In partnership with school districts from across the region, the Columbus Council on World Affairs delivers an experiential approach to global education via the Global Scholars Diploma program. Throughout the course of the three-year program, high school students communicate and collaborate face-to-face with global community partners, businesses, civic leaders, and people of varying cultural backgrounds.

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Program Breakdown

The Global Scholars Diploma is a three-year program that develops globally competent High School students by building the awareness and skills needed to take action on a global issue and to become responsible citizens of the world. The first two years are spent at face-to-face events where local experts share their personal experiences with culture, jobs with global components, and issues around the world. Students engage in various collaborative activities within the theme of the event, learning and exercising their cultural fluency and competency.

GSD Levels

Year 1

Increase Awareness

Year 1 specifically focuses on building students’ awareness of several global components. Students at this level are exposed to a wide range of global cultures, issues, and careers in order to make them aware of the diverse traditions, experiences, skills, problems, and solutions that exist around the world. Year 1 students have the opportunity to hear informative presentations and to interact with experts in each of these areas, building their overall knowledge of a broad range of topics.

Year 2

Skill Building

In Year 2, the program builds upon the awareness that students gain in Year 1. Students in Year 2 attend similar events that focus on global issues, cultures, and careers, while also taking an eCourse that supports and enhances the topics covered at the face-to-face events. Year 2 is about developing the skills needed to communicate across cultures, to be successful in a global career, and to find solutions to complex issues. The Year 2 events are frequently led by our community partners, such as Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, who guide the students through interactive group simulations and tasks.

Year 3

Take Action

The program culminates with a Take Action project in the students’ third and final year that is meant to demonstrate the abilities that they have cultivated over the course of the first two years. Students choose a globally-oriented issue about which they are passionate, and they pursue a leadership role in solving it at a local level. Throughout the project, students are in contact with advisors who guide them through the development and execution of their project, and they ultimately present their experiences to their younger peers and the community at the Year End Showcase events held in April or May.

Program Themes

While the overall objectives of the program evolve as students progress through each year of the program, the framework through which those objectives are met remains the same across all years of the Global Scholars Diploma. Students build global competency by exploring three key themes: Global Issues, Global Cultures, and Global Careers.

Global Issues

The Global Scholars Diploma program introduces students to a wide range of global issues, such as climate change, immigration, human trafficking, and food security. With the help of our numerous community partners, which include the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, we are able to provide students with the opportunity to delve deeper into issues of global importance. Through collaborative activities paired with the personal experiences shared by our expert volunteer speakers, students broaden their perspectives and learn how they too can play a significant role in finding solutions to complex global issues.

Global Cultures

Our close partnerships with organizations, such as Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS), delivers hands-on experience that empowers our students to broaden their perspectives about other cultures. Through simulation activities, students focus on building cross-cultural communication skills and on gaining a better understanding of cultural barriers. Additionally, throughout the course of the Global Scholars Diploma program, students have the opportunity to hear from and interact with a wealth of volunteers who come from various cultural backgrounds. The personal experiences shared by our volunteers allow students to expand their conceptions of cultural differences.

Global Careers

Through our global career partners, such as Honda, Commercial Vehicle Group (CVG), and The Ohio State University, students are exposed to careers that involve numerous global components. They are not only made aware of the types of global careers that exist, but they also have the opportunity to learn about and practice the skills needed to succeed in such positions. Furthermore, with the help of our global career partners, we provide our students with an essential opportunity to communicate and network with several Columbus area professionals, an experience that prepares them for college and beyond.

GSD Program Themes

Who Should Get Involved

While the program caters specifically to high school students, the Global Scholars Diploma could not exist without the support of parents school districts, teachers, community partners, organization members, and sponsors. Each one plays a unique role in the success of both the program and our students.


At the CCWA, we believe in the strength of collaborative efforts between educators, students, and parents to nurture well-rounded, internationally-minded individuals. Parent involvement is at the heart of our educational approach, as we recognize that the active participation of families plays a crucial role in shaping the success of our students. We encourage parents to be active partners in their child's journey to global citizenship, fostering a strong sense of community and support for each aspiring global scholar.

As parents play a pivotal role in shaping a child's values and beliefs, their involvement in the Global Scholars Diploma program goes beyond academic support. We believe that a shared commitment to fostering empathy, curiosity, and critical thinking at home greatly complements our efforts in the program. We encourage parents to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity, as this enriches the educational experience of our students and strengthens their appreciation for different global perspectives. We understand that parental involvement is not only about supporting academic excellence but also about nurturing the overall growth and character development of our students, ultimately empowering them to become active contributors to a more interconnected and compassionate world.

School Districts and Teachers

The Columbus Council on World Affairs currently works with 19 school districts in the area through the Global Scholars Diploma Program. Through close partnerships with school educators, CCWA integrates GSD curriculum into each school culture, developing the program to best meet individual school needs. CCWA brings school districts from across the region together to further promote cross-cultural experiential learning amongst the student communities. With the support and guidance of the Global Scholars Diploma program, schools better prepare their students to be successful and thoughtful global leaders.

