This project aims to engage three Taiwanese and three U.S. teachers in an intensive cross-cultural education experience in NYC in the summer of 2019. Building off a successful program that trained US teachers to teach about Taiwanese culture and society in 2018, the 2019 program will deepen understanding among participating teachers. The overall aim of EngageAsia is to build community in the Asia-Pacific region by cultivating a network of educators who can deepen understanding and empathy.
Funding to provide professional development opportunities focused on Asia for US teachers is in decline. This is a result of massive cuts to Title VI educational funding that supports educational outreach by universities and also due to changes in funding priorities by major foundations. As a result, American teachers have few opportunities to learn abut Asian cultures, traditions and societies despite the fact that Asia is of critical importance to America's economy and society.
EngageAsia provides high quality in-depth teacher professional development programs focused on Asia for US teachers and on the US and other Asian nations for teachers from Asia. Unlike many teacher professional development programs, EngageAsia aims not only to provide one-time programs, but also to foster a growing and long-term network of educators who can show their students that we all share more in common that apart.
Each teacher engaged in this project has the potential to reach hundreds if not thousands of youth and to help them learn about other countries and cultures. Friendships among teachers in the network will lead to connected cross-cultural classrooms and enable students to understand the cultures and societies of the Asia-Pacific region. Ultimately, this could ensure peace and stability in a region where territorial and historical struggles remain alive.