LITW task force brainstorming session
September 22, 2020

Learning in the World: A New Chapter

LITW enters a new phase: as an independent campus entity
by Eric Roland

Aligned with the 2014 Strategic Plan, which made clear the Academy’s ambition to “provide an opportunity for every student to study off campus and experience a different culture,” Learning in the World (LITW) formally launched as one of the Tang Institute’s founding projects. Building off of more than a century of global goodwill—nearly 150 years ago, Phillips Academy established cross-border ties by welcoming students from abroad through the Chinese Educational Mission—a dedicated group of faculty led by Carmen Muñoz-Fernández established LITW as Andover’s center for global teaching and learning. Housed within the Tang Institute, and with Institute collaboration and support, LITW has both broadened and deepened the Academy’s commitment to global engagement.

Today, that commitment takes the form of intentionally designed learning opportunities that transport students - virtually and/or physically - to communities near and far, connecting them with citizens and leaders who offer insight into culture, history, social movements, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and more. In support of such efforts, over the last six years, the LITW-Tang Institute team has connected with dozens of campus and external partners, grown financial aid for experiential learning, and designed numerous student programs and professional development opportunities. Growth has been realized in participation, and LITW alumni have shared invariably positive feedback. In 2020, more than 200 students were slated to participate in 39 LITW, Performing in the World (global theater, dance, and music opportunities), and affiliate partner programs, up from 100 students in 12 programs in 2014.

Niswarth has been one of the most influential experiences of my life and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities that this school has provided and apply to a Learning in the World program.”

- Shyan Koul ‘19 reflecting on participation in the 2015 Niswarth (India) LITW program

Consistent with the ongoing growth and development of Institute projects and programs, Learning in the World has grown into its own, next stage of maturity: as an independent campus entity. Leading LITW into the next chapter of its evolution will be Mark Cutler, director of multiple LITW programs, who assumes leadership from Carmen Muñoz-Fernández, following her six-year tenure as inaugural director. Cutler will be accompanied and supported by a campus-wide LITW task force, which has gathered since spring 2019 to develop a vision for global engagement and global education at Phillips Academy.

The LITW task force has been meeting to chart a new direction for global programming.

And while the current moment has challenged traditional, in-person programming, it also has inspired a consideration of global education through an increasingly expansive and inclusive lens. One means toward that end: learning closer to home. Pointing to his own roots in the Merrimack Valley, Cutler shares a vision for global citizenship anchored in impactful, place-based experiential learning a mere car ride or walk from Academy Hill. “I would like to broaden the definition of Learning in the World to include intercultural engagement with domestic and local partners, including the community on campus. In addition to international programs, in this day and age, we also can leverage opportunities nearby to develop global citizens through work with our neighbors and each other that stresses intercultural competencies across language, ethnicity, race, religion, and other dimensions.”

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