Global Scholars Certificate Program

To advance the integration of global cultural awareness, critical thinking, and investigative skills into Pennsylvania’s high school curriculum, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, with the support of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, has introduced the Global Scholars Certificate across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Global Scholars Certificate is designed to be a three-year experiential-learning program that fosters cross-cultural awareness, interdisciplinary understanding, and local and international community engagement.

The Need for Global Scholars  

According to the Committee for Economic Development, a business-led public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., employers in the U.S. will "increasingly need employees with knowledge of foreign languages and cultures" to succeed in a globally competitive economy. To respond to this reality, educators must consider ways for youth to succeed in an increasingly complex and interconnected world by helping them graduate from high school as college ready and globally competent.

The Global Scholars Certificate is designed to prepare participating students to succeed in a quickly changing 21st century. The Certificate promotes leaders and citizens who are informed, forward-thinking, and can work collaboratively and creatively across geographical, cultural, economic, and political borders.

The Council's Global Scholars Certificate Program

  1. Students must complete six courses across three different disciplines that are designated as "globally focused" by each individual school and districts' Global Scholars leadership.
  2. Students must demonstrate skill in a foreign language.
  3. Students must participate in at least three globally-focused extra-curricular activities (i.e. Model UN).
  4. Students must complete a minimum of twenty hours of globally-focused service learning.
  5. Students must complete a capstone research project that encapsulates their global competency. For example, students may present case studies on education systems around the world. 

Why Offer the Global Scholars Certificate?

The Global Scholars Certificate cultivates the critical thinking, intercultural communication skills, and creativity employers seek in prospective employees. These are, coincidentally, the very same competencies that young people need to participate meaningfully in a global marketplace, modern democracy, and civil society. The Certificate builds global citizens and helps open doors to meaningful employment, acceptance into university and other post-secondary programs, and professional networks across the globe.

Global Certificates in the United States

The states of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin have or are developing global scholars certificates in high schools within their respective states. Global scholars programs are also offered in some of Pennsylvania's leading private and parochial schools, like Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (Philadelphia, PA) and Quaker Valley High School (Leetsdale, PA). In addition, other World Affairs Councils offer global certificates.

Contact Us

To learn more about this Certificate Program and opportunities for Pennsylvania students to participate, please contact Kristin Hutchinson, Vice President of Education, at

Global Scholars in the News!

Riverview High School's (Oakmont, PA) Global Scholars Program and their 2020 senior capstone project was featured recently by the Valley News Displatch!