Global Studies in Action: A Blog
Discover the many ways that Bancroft students are engaging with the world and developing their awareness of cultures both near and far.
Photograph by student Michael B.
Adventures with a Modern Day Explorer
from Gail Buckley, History Department Chair
When Denis Belliveau, the Emmy-nominated writer and director of the PBS documentary and book In the Footsteps of Marco Polo, visited Bancroft on December 3rd & 4th, one of my students called him “a modern day Indiana Jones.” The 8th and 9th grade students in our history classes had recently learned about cultural diffusion in the ancient world and the Middle Ages, and were excited at the chance to meet Denis, and hear about his adventures retracing the steps of 13th century explorer Marco Polo from Venice to China and back. Denis’s appeal is that he is just an ordinary guy with a passion for history, travel, culture, and photography. He brought his extraordinary trip to life for the kids, and his enthusiasm for what he does is palpable. I loved his message — Travel is the enemy of bigotry.
He worked with the students throughout the day, held a Q&A in the theatre, and attended our Lunch with an Explorer, which allowed others in the community to meet him and hear his message, as well.
The more we can educate our students about other cultures, the closer we are to being better citizens of the globe.
Here are some student reflections from the 9th grade classes:
“I loved his program. It was the most interesting thing I have ever done at school…"
"Now all I want to do is to go on a dangerous adventure, and become a traveler not a tourist.”
“I cannot agree more with what Denis said about fear. We fear a lot before we actually get to do something, but once you start really getting to do it, fear disappears.”
“I loved all of the artifacts that he brought in to share. Because of Denis, I would really love to visit Mongolia, China, Venice and Turkey.”
“Denis made me want to seek out the good [in the world], which doesn't always have to be in a distant country. Sometimes it can be at a school or maybe even your next door neighbor.”
“Just the idea of traveling Marco Polo's journey with all the dangers in the area today is completely insane, so meeting the only person to ever successfully complete the trip was amazing.”
“Denis's documentary and talk changed the way I think about traveling immensely. I am excited for my next vacation so that I can be more curious… I think I would like to become a more global citizen.”
“His program really makes me want to travel and live instead of just sitting on the couch.”
“One thing that really struck me from Denis’ talk was when he said there are more good people than bad in the world. I wish there was a way for everyone to realize this fact. “
“My already strong love of history was accentuated when Denis related his current experiences to the past.”
“Seeing Denis’s passion for traveling definitely inspired me to want to see more of the world and experience many of the different cultures.”
“His program made me realize how important global relations are.”
“It definitely makes me want to go on an adventure.”
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