from the NEISD website
Left: Mare Stewart, ninth grade world geography teacher at ISA. Right: Rising senior at ISA, Cosmo Albrecht.
Mare Stewart, ninth grade world geography teacher, and Cosmo Albrecht, rising senior, at International School of the Americas (ISA) were selected nationwide to be one of 18 students and 2 teachers to participate in an intense year-long environmental and cultural studies program. The Cultural Vistas American Youth Leadership Program (AYLP), sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State, includes nearly one month studying in Malaysia and Singapore during July. Stewart and Albrecht departed for their trip to Malaysia and Singapore July 1 and will return July 25 eager to share their experiences with NEISD and the San Antonio community.
“I hope that through my visit to Singapore and Malaysia, I can enhance my cultural awareness and sensitivity, explore policies and ideologies, and develop greater appreciation for and knowledge of the environmental systems that comprise our planet,” said AYLP participant Cosmo Albrecht. “I fully believe that I can take what I learn in South Asia about waste management and cultural resourcefulness and foster a change of attitude among the students of the International School of the Americas, who are already inclined to support environmental causes such as this one.”
Upon returning to their hometowns, students will implement education and service projects in their communities involving the skills and learning they acquired during the exchange.
“As a former student that was given the opportunity of a lifetime to travel for a similar purpose during my college years,” said Mare Stewart. “I am both equally impressed and grateful that the Cultural Vistas program is extending this opportunity to high school students, relatively free of expense other than incidentals. There are many dedicated, talented and eager students that are deserving of an opportunity as this, but their family’s financial situation may otherwise prevent them from being able to travel abroad.”
Stewart continued, “I can attest from my own experience as a student that traveled abroad how this will positively transform these students and will help shape their career path, their view of the world, their interactions with other cultures and their impact they will make within their own communities, and ultimately the potential to impact the way communities develop in the future.”
As for Stewart’s incoming ISA Freshman students, they will benefit from this program as well. “During the fall 2013 semester, I plan to introduce my students to Singapore’s comprehensive sustainable development blueprint and Malaysia’s local initiatives to comply with the United Nations’ Agenda 21. We will use these as case studies to examine how federal, state and local government can work together to solve both global and local environmental and economic concerns to create long-range plans that take into account the economic, environmental and cultural needs of a community,” says Stewart.
As part of a 2-month interdisciplinary Global Environmental Problems (GEP) project, which is a long-standing annual tradition at ISA, this year’s students will compare these case studies with San Antonio’s own efforts as outlined in the SA2020 development initiatives. The ISA Class of 2017 will draft local policy proposals and present these within our local community in November 2013 and design an individual “sustainable community” service project to implement in spring. In spring 2014, students will complete their community service projects with organizations that are working towards helping San Antonio achieve its SA2020 sustainable development goals.