Each quarter, CCWA facilitates Global Scholars Advisory meetings in order to bring staff from each school district together. At these meetings, school educators collaborate with their peers to learn best practices for the GSD program, provide feedback to CCWA, hear updates on a student’s success in the program, and learn about global opportunities in the community.

If you are an educator and would like to discuss bringing the Global Scholars Diploma program to your school, please reach out to Jessica Flowers, Director of Education.


In order to connect students with the experts in each thematic topic and get hands-on learning experience, Global Scholars Diploma partners with community organizations. Community partnerships provide students access to global organizations with local impact.

Community partners can contribute to the Global Scholars program in several ways: leading students through an experiential activity providing students insights and skills in a specific global topic; hosting an event to allow students to explore potential global work environments; supporting the Global Scholars Diploma program monetarily.


In the third and final year of the Global Scholars Diploma program, students develop a Take Action project that is meant to demonstrate the abilities and knowledge that they have cultivated over the course of the first two years. With help from their teachers and advisors, students choose a globally-oriented issue about which they are passionate, and they pursue a leadership role in solving it at a local level. Throughout the project, students are in contact with advisors who guide them through the development and execution of their project, and they ultimately present their experiences to their peers at the Take Action Project fair held in April.

Members and Sponsors

The Global Scholars Program is a not-for-profit service that the Columbus Council on World Affairs provides to central Ohio school communities. In today’s world, being globally competent is imperative to becoming a successful citizen and professional, therefore CCWA’s mission is to provide a global education to as many students as possible. In order to do this, Global Scholars needs the support of the community. Every donation sponsors a Global Scholar and prepares them to be successful leaders, lifting up the central Ohio community in the process.

For other ways that you can become involved with the Global Scholars Diploma program and our organization please visit our Join Us page or you can contact us directly.

Contact Us to Get Involved

Explore Highlighted Take Action Projects from the 2021-2022 Global Scholars Diploma Graduating Class

Otterbein Scholarship for Global Scholars Graduates

Beginning in the fall of 2024, students who complete the program are eligible for a renewable $19,000 scholarship from Otterbein University.

Learn More!

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"I loved GSD program. Not only did it give me a good global education and information, but also the resources to help make a difference in my community!"

– Abigayle G., Global Scholars Alumni - Marysville Schools

Out of 76 total responses, 100% of teachers said that they would recommend the Global Scholars Diploma program to other school districts!

"I have never felt like a Global Scholar is doing the work "just to do it" and appease a program, but there is a strong sense of wanting to make a difference, and a real difference. From donating books, to creating a podcast, writing welcome cards are just small examples of the work that is being done. Students are always asking what else can I do, how else can I support and even some after their time in high-school while attending college reach back out to see how they can continue to impact. This partnership has been an incredible experience and refreshing to see young adults taking such strong action to be a welcoming community, and showing that Columbus cares."

- Jeremy Hollon, Community Refugee and Immigration Services

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“I am extremely grateful for the experience, knowledge, and the valuable connections that I have gathered over these past 3 years of participating in the Global Scholars Diploma program. If I could complete the whole process all over again, I would. I look forward to seeing all of the future graduates from the GSD program as well as their projects!”

Alexandra J., Global Scholars Alumni - Reynoldsburg Local Schools

8 out of 10 students have stated that the Global Scholars Diploma programs has changed the way they think about culture, global issues, and global careers.

Member Districts

Bexley City Schools

Big Walnut Local Schools

Buckeye Valley Local School District

Columbus Academy

Columbus City Schools

Delaware Hayes High School

Dublin City Schools

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools

Global Impact STEM Academy

Granville Exempted Village Schools

Horizon Science Academy

Johnstown-Monroe High School

Licking Heights Local School District

Marysville Schools

Mount Vernon High School

New Albany-Plain Local Schools

Pickerington Local School District

Reynoldsburg City Schools

Teays Valley Local Schools

Westerville City Schools

Worthington City Schools

National Advisory Council

Kate Berseth

Executive Vice President, North America

EF Education First

Brandon Busteed

Executive Director, Education & Workforce Development

Gallup Education

Deb Delisle

Executive Director & CEO


Mo-Yun Fong

Google, Inc.

Director, K-12 Education, Catalyst for Equity in Education

Dr. Daniel Keegan, Jr.

Executive Director

Martha Holden Jennings Foundation

Jennifer Manise

Executive Director

Longview Foundation

Brad McDearman

Nonresident Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program

The Brookings Institute

Dr. Lori Murray

Adjunct Senior Fellow

Council on Foreign Relations

Caroline Netchvolodoff

Vice President

Council on Foreign Relations

Dr. Fernando Reimers

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Ford Foundation Professor of Practice in International Education

Heather Singmaster

Associate Director, Center for Global Education

Asia Society

Matt Williams

Vice President, Policy and Advocacy