Sunrise International Education (SIE) was founded by Columbia University alum Gavin Newton-Tanzer and Swarthmore College alum David Weeks in the mission of using liberal arts extracurriculars and learning principles to complement the learning experiences of students exposed to a non-liberal arts