World Educator Award

Nominate an Educator for the World Affairs Council’s 2024
World Educator Award!

Each year, the World Affairs Council honors a local educator who has made exceptional contributions in broadening the global horizons of students and colleagues. The recipient of the World Educator Award is an outstanding K-12 teacher who promotes international understanding in the classroom and contributes to the development of resources so that other educators and community members are better prepared to meet a major challenge of our time. Our children’s lives will be defined by the world within and beyond our borders; a World Affairs Council World Educator is someone who works to ensure that their students’ learning is reflective of that reality.

Whether you are a teacher and have a colleague who has been a leader in promoting international understanding at your school, a student and have a teacher who has expanded your worldview, or are a parent who is grateful for the role a teacher has played in shaping your child’s perspective–we look forward to reviewing your nominations!

The World Educator is inducted into the World Affairs Council Fellows Program free of charge, and is given the opportunity to lead a Global Classroom workshop during the academic year of their award.

To nominate a World Educator, simply send us an email with the name of your nominee, their email address, and your reason for nominating them.

Please send nominations via email to by 5:00 PM, March 31st, 2024. 

*Please note that educators must work in Washington state to qualify for the award.

Congratulations Laura Adriance,

the World Affairs Council’s 2023 World Educator!

Laura Adriance grew up in New Jersey with parents who were both teachers. She studied French in high school and college, discovering the joy of learning about other cultures and languages. This interest led Laura to serve in the Peace Corps in Namibia. Laura returned to the US committed to incorporating global issues and cultures into her teaching.

Laura enjoys integrating educational technology, especially for the purpose of connecting students with peers beyond the classroom walls. She strives to inspire students’ curiosity about world issues through literature, current events, and by intentionally uplifting the diversity within our schools.

Laura earned an undergraduate degree at Drew University in New Jersey, a master’s degree in education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and a PhD in Education at the University of Washington. Outside of her classroom, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Education Association and participates in the district’s Special Education Task Force, working toward increased inclusion and excellent educational services for all students.

What does it mean to you for someone to be a “World Educator?
“Being a World Educator means imagining your students as global citizens. Even when the standard curriculum for a given grade level fails to include global cultures, issues, and perspectives, a World Educator will seek opportunities to bring those elements into the classroom and prompt students to think critically about the world beyond our borders. For example, if the social studies curriculum in elementary school mainly addresses local communities and Washington State, a teacher might use literature to bring global awareness into the reading portion of the day. Given that our classrooms include students of diverse cultural backgrounds, our social-emotional learning work must also pull global awareness into our class discussions. With today’s technology, we also have opportunities to connect with other classes and resources outside of our schools. Taking advantage of those opportunities can help broaden perspectives and open up new discussions in our classrooms. Being intentional about bringing world cultures and global issues into the classroom, celebrating the diversity in our schools, and reaching out beyond the four walls of our classrooms are all part of striving to be a World Educator.”

How have you demonstrated those qualities in your own work?
“I strive to be a World Educator by seeking opportunities to build global awareness into the curriculum and prompting students to think about perspectives different from their own. One key example is the Global Read Aloud. I have chosen to participate in this innovative project for 7 years. The organizer identifies powerful books that get students thinking about global issues. Examples include Thirst, by Varsha Bajaj, which deals with water shortages and unequal access to water; Amal Unbound, by Aisha Saeed, which addresses modern-day slavery or indentured servitude; The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown, which uplifts environmental issues, and Stella Diaz Has Something to Say, by Angela Dominguez, which helps young students imagine the challenges of immigrating to a new country. Using stories such as these as a springboard for further study, classes participating in the Global Read Aloud connect with one another to share their learning and inspire a continual broadening of perspectives. Teachers find partners for discussions via Zoom, shared blogging and commenting, pen pals, and other shared projects. Both the literature and the activities spark thinking about the world beyond our classroom. Although it adds more work to my plate, I have found the Global Read Aloud to be such a valuable project that I continue to engage with it each year.

During the period of COVID-19 remote learning, I also joined iEARN (International Education and Research Network). My class participated virtually in a Global Learning Circle. This proved to be a potent tool for introducing a new level of cultural awareness, while inspiring student engagement during a difficult time. We used a variety of technological tools to share cultural exchange information with students in Brazil, Ukraine, and Taiwan. At a time when many students felt trapped inside their homes, this project brought the world to students in a lively, positive way.

Aside from dedicated projects such as these, I also work to include global perspectives in everyday routines, such as our class meeting time and social-emotional learning. In our study of identity, for instance, we wrote poems based on the picture book, I Am Every Good Thing, by Derrick Barnes. This book, with accompanying author interview, helps children begin thinking about the importance of representation in literature and other media. We also take time in our class to celebrate the different languages represented in our school and city, to learn about different holidays celebrated within and beyond our school community, and to acknowledge current events that relate to the global and local issues we have discussed. For example, after studying pollution caused by storm water runoff in Seattle, students related this science work to global concerns about the health of our oceans and marine animals such as whales. There are many more ways I would like to work toward being a World Educator. These are some of the avenues I have pursued so far and examples of how I endeavor to inject global awareness and perspectives as much as possible.

How would receiving the 2023 World Educator Award help you further?
“Receiving the World Educator Award would help me continue my own journey of global learning, thanks to the opportunity to participate in the Fellows program. I know the World Affairs Council seeks out wonderful speakers and engages participants in pushing their own thinking forward. Being a part of this group would certainly be a powerful learning experience.

This award would also help me bring increased awareness to the need for global perspectives as part of elementary school education. While it is undeniable that young children need to learn about their local communities, their state, and their own identities, we also need to acknowledge the diversity and inter-connectedness of today’s world. Even very young children have classmates who speak different languages at home and celebrate different holidays. Third and fourth graders are ready to think about why it is important to conserve water or avoid littering. When we help students see the connections between their actions and the wider world, we respect both their hearts and their minds. When we make the choice to open the path toward global citizenship for younger students, we boost them toward critical thinking, civic participation, and compassion in later years.”

World Educator Award Recipients:

2023 – Laura Adriance, Daniel Bagley Elementary School
2022 – No educator selected due to COVID-19*
2021 – No educator selected due to COVID-19*
2020 – No educator selected due to COVID-19*
2019 – Hiromi Pingry, John Stanford International Elementary School
2018- Melissa Moffett, Industrial Design, Engineering, and Art (IDEA) School
2017- Jeff Blair, The Northwest School
2016 – Eileen Hynes, Lake and Park School
2015 – Patrick Grant, University Prep
2014 – Brandon Frederick, Bonney Lake High School
2013 – Noah Zeichner, Chief Sealth International High School
2012 – Hands for a Bridge, Roosevelt High School
2011 – Lisa Clarke, Kent-Meridian High School, Kent
2010 – Erin Lynch, Nathan Hale High School, Seattle
2009 – Ben Wheeler, Explorer West, Seattle
2008 – Bob Mazelow, Lakeside School, Seattle
2007 – Ryan Hauck, Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Marysville
2006 – David White-Espin, Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center, Seattle
2005 – Betty Lau, Franklin High School, Seattle
2004 – Wendy Ewbank, Seattle Girls’ School, Seattle
2003 – Patricia Burleson, Island View Elementary School, Anacortes
2002 – Mary Ellen Cardella, Office of Minority Affairs High School, Seattle
2000 – Sue Pike, Foster High School, Tukwila
1999 – Gretchen Coe & Anne Fitzpatrick, Mercer Middle School, Seattle
1998 – Mary Hammond Bernson, Jackson School of International Studies, Seattle
1997 – Keith Forest, Decatur High School, Federal Way