Cities and Our Urbanizing World

Cities and Our Urbanizing World

Cities and Our Urbanizing World

A Professional Development Workshop for Educators

July 31-August 3, 2017


More people are living in or moving to cities than ever before. As of 2014, 54% of people worldwide lived in cities, an increase of nearly 20% from 1950. This number is only expected to increase in the future, with estimates that ⅔ of the world’s population will be living in urban communities by 2050.* This migration from the rural to the urban presents challenges and opportunities that require the participation of individuals, communities, organizations, businesses, and governments (local, national, and multinational). The goal of the 2017 summer workshop for educators will be to investigate and make sense of these challenges and opportunities as a learning community and consider how best to communicate them to our students.


We all hold a variety of ideas about urbanization’s promises and perils. We will explore the multiple definitions and perceptions of cities, the origins of those varied perspectives and
experiences, and how these interact with global forces (economic, political, cultural, social, etc.) Recognizing that urbanization is a process that not only affects cities but also rural and suburban areas, we will study their relationships to the city. However, our primary focus will be the role of the city. We will focus on urbanization as a global phenomenon. We will not exclude the US from the discussion (especially as a means of understanding our own perspectives and as a point of comparison), but will focus on global urbanization patterns and trends to enrich and expand our understanding beyond the American viewpoint.


As a learning community we will pay special attention to investigating both the benefits and costs of urbanization. We will examine how and why urbanization affects different groups and people differently. Specifically we will reflect on whether and how urbanization reduces or increases equity gaps. In this light we will think about how the public sector can ensure that all groups gain from the urbanization process and what contributions can come from the private sector.


Geared toward middle school, high school, and community college educators in the humanities and social sciences (but open to educators in all subjects), this workshop will:

  • feature presentations by scholars, experts, policy-makers and practitioners who study urbanization and its impact;

  • explore pedagogy and skill-building techniques to help educators and students better understand urbanization as a global phenomenon; and

  • provide an introduction to relevant classroom resources.


Educators will explore global urbanization from two vantage points:

  • Urbanization as an historical and current-day global phenomenon and

  • The lived experience of individuals and communities experiencing the impact of urbanization in their daily lives.


The following questions will guide participants’ exploration:


  1. What is a city?

  2. How have cities developed across the globe? How has the rise of urbanization affected rural areas?

  3. What opportunities and challenges does urbanization bring across the world?

  4. What roles do the public and private sectors play in the process of urbanization?

  5. How does urbanization impact local communities, families, and individuals?

To support deep conversations around curriculum and pedagogy as well as content, we have partnered with Project Zero, a research group based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Guided by its mission to understand and enhance high-level thinking and learning across disciplines and cultures in schools internationally, Project Zero will help to provide the pedagogical underpinning for this year’s workshop, drawing upon its diverse research-based initiatives, including “Educating for Global Competence,” “Teaching for Understanding,” “Making Learning Visible,” and “Making Thinking Visible.”

Participation in this program is determined through an application-based selection process.

The application deadline is March 31, 2017.

Click here to apply online.

Email with any questions.

The cost of participation in the workshop is $50. Unfortunately, Global Studies Outreach at Harvard cannot provide financial assistance for travel or lodging to workshop participants.

The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, with support from a Title VI/National Resource Center Grant from the US Department of Education, is able to offer limited travel reimbursement to Community College educators from outside Massachusetts. If you meet these two criteria and are interested in applying for these funds, please declare this within the workshop application.  

Globalizing the Classroom Fellowship (GtC) Program

Our summer workshops allow educators to work together over four intense days to understand a topic that has relevance across world regions. Participants are expected to take what they learn back to their classrooms to enrich and globalize their curriculum. Because of the interest and engagement of past participants in our programs and their stated desire to extend the conversation, we have developed the Globalizing the Classroom Fellowship Program (GtC Fellowship).

The GtC Fellowship allows a select group of workshop participants to remain connected to the Global Studies Outreach Committee and to each other as they take part in ongoing conversations and professional development on issues related to urbanization and global studies throughout the 2017-2018 academic year. Additional professional development, devoted to both area studies and media studies content and pedagogical approaches, will primarily take place online, with a culminating in-person seminar to be scheduled in June 2018.

The GtC fellowship is meant to provide fellows a space where they can not only extend and deepen their understanding of the summer’s workshop topic (in this case, urbanization as a global phenomenon) but also document and share this work and expanded thinking with their students and fellow teachers. To that end, each GtC fellow must, during the course of the fellowship, develop a series of lesson plans that explore what they’ve learned through the workshop and fellowship, implement those lessons in their classroom, and reflect publicly upon this process, both for their own benefit and professional growth and for the benefit of other educators who may benefit from this reflection and the sharing of relevant resources.

Expectations of GtC Fellows

Globalizing the Classroom Fellows will be expected to:

  • Attend the 2017 summer workshop at Harvard in its entirety.

  • Attend all professional development, online and in person, during the fellowship year (approximately 5 webinars and 1 in-person meeting).

  • Develop a series of lesson plans devoted to urbanization that supports students’ learning about the world and learning how to learn about the world, that can be shared with other educators and thus become a resource for others seeking to globalize their classrooms. These lessons, which can be developed individually or in tandem with another GtC fellow, will build on the trainings provided and resources explored throughout the fellowship and will be workshopped with Harvard staff and other GtC fellows during the program. Each fellow’s approach should be tailored to his or her specific discipline, teaching environment, and personal curricular preferences. Reflection on the development and implementation of these lessons will provide others with ideas regarding how to build similar skills and explore similar content in their own classrooms.

  • Participate in online project check-in sessions with GtC staff to ensure that resource development is proceeding appropriately.

Fellowship Benefits

Each fellow will:

  • Receive a $500 honorarium upon successful completion of the fellowship program (including participation in professional development sessions/project check-ins and the completion and submission of the lesson plans and reflection document);

  • Be an official associate at a Harvard international center, which confers access to on-campus events (for local educators) and Harvard resources during fellowship year, including library privileges; and

  • Have opportunities to consult individually with area studies content staff as well as pedagogical experts at Project Zero.

Workshop and Fellowship Timeline

March 31, 2017 - Application deadline

Late April 2017 - Workshop and fellowship participants notified

May 19, 2017 - Workshop participants/fellows must confirm participation in program

July 31- August 3, 2017 - Cities workshop @ Harvard

October 2017 - Fellows webinar*

November 2017 - Fellows webinar

December 2017 - Project check-in for GtC fellows

February 2018 - Fellows webinar

March 2018 - Fellows webinar

April 2018 - Project check-in for GtC fellows

May 2018 - Lesson plans and reflections due

June 2018 - End-of-program workshop (in-person)

*Please note that the dates/months of fellowship webinars are subject to change

Application Procedure

Applications must be submitted online and are due March 31, 2017 for both the summer workshop and the GtC Fellowship Program.

Please note that this application consists of two parts. Those individuals who are ONLY interested in applying for the summer workshop need only complete part 1 of the application. Individuals who are interested in applying for both the workshop and the fellowship program must complete both parts of the application AND provide additional materials referenced below.

*Workshop applicants are not required to apply for the fellowship, but fellowship applicants are required to apply for, and if accepted, participate fully in the workshop in order to be eligible to participate in the fellowship program.*

Applicants to the 2017-2018 Globalizing the Classroom Fellowship are asked to upload the following additional materials:

  • Brief 1-2 page statement outlining why you would like to be considered for the GtC fellowship; please address the following questions: What experience and ideas do you bring to the program? What are your personal and professional goals for the fellowship year?

  • What channels do you have or would you like to build in order to share these new ideas (gained from workshop and fellowship) more broadly?

  • Sample lesson plan that you have used in class AND a 1-page reflective response indicating what you think went well with the lesson and what could be improved to enhance student understanding.

  • Resume

  • Letter of support from a teacher-peer or administrator within your network

*Please note: the online application does not allow you to save your work to complete it at a future date. If you are applying for the GtC Fellowship, we suggest that you only begin working on your online application once all of your supplementary materials are complete and saved as one PDF document.

The application deadline for BOTH the workshop and/or the fellowship is Friday, March 31, 2017. All applicants will be notified in late April 2017.

Please click here to apply.


Questions about the workshop or fellowship program?  Email us at


Sponsored by the Asia Center, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Center for African Studies, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and Harvard’s Global Health Education & Learning Incubator; developed in collaboration with Project Zero, all of Harvard University.