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The Journey: Structuring Travel Between Limol and Daru, An Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship Capstone

By Illia Rebechar, Kian Sahani, Naila Strong, VI Form; and Lina Zhang, V Form

The Journey: Structuring Travel Between Limol and Daru, An Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship Capstone

Note: This capstone was completed for Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship, a course required for completion of a Global Citizenship Diploma.

The capstone project assigned to the class was presented as an opportunity to develop an “empathetic response to a global challenge.” Our group, made up of Illia Rebechar, Kian Sahani, Naila Strong, and Lina Zhang, focused particularly on Papua New Guinea, and we looked into health and healthcare as our challenge. In order to build upon our culturally-relative mindsets, we had to move through the project using the design thinking process. This was comprised of five fluid steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Due to the limits of COVID-19, we were unable to “test” our prototype. We were able to learn more about Papua New Guinea and approach challenges we are not familiar with.

View the Group’s Capstone Project!
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Space is Physical. Place is Personal.

By Kian Sahani, VI Form

Space is Physical. Place is Personal.

As Thomas Bender says in Making Places Sacred, “the places we make act as mirrors to our lives. They reflect the good or ill, passion or indifference, with which we hold them back on to the people whose lives they touch. Places, as well as people, draw sustenance from how they are held in our hearts. How we feel towards them does strongly affect our lives” (Bender 1991: 321). For the Faith Family Missionary Baptist Church, it is the people and the connections made between them that makes it a place. Monique Azzara stresses this fact throughout her article, Grappling with the Impermanence of Place: A Black Baptist Congregation in South Los Angeles. To Faith Family, finding a sense of place does not require significance associated with a physical space, but rather with other people. 

In the article, Azzara describes how Faith Family has no permanent space of worship because of low funding. As a result, members must meet in a different place every time, removing the possibility of a lineal place. Yet, the members are still able to find a sense of place within the community. Azzara provides a strong example of a group of people finding a place within each other, without the need for a physical space, showing how one’s sense of place is relative to their view. The social and spiritual factors of Faith Family are made apparent by Azzara, who argues that “congregants build fellowship by pooling their resources in an attempt to follow the call of God to do good, and to recruit and save the disenfranchised” (Azzara 2019: 77). The members’ sense of place is shaped by these relationships of solidarity. At the same time, their place is challenged when it has no concrete features. 

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Moana: The Movie that Could Have Been

By Lina Zhang, V Form

Moana: The Movie that Could Have Been

As part of Disney’s revival era animations, Moana details the journey of its eponymous heroine to restore peace and prosperity to her island, a community loosely based upon Samoan culture but also drawn from Polynesian culture as a whole. As Moana is one of the first movies to be made about Polynesian cultures, many see it as representation and awareness for the community and dismiss instances of cultural appropriation or misrepresentation in it as mere unintentional accidents. However, it is important to recognize that while the film promotes the positive message of strong femininity in the character of Moana, it also reinforces the limited and stereotypical narrative that Western audiences have of Pacific Islander cultures. From the culturally-insensitive coconut people to Maui’s controversial body, Moana is the movie that could have done better but didn’t, failing its expectations of cultural representation and perpetuating Disney’s trend of cultural appropriation. 

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Humans as One: How The Wayfinders Illustrates Human Integrality

By Kian Sahani, VI Form

Humans as One: How The Wayfinders Illustrates Human Integrality

Language and culture are like animals and plants: the forcefulness of Western culture endangers many of them. In The Wayfinders, Wade Davis explores the concepts of language, culture, race, and the ways they fare in a world primarily dominated by Western ideology. Within his first two lectures, Season of the Brown Hyena and The Wayfinders, Davis argues that although differences between people are fascinating, it is the similarities that are worth celebrating; below the surface, each person is virtually the same.

Season of the Brown Hyena begins with the statement that “on average, every fortnight an Elder dies and carries with him or her into the grave the last syllables of an ancient tongue” (Davis 2009, 3). Davis then continues with the argument that with every language there is an associated culture; therefore, for every language lost, there is a culture lost as well. Each language has the idiosyncrasies that make it unique, allowing a whole new culture to bloom from it. For example, the different ways in which people may describe a color can reflect something about their culture, such as how much of a role color plays into tradition or how specific one must be with different shades. Each ethnic group’s Sprachgefül, as Germans would call it, affect how the group views language. Lera Boroditsky’s TED Talk regarding “How Language Shapes the Way We Think” explains how differences in language are reflected in physical differences in the brain. These differences will affect thoughts, which, in turn, change beliefs and morals, generating a unique culture. Each of the latter is worth celebrating as Davis states, “every culture is by definition a vital branch of our family tree, a repository of knowledge and experience, and, if given the opportunity, a source of inspiration and promise for the future” (Davis 2009, 5). At the same time, every human on this Earth is almost identical to one another, according to biology. 

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Globalization Through Glow Sticks

By Andria Bao, III Form

Globalization Through Glow Sticks

Editor’s Note: For this assignment, III form students in The Global Seminar (TGS) were asked to create an infographic that could tell the story of globalization through a chosen product.

Click for a more detailed PDF of Andria’s Infographic
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Embracing Global Citizenship in Sri Lanka

By Anishka Yerabothu, VI Form

Embracing Global Citizenship in Sri Lanka

Editor’s Note: This article was previously published by Anishka Yerabothu and Educate Lanka in Medium. It is republished here with permission.

This summer, I traveled to Kandy, Sri Lanka for three weeks to volunteer with the Educate Lanka Foundation. I first came across Educate Lanka when I began researching global citizenship opportunities through my high school — St. Mark’s School— last fall. The opportunity with Educate Lanka immediately appealed to me and my parents because my great-grandparents lived in Sri Lanka for 40 years, leaving before the civil war that ravaged the country broke out in 1983. They carried with them their love for the country, the people, and the cuisine, and they shared that love with the entire family. My grandmother still prepares traditional Sri Lankan dishes we enjoy at home.

As part of my research into the opportunity with Educate Lanka, my family and I watched the TEDx Talk of Educate Lanka’s founder — Manjula Dissanayake; his message about creating universal opportunities resonated with my family. After conversations with Dr. Laura Appell-Warren, the Director of Global Citizenship at St. Mark’s, and Mr. Dissanayake about volunteering with Educate Lanka, we finalized the plan for my travel in June. We bought a plane ticket and arrangements for my stay in Sri Lanka were made in coordination with Educate Lanka staff.

On the morning of April 21, 2019, however, we woke to the shocking news of the Easter Sunday terrorist bombings at Sri Lankan churches and hotels.

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