Cornell University: Workshop for K–12 teachers highlights global inequalities

Three dozen elementary, middle, and high school teachers from across central New York traveled to Cornell’s Ithaca campus on June 28 for this year’s International Summer Studies Institute (ISSI), hosted by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Featuring experts from Cornell, Syracuse University, and TST-BOCES, the full-day workshop was held in person for the first time since 2019.

The summer institute gives teachers an opportunity to explore their curiosity about international topics, make professional connections, and discover strategies for bringing the world into their classrooms. This year’s event featured the Einaudi Center’s Identities, Inequalities, and Justice research priority, with topics spanning the globe.

“The topics were so cutting edge, and with such a fantastic non-Western focus, they could be ripped from the headlines of any international newspaper,” said Alanna Kramerson, a Skaneateles High School history teacher.

Working alongside teachers from other districts, teachers learned about historical and contemporary examples of systemic and overlapping inequalities from Latin America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and East Asia through presentations at the A.D. White House and a hands-on workshop at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

The first speaker, Fábio Zuker, predoctoral visiting research scholar at the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, shared his work on how deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, discrimination, mining, Indigenous rights, and adverse health outcomes were linked during the COVID-19 pandemic. Director of the Institute for African Development and professor of Africana studies N’Dri Thérèse Assié-Lumumba followed with a discussion of gender barriers to education and social transformation in Africa.

Speakers also included Mona Bhan, Ford-Maxwell Professor of South Asian Studies at Syracuse University, and Andrew Harding, global racial justice postdoctoral fellow at the Einaudi Center and visiting lecturer in Japanese studies.

Teachers walked to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, where they examined art reflecting the workshop’s theme and discussed strategies for using the museum’s collections to enrich K–12 curricula and broaden students’ perspectives. The curators helped the teachers explore ways of seeing the identities and inequalities represented in various photographs and other images.

ISSI is sponsored by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and its South Asia Program, Southeast Asia Program, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, Institute for African Development, East Asia Program, and Institute for European Studies, in partnership with the South Asia Center at Syracuse University, TST-BOCES, and the U. S. Department of Education Title VI Program.