Press Release for Grant Projects

The World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence wants to share the good news regarding two grant awards we received.  First we partnered up with the University of North Carolina (UNC) – Chapel Hill’s World View program and Longview Foundation to provide intercultural competence professional development activities to educators across North Carolina.  Additionally, North Carolina Humanities generously approved a grant-funded project to bring UNESCO Story Circles to a diverse cohort of partners in various North Carolina Communities to help bridge divides within local communities. 

The Longview Foundation Grant and UNC World View Partnership

Three critical components make up this grant project: training, fellowship, and a writing competition.

Professional Development through UNESCO Story Circles

In October 2020, UNC World View hosted Dr. Darla Deardorff for a late afternoon UNESCO Story Circles Train the Trainers Training, Shared Narratives: UNESCO Intercultural Competency TrainingLongview Foundation Grant funding provided scholarships for 30 North Carolina K-12 educators to join this event moderated by Dr. Charlé LaMonica, UNC – World View Director.  Additionally, UNC – World View Hosted a January 2021 Virtual: UNESCO Intercultural Competency Training event for educators within and beyond North Carolina.


The World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence welcomed our first ever World Council Teaching Fellows Program, with support from the Longview Foundation, and in partnership with UNC World View. Fellows, selected by our partners at World View engaged in an intercultural competence teaching fellowship between January 2021 through April 2021. The fellowship included participation in the UNESCO Intercultural Competency Training on Story Circles with World View in October and January. 

April 2021

The cohort of fellows met regularly with Dr. Darla Deardorff and Kelly Pengelly by Zoom as a group, received monthly one-on-one intercultural coaching with Kelly Pengelly, some participated in World Council virtual events, worked on producing several intercultural tools for educators and contributed to online publications. Through this program, fellows  developed essential knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors to expertly navigate multicultural classrooms, sensitively interact with diverse stakeholders, and create effective intercultural materials used in K-12 educational settings.

Intercultural communication is essential for educators preparing students for the 21st century workforce.  Throughout our fellowship program, we emphasized intercultural competence—facilitating fellows’ cultivation of dispositions that contribute to effective interaction between individuals and groups of diverse learners.  They even created some educational tools themselves. See below!

Jenny Litzen
Instructional Leader & Teacher, NC VirtualSnow Camp, NC
Interviewing Policy Leaders to Advance Intercultural Competence Across Boundaries: A collaborative project by The Intersection of ICC and Influencers/Policy Makers Working Group (Link will be available upon publication.)
Third Culture Kids (TCK) and Transitions Questions – These questions came as a result of interviewing my mother, who is a Third Culture Kid. They are also applicable to a wider audience.
Caitlin Farr Health and Physical Education Teacher, Cabarrus County support Health and Physical Education teachers in diversifying and incorporating more culture/ cultural awareness into the classrooms I created sample lesson plans.  These lessons are targeted to meet North Carolina State Standards in the area of Health and Physical Education for students in grades 6th, 7th, and 8th, and can be modified.
ICC and Physical EducationICC and Health Education
Jennifer Roth Elementary School ESL teacher , Chapel Hill- Carrboro City Schools Chapel Hill, NC Project:The Karen speaking population is new to me and I have been struggling to connect to them. My project involves interviewing fellow educators and families to create a Q&A of sorts for teachers and what they could learn about Karen culture based on the answers I get from my interviews. Thus far, I have interviewed 3 people and am finding the need to modify my questions as well as focus on one parent that seems to be very engaged with what I have to say/ask.

Public Project:
I will be using a Karen story book and generating a list of Story Circle questions pertaining to the story.

Contact Jennifer Roth to with any additional ideas or books.

Jessica NewmanGlobal Learning Coordinator, Charlotte Country Day School

Lee Ann Smith Librarian/Media Specialist, Buncombe County SchoolsAsheville, NC
Joint Project from Jessica Newman and Lee Ann Smith:
To assist educators in choosing material that integrates intercultural components and promotes outside-the-box thinking, Lee Ann Smith and Jessica Newman developed an Intercultural Competency Tool for Evaluating PreK-12 Literature.
They likewise compiled a bibliography of books that explores diversity and encourages development of intercultural knowledge, skills, thinking and behaviors in PreK-12 readers.

In the meantime, UNC World View announces World Council’s Intercultural Excellence in Education Through Story Circles Award Call for Proposals to all participants who received Story Circles Train the Trainer professional development over the past two years. Educators eligible for consideration for the Award must be an accredited, K-12 educator in North Carolina.

This grant will be presented to no more than three educators who propose an innovative intercultural implementation of Story Circles at their school during the school year.  The proposal(s) selected will be awarded a small stipend to help enhance the Story Circles Event meant to promote intercultural efforts within the classroom and/or co-curricular programs. 

Educators are encouraged to be creative in their approaches and reminded that Story Circles can be used with students in the classroom but also with members of the community, faculty, parents, and other stakeholders. Entries will be evaluated by a special Selection Committee appointed by the World Council. 

Selected proposals will receive a certificate of excellence in intercultural development and their school will receive a monetary reward  to be used to continue the work of intercultural competence development in their school.  The World Council will highlight these proposals post-event on our Intercultural Connector blog.  

Additionally, other entries the selection committee sees as beneficial to the World Council Community and K-12 Educators will also be posted on the World Council Intercultural Connector Blog.  We look forward to sharing the results of this competition and future Story Circle Events to take place throughout the year in North Carolina later this Fall. 

Bridging Divides through Story Circles

A grant project sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities

The global health crisis has illustrated the increased divides in society, including here in North Carolina, with marginalized groups being more impacted by the pandemic. In addition, there is a continued increase in xenophobia, especially toward Asian-Americans. And as noted by the United Nations, the costs of intercultural incompetence are so high… that “our future depends upon actions taken today, so the future of cultural diversity… depends upon our ability to gain and demonstrate intercultural competencies today”(UNESCO, 2013,p. 38). 

To that end, UNESCO has successfully developed and piloted an intercultural methodology called Story Circles that not only helps participants develop intercultural competencies through the sharing of personal stories, but also helps bridge societal divides. This project proposes to train NC community leaders in Story Circles methodology so they can then take this further into local NC communities to bridge divides between groups.

Impact and Outcomes

World Council aspires to connect diverse North Carolinians through intercultural understanding Outcomes:

  • Participants’ intercultural competence will increase, especially listening for understanding 
  • Participants’ knowledge of others’ perspectives will increase
  • Participants’ capacity to facilitate Story Circles will increase

We are currently providing partners and others in their community networks with three virtual Train-the-Trainer workshop opportunities on UNESCO Story Circles led by Dr. Darla Deardorff. This grant included a kick-off meeting with partners at the end of February.  Following a March planning session with implementation partners, World Council began preparing a Story Circles toolkit that can be used by community partners. This resource will benefit participants taking Story Circles into their communities, and will provide a template for other Story Circles uses.  From June through September, partner participants in the Train-the-Trainer workshops will conduct Story Circles in their own communities.  During this time, World Council will provide regular Virtual Conversations with partners and Train-the-Trainer participants to offer guidance and develop community among those taking part in this project. In the Fall, World Council is planning to host an in-person Final Story Circles Event in Durham, NC for all trainers (with optional participation virtually) and conduct a survey to inform future Story Circles training and engagement specifically for community leaders. The survey results and toolkit materials will be shared with UNESCO.  

This project will serve leaders/volunteers in community organizations in NC who work with targeted populations- African-Americans, Latinx, & Asian-Americans in NC, since these groups are more impacted by COVID- 19.  Advisors include experts from Duke’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, NC Justice Working Group & Duke’s Health Humanities Lab.  Implementation partners represent community activators from Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation at Duke University (Duke TRHT Center), Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference (GRID), City of Winston-Salem Human Relations Department, Duke Divinity School, Duke International House, Fayetteville State University: Office of International Programs, Graduate Communications and Intercultural Programs, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University, Health Humanities Laboratory, Global Health Institute, History United, Middle Border Forward, North Carolina Asian Americans, Graduate Communications and Intercultural Programs, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University, Together (NCAAT), North Carolina Central University: Teaching Artists Certificates Program, Step by Step (In partnership with the Angaza Project), The Angaza Project, The City of Danville (In Partnership with History United and NC Partners), Triangle Native American Society, The United Way of the Greater Triangle and UNC World View, and Wake Tech Comm College, College & Career Readiness Department.

World Council is so grateful for these partnerships and opportunities to impact and bridge divides North Carolina Communities and beyond made possible by the North Carolina Humanities Grant.

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