Preparing urban youth to become global citizens.
Throughout her career as an educator, Carole Artigiani, 69, was impressed with her students’ response to opportunities to learn and take action in addressing critical issues facing their own and communities around the world. She was determined to nurture these interests, especially in her work with low-income urban youth, who often display cynicism about the state of the world and their power to change it. She became convinced that global education was an effective vehicle for developing young leaders and boosting academic and personal success. This was hardly mainstream thinking in 1991 when Artigiani founded Global Kids. Today the nonprofit works with New York City students in classrooms and after school, providing opportunities to develop sophisticated leadership skills, learn from international affairs experts, conduct research, and develop and lead initiatives addressing such issues as human rights, global health, and ethnic conflict. In 2006, Global Kids and its network of more than 500 student leaders reached 12,600 youth and educators at schools and other sites and involved countless others through its ground-breaking work in digital learning. Students in the program have a 95 percent high school graduation rate, and almost all go on to college — many on scholarships based on proven leadership and commitment to service. Last year, a team of Global Kids, in partnership with Gamelab, designed Ayiti: The Cost of Life, an award-winning digital game about poverty as an obstacle to education in Haiti, and the organization has broadened its reach even more through its innovative work on the Teen Grid of the virtual world, Second Life.