Penn Manor High School civics and government teacher Cindy Lonergan is representing her country by traveling to the Asia-Pacific region to participate in an intensive, two-week educational dialogue and study tour program sponsored by the East-West Center.
Lonergan is one of only four Americans chosen to participate in the 2013 New Generation Seminar, which is bringing together young professionals from the United States, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Korea, Japan and other countries to gain a deeper understanding of the social and economic challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region. The tour runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 13.
“I am honored and blessed to be selected for this program,” said Lonergan, the only teacher chosen to participate. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Participants will engage in policy dialogue in China and Korea and explore the culture of each place. The itinerary includes discussions at the National Assembly in Korea and visits to Geongbokgung Palace, a Samsung factory and the de-militarized zone between North and South Korea. In China, the group will explore Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City and travel outside of Beijing to better understand the rural-to-urban transition and explore the Great Wall.
Lonergan will share her experiences as they unfold with her students via her blog, http://blogs.pennmanor.net/hscivics/ and through her Twitter page, @LonerganCivics. The pupils will complete assignments based on information culled from her trip. They also assisted Lonergan in preparing a presentation on public pensions that she will deliver to participants and government officials.
Lonergan said she hopes to use what she learns about other countries and their common struggles to broaden students’ knowledge and support the content of her classes.
“Some of the assignments I have planned promote this idea — for example, comparing the purpose of the Great Wall of China and the U.S.- Mexico border wall, then taking it a step further by analyzing the politics and policy implications for building similar structures,” she said.
“I am a firm believer that people who not only teach but also ‘do’ have a unique opportunity to make learning even more authentic. I don’t just teach students how government should work; I teach them how it actually works.”