As GCE’s Founder and Director, I am constantly looking for new ways to apply our Model for Learning.  Today, I am thrilled to announce a new program with a distinctly dynamic, long-lasting, and inspiring approach.

The purpose of GCE’s Urban Exchange Program is to build global awareness, connection, and opportunities for action for high school students from Chicago and sister cities. Participants learn why and how these iconic cities have become what they are and students develop proposals for how cities must evolve in order to thrive in the future.  Chicago students, educators, and funders partner with their counterparts from a few U.S. cities that meet our selection criteria.  In each case, our partner cities are vibrant, culturally rich, and they are committed to rethinking, repurposing, and reshaping the urban experience.

GCE’s year-long Urban Exchange program offers an immersion into the cross-sections of America as a foundation for understanding global exchange.  Students explore each other’s communities in person and online. The greatest difference between GCE’s Urban Exchange program and almost all other exchange programs is that our kids learn with kids from sister cities all year.  We start in person; finish in person; in between we see each other in person. And all year long we are connected through GCE’s blended learning platform.

Program Curriculum/Areas of Focus:

  • Resources: Water, Food, Fuel
  • Urban Planning & Public Policy: Infrastructure, Housing, Transportation, & Services
  • Culture: Arts, Entrepreneurship, & Peace


  • Urban Exchange runs July 2013 through June 2014
  • Summer Exchange – July, two week exchange with one week in sister city and Chicago respectively, followed by a one week intensive workshop for students in their respective cities
  • Fall Exchange – October in sister city (tentatively October 11-14 – Columbus Day weekend).
  • Spring Exchange – April in Chicago (tentatively April 11-14)
  • School year Field Experiences and workshops
  • Gala event date TBD in June, 2014

Much more information available upon request. If you would like to learn more about GCE’s Urban Exchange or propose an exchange for your community, please let us know.

Many thanks.