Education school Professor Fernando Reimers discussed the Graduate School of Education’s commitment to global issues, explaining and promoting two of the school’s key initiatives at an event last Friday.
Part of the Education school’s “Askwith” series, the forum, titled “Learning to Change the World,” was part of the University’s first-ever WorldWide Week. Reimers talked about the school’s mission of creating educational opportunities that extend beyond Cambridge.
“The school has educated thousands of students who have gone on to advance public education all over the world,” he said. “Our faculty has conducted research in many different settings around the world, and we have built scores of international collaborations in that process.”
According to Reimers, the Ed School strives to advance “Harvard’s cosmopolitan ambition” to understand the world and to be of service to the world by sharing knowledge that can improve it through education.
Reimers currently leads the school’s Global Education Innovation Initiative, a program that designs new tools and curriculums to support effective educational practices that teach children in ten different countries. The program produces digital resources and hosts conferences for educators from around the world.
“We hope to promote dialogue and learning among education policymakers, leaders, practitioners, and researchers on educational purposes in the 21st century and practices to achieve them,” he said.
Reimers said the initiative works to empower young people, particularly those who are the most vulnerable and least privileged, through public education systems.
Reimers also serves as faculty director of The International Education Policy Program, a year-long and full-time program that allows graduate students to explore educational challenges that pertain to various regions around the world, such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
Ameya Kamath, a student at the Education School and a master’s candidate in the program, said that under the Reimers’ guidance, he hopes to implement curriculums that will help to better the quality of education in India, his native country.
“In the classroom we’re focused on our own settings, but thinking of the greater world and education in different contexts and cultures really helps develop competency, leadership, and social entrepreneurship in children,” said Kamath. “We’re using the world as our playground.”
Kamath said the relationships Reimers has developed over the course of his career have positioned him well to lead the Ed School’s global initiatives.
“He’s very connected with multiple state actors and international organizations such as UNESCO and UNICEF and it makes him a very suitable person to be working in the realm of international education,” Kamath said.
Dana C. McCoy, an associate professor at the Education School, said the school’s educational goals should reflect the strength and diversity of a global society.
“I would also say that increasingly outside of Harvard we are a global society,” she said. “The world is becoming more global and interconnected and to ignore those connections is really antithetical to the goals of higher education.”
—Staff writer Sonia Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @soniakim211.
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