Campus & Community

Students travel the world – in class

2 min read
Community Gifts through Harvard

Once a week, about 40 Harvard students visit Boston high schools to teach students about globalization.

Although the subject is much in the news these days, affecting everything from agriculture to popular music, it gets short shrift in most MCAS-driven social studies and history classes. The Harvard students are trying to remedy this situation.

“Most students who went to high school in America are shocked when they come to Harvard to find out how much they didn’t learn about world events,” said Huma Yusuf ’02, a Pakistani-born student who is director of the Harvard Program for International Education (HPIE).

Armed with curricula they have developed and written themselves, the students, working in pairs, present a short lecture to the high school class, then lead a discussion about the week’s topic. The lesson may be supplemented with maps, photos, music, videos, multimedia presentations, and “Jeopardy”-like quiz games to test students’ knowledge.

In the spring of 2002, all of the approximately 500 high schoolers who have been taking part in the program will come to Harvard where they will participate in exercises simulating the activities of the World Trade Organization.

Next year, HPIE’s focus will be on the Middle East and the complicated political, economic, and cultural issues that center on that area of the world.

“The object of the program is to make the rest of the world more relevant to American students, to make them aware of how decisions abroad might affect their lives,” said Yusuf.

The Harvard Program for International Education is one of many Harvard student organizations devoted to public service. At latest count, almost 3,000 of Harvard’s 6,660 undergraduates were active in public service. Their activities run the gamut from teaching English to refugee children in Boston to working with grassroots organizations in Bangladesh to cheering up nursing home residents with music, friendship, and pet dogs.

Harvard undergraduates run 140 service programs through various organizations, serving communities in Boston, Cambridge, and beyond. You can learn more about these groups through the Harvard Public Service Network. Copies of the Harvard Public Service Network Directory can be obtained on the third floor of Phillips Brooks House or by calling (617) 496-1740.

Harvard employees can make contributions to student public service programs through the Community Gifts Through Harvard Campaign.