updated 11/12/2010 4:15:40 AM ET 2010-11-12T09:15:40

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Internationalists, concerned about polls showing more Americans know who Harry Potter is than Tony Blair (Zogby Poll) and two-thirds of Americans admit to being in the dark about political issues outside the U.S. (Harris Poll), believe education can help improve the growing problem. Their efforts have led to the expansion of a successful high school international education program for at-risk youth in New York City to D.C. Public Schools.

This fall, Global Kids ( www.globalkids.org ) began offering afterschool courses to 25 students at both Columbia Heights Educational Campus and Friendship Collegiate Academy in D.C. The sessions are led by teachers trained in the Global Kids curriculum. The initial opportunity was met with overwhelming interest at both schools.

"Washington is often called the world's most powerful city and it has incredible resources. That's why this is the ideal place to expand Global Kids from New York and reach more students," says Richard Roberts, chair, Global Kids Board of Directors. "We are extremely grateful to Elisabeth de Kergorlay for her vision and generous support of the D.C. initiative. She follows in the proud footsteps of her family, especially her father, who worked tirelessly for years to strengthen the bonds between the U.S. and Europe."

"In our increasingly interconnected world, it's more important than ever to ensure the next generation feels comfortable transacting with those beyond their own borders. We feel that today's issues require the participation of many countries and that inherently calls for an informed citizenry around the world. This is what Global Kids does in an exceptional manner and students in the District of Columbia are benefiting from this unique opportunity," says Pierre Vimont, French Ambassador to the U.S.

Global Kids focuses on leadership development, academic enrichment and digital media programs, and uses interactive, experiential methods to educate youth about critical international and public policy issues, and to inspire them to take action. It has reached thousands of youth and educators face-to-face through its flagship Power of Citizenry program, and hundreds of thousands more through its Online Leadership Program.

Despite multiple barriers to success, over 90 percent of the high school seniors in the leadership programs graduated from high school in 2009, and close to 90 percent went on to college, many receiving financial support and scholarships because of experiences gained through Global Kids.

The D.C. launch of Global Kids will be recognized at a benefit that Ambassador Vimont will host on December 6 at the Ambassador's Residence. The event, "An International Evening of Excellence," will feature tastings from the following award-winning Chefs:

The event will also include a live and silent auction with numerous exclusive items being presented including a once-in-a-lifetime dinner prepared by a selection of the participating Chefs, a portrait shoot with internationally renowned photographer Gilles Bensimon and studio space donated by Milk Studios, and a two-night stay at the Chateau de Canisy in Normandy, France.

Among Global Kids D.C.-based alumni are Celena Green, program officer, Vital Voices Global Leadership Network; Jessica Tamjii, student, Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service; and Tiffany Benain-Kaijage, D.C. public school teacher, who is co-leading the Global Kids program at Friendship Collegiate Academy.

Global Kids participants benefit from partnerships and collaborations with such institutions as the Council on Foreign Relations, Chicago's Field Museum, the New York City Public Library and the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum.  

Frequent meetings with world affairs experts and leaders have brought Global Kids together with such individuals as Richard Haass, president, Council on Foreign Relations; presidential advisors George Stephanopoulos and the late Theodore C. Sorensen; then-Sen. Hillary Clinton; and Dr. Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. The youth also work actively in their own communities taking on critical issues such as access to nutritious food and health care; gun violence; ethnic conflict; and immigrant rights.

A recent story in The New York Times ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/06/nyregion/06nyc.html?ref=nyregion ) highlighted the organization's unique ability to help at-risk youth connect with the biggest international topics of the day.

The Global Kids, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4850

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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