PIER institute to focus on learning about, teaching about climate change and food security

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Instructors from around the country will come to campus both to learn about two key issues facing the world today — the environmental effects of climate changes and food security for a global population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050 — and to develop ways to teach their students about those problems at the PIER (Program in International Educational Resources) Summer Institute at Yale, taking place July 6–10.

“Global Challenges: Climate Change and Food Security” will examine the complex, interrelated dynamics of this dual challenge on both an international and local level. The intensive, five-day institute will focus generally on Africa and the Middle East — regions already burdened by a high vulnerability to food insecurity. Thirty-four K-12 and community college educators from 11 states will learn from noted scholars, researchers, and policy advisers about the latest findings pertaining to climate variability, as well as from field practitioners who will explore the programs established to address these challenges.

Participants will also meet with local grassroots leaders who will provide them with resources to address food security and adapting to climate change at a local level. Activities will include learning about gaming as a technique to explain complex concepts to students; meeting with leading research and development organizations who work with vulnerable populations across the globe; and visiting the Yale Sustainable Food Program, an interdisciplinary learning center for study and practice in food, health, and the environment.

This year’s participants will include five graduate students from the School of Education at the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP.  Their visit is the first initiative of the UTEP-Yale collaboration that has recently been established between the two institutions in order to broaden and strengthen African studies programming for UTEP’s student population. 

The institute also includes an optional field trip to Morocco. Participants will be accompanied by Debbie Humphries, clinical instructor of public health at the Yale School of Public Health.  During the trip, the group will examine agricultural production and food security in the region, while exploring the resulting impacts that climate change has brought on nutrition and disease among the population.

As their final project, the participants will author their own curricular units, several of which will be published on PIER’s website as classroom resources for other educators.

For more information about PIER and the summer institute, visit http://www.yale.edu/macmillan/pier/institutes.htm.

PIER is headquartered at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale. It draws upon the university’s extensive resources to develop and implement programs, services, and resources designed to promote foreign language instruction and an understanding of international and world regional issues. PIER offers professional and curricular development programs to K-16 educators, student programs and community events  — with a particular focus on working with pre-service teachers, community colleges and minority serving institutions.

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