc-GH Duke University, Global Health & International Development Policy


A Proper Woman: Challenging Social Norms to Pursue Your Dreams

March 15th, 5pm MST

My name is Thavry and I have been born and raised in a male dominated world. Cambodian people hold strongly to traditional cultural norms and pass them along from one generation to the next, especially in the remote village I grew up in. Not all of the norms are bad, but some are simply unfair to women. I will compare how social norms treated women within 3 generations in my own family, and what happens if one tries to break free? Why can’t women dream big? Why does getting education seem so impossible? Why can’t they travel far? Why can’t they just be themselves and do what they want? Why does it always feel like just being a woman is a curse?

Speaker: Thavry Thon, B.A. Information Management, University of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic


Creating Purpose in a Changing World

March 29th, 5pm MST

Adolescence is a tremendous period of neuroplasticity and transformation. As the brain reaches its highest malleability, youth have an opportunity to operate out of their greatest potential if given the correct tools and direction. This talk looks at how to step into our purpose and design a life shaped by its trajectory. What is personally meaningful and what is most central to our identity? What motivates us to be of consequence in the world? Purpose paths are nonlinear and unique, and in this time together we will uncover how to develop goals, motivation and action in line with our values. Purpose is associated with psychological well-being, school engagement and belonging – cultivating hope for a brighter future in our changing world.

Speaker: Rebecca Frances Burns, B.A. Globalization and Education, NYU | M.A. Adolescent Psychology, and a candidate for a PhD in Sustainability Education, Prescott College in Arizona


How to Unsettle Yourself: Practicing Solidarity with Indigenous communities

April 5th, 12pm MST

How do you reckon with the ongoing reality of settler-colonialism and racism–from your own life, to your community and the place you live? Charis will share stories about being a White settler involved in work to support Indigenous sovereignty. Her stories are grounded in her own family’s immigration and presence on this continent over the last 400 years. She will share her own personal journey of reckoning, and how her collaboration with Nuumu, Hupa, and Shoshone folks has shaped her understanding of what healing from settler colonialism and racism must look like. From what it means to re-work a settler relationship to the places we live, to practicing deep relational solidarity with Indigenous friends and colleagues, to dealing with the fact that not all who settled here did so by choice–Charis brings a personal, intimate description of her bumpy pathway to trying to be in better relation with the watersheds and people to whom she owes her life.

Speaker: Dr. Charis Boke, B.A. English, Mills College; M.A. Social Sciences, University of Chicago; Ph.D. Anthropology, Cornell University


Commodity, Community or Sacred: A Multicultural Perspective on Fresh Water

May 5th, 5pm MST

The most abundant component of the earth, inherently valuable and fundamental to any ecosystem: water. One of the most pressing social issues of our time, it is a multidimensional resource, sometimes perceived as an economic good, sometimes as a common good and for some communities as a living being or a sacred spirit. This talk is a journey through different contexts and cultures, perceptions and possibilities that coexist around fresh water.

Speaker: Itza Martinez de Eulate Lanza, M.A. Water Science and Integrated Management, Universidad de Barcelona | B.A. Environmental Engineer, Universidad Centro Americana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua | Instructor in Biointensive Growing Method by Ecology Action in Willits, California, USA


Mindful Living: The Yogic Way


How can we use yoga to achieve a complete state of relaxation and bliss? Though the benefits of yoga are well-known, the fundamental purpose of yoga is often overlooked by many modern practitioners. Beyond merely bending the body, the science of yoga provides the ultimate tool for enhancing human capabilities and functioning at the highest peak of body and mind. When we say “yoga,” for most people it probably means twisting the body into impossible postures. That’s not what yoga is all about. Asanas are a very preparatory step, but unfortunately they are being propagated as the whole of yoga. Yoga means to be in perfect tune with your body, mind and spirit such that existence is in absolute harmon

Speaker: Hemant Kumar Tiwari, M.Sc. & B.Sc. in Yoga (Theory & Practice) from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University

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