2015 Global Exchange

Global Nomads Group

New York, NY
2015 Winner for Global Exchange Award
About Global Exchange Award

Empowers users with opportunities for meaningful collaboration with other learners around the world.

Provide an overview of the project, practice or product that your video represents, and how your work encompasses the principles and ideals of the award that you're applying for.

Global Nomads Group (GNG) was founded in 1998 with the belief that every child deserves a meaningful cross-cultural exchange during their education. By leveraging technology, GNG enables conversations between middle school and high school students who otherwise would not meet. These exchanges promote empathy, peace, and build 21st century workforce skills. GNG operates at the intersection of international and peace education, serving as a vehicle for awareness, bridging the boundaries of cultural misconceptions. GNG optimizes the power of media tools, including interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, documentaries, social networking, gaming, participatory filmmaking, and virtual reality. These mediums are incorporated into our programs for student participation. GNG is continually innovating to work closer with educators and students and to create curriculum which is interculturally accessible. Similarly, we continue to incorporate new technologies into our curriculum. Currently, GNG is working with pioneers of the field of virtual reality (VR), including Nonny de la Peña. Our latest VR endeavor was entitled Reimagine: Syria, during which students in inner-city Los Angeles, California experienced a few minutes of life in Syria through virtual reality experience designed by Nonny de la Pena’s Immersive Journalism initiative at the University of Southern California. Students then connected with Syrian refugees at the Mahatta Community Center in Amman, Jordan in two videoconferences. With this new perspective on the Syrian war and impact on their peers’ lives, American students were able to have a more insightful and empathetic dialogue with their Syrian partners. Students shared questions about school and use of technology, discussed the war’s consequences on their family’s lives and education access, and exchanged experiences of gender and racial discrimination. Outside of the videoconference, students created and posted photo stories to a blog, to show positive and negative aspects of their communities and daily lives and broaden the impact of their exchange.

Explain the long-lasting impact of what you've presented in this video, and provide any qualitative or quantitative data that supports this impact.

Global Nomads Group has reached over 1 million young people, in 54 countries, on all seven continents. We believe a prime example of our organization’s evidently sustainable and substantial impact are the 10 Year Reunion programs we hosted for video conferences we held earlier in GNG’s journey. In 2003, American and Iraqi students, as their respective nations were preparing for war, fought against a hostile political climate to participate in a GNG videoconference with their partners. The following year, GNG connected American students and Rwandan students to share culture, learn about the Mountain Gorillas, which are native to the Rwandan and Congolese borders, and to reflect on the Rwandan Genocide. Ten years later, each program reconnected these students in New York City, who now serve as academics, doctors, politicians, and lawyers, to re-engage with one another and discuss how that conference instilled in them a desire to learn about international cultures and, moreover, a life-long open-minded perspective and inquisitive nature. For the past three years, GNG has worked with postdoctoral student and researcher, Dr. Bruneau, a social cognitive neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Saxelab of Social Cognitive Neuroscience, researching the neural basis of group conflict, and the psychological and cognitive consequences of conflict resolution efforts. Our partnership with MIT enables us to analyze the effect of GNG programs with a specific focus on empathy, feelings of trust, the role of stereotypes in guiding attitudes, and perceptions towards of peers other countries and cultures. To date, results indicate that GNG programs create a culture of empathy between and among participating students. Overall, the analysis indicates that GNG programs show signs of success at creating dialogues of understanding and fostering empathy creation across borders.