History and Background

Although students receive tremendous cultural and social exposure through life on our campus—given their diverse backgrounds—for practical,
intellectual, and moral reasons we need to create explicit opportunities for our students to learn from experiences off campus.                                      —John Palfrey, Head of School


Leadership, Cooperation, and Service

Learning in the World opportunities are deeply intertwined with the purpose of the school: to provide students with “a balance of leadership, cooperation, and service, together with a deeper awareness of the global community and the natural world.” All PA-run programs are characterized by: (1) a commitment to provide full financial support for any Andover student who is selected; and (2) their deep ties to the Andover experience and curriculum. We are building upon this strong foundation to expand existing programs and develop new opportunities. We are also creating a suite of Learning in the World initiatives that are robust, innovative, and unique, in order to provide a significant, off-campus learning experience to any Andover student during his or her time at PA.

Today’s programs stem from a long history of global programming at Andover. Andover and Abbot welcomed students from abroad almost since their founding. The Kemper Scholarships have brought European students to campus for decades. Under Headmaster Don McNemar, the Academy launched the first high school student exchange between the US and the USSR; exchanged students with the Harbin Institute of Technology in the People’s Republic of China; brought black students from South Africa to New England through the Independent School South Africa Exchange Program spearheaded by Northfield Mount Hermon; and for 17 years partnered with schools and universities in Africa, South and Central Asia, Europe and the Middle East in the International Academic Partnership, through which one-third of the teaching faculty lived and worked in the developing world. Out of these experiences grew the Global Perspectives Group, which, under the leadership of Head of School Barbara Chase, focused and streamlined the Academy’s global programs, culminating in an international conference at Andover on Global Initiatives in Education in 2012. Current global initiatives focus heavily on partnerships, and reflect context-specific programming from the US to the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

Guiding Principles

  • Expand the worldview of our students and faculty while broadening their knowledge of and openness to diverse geographies, cultures, and value systems.
  • Deepen our students’ understanding of the impact, challenges, and opportunities associated with the constructive change that our increasingly connected world requires.
  • Equip our students with essential skills, including creative and collaborative problem solving, adaptability, resourcefulness, and the ability to gather, critically review, and synthesize the best available knowledge from diverse sources.
  • Enhance mutual understanding and shared commitments to promoting the well-being of the natural world and all members of the global community.
  • Give students access to different kinds of time-intensive, multidisciplinary, experiential, and community-based learning that may connect with and go beyond the classroom experience.
  • Encourage students and faculty to seek a wider perspective in their engagement with the world, informed by humility, compassion, curiosity, respect, awareness of complexity, and a sense of agency and urgency.