In February I applied for a five-week summer institute/study tour of China through the Fullbright-Hayes program funded by the U.S. State Department. I've had a couple of other teacher friends participate in previous versions of this program, along with other Fullbright-Hayes seminars in other countries, and it was highly recommended. A friend who went last summer received her acceptance in late March of last year; when March came and went and April was nearly over I began wondering what was going on. Contact with the program's organizers communicated that there was a delay in letting people know about acceptance into the program but that it would be coming. I had not applied for any other programs, including domestic teacher professional development, in that I didn't want to have to turn something down if accepted into multiple programs. Finally, in mid-June, I received a letter letting me know I had not been accepted into the China program. While the information provided information to help make a future application stronger, it did seem as if a door was closed into an international trip for Summer 2014.
Through my church, I attend a Sunday evening Bible study and fellowship group. Although we are on a summer break, we did meet last night for dinner. In our discussion. I mentioned that my summer plans were now wide open and if anyone had any trip suggestions to let me know; this was fairly "tongue-in-cheek" and several laughed or smiled. Before leaving we made some prayer requests until we were to meet again. One of my friends, Jerry Regier, asked for prayer as he traveled to Switzerland for an international conference. He has been heavily involved in government work and consulting, especially on an international level, and currently works for Water4, an NGO seeking to equip areas within developing countries with the means to hand-drill their own fresh water wells. At the Geneva Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, organized by Global Hope Network International and held at the UN's building in Geneva, Jerry will be speaking engaging development and growth through public policy, including a session called "Rule of Law and Nation Building."
It was humorous that as Jerry is making his prayer request faces/eyes from several in the group start darting back and forth between Jerry and me. As if those looks sparked something, Jerry says "hey David, you should go with me!" We spoke for a few minutes after we dismissed. He then emailed me some information last night and we had another conversation by phone. The conference looks like it will have some great connections with the AP Human Geography class I teach and visiting Geneva sounds just awesome. So, as of my purchase of airline tickets today, a window has opened!!!
This video is from last year's institute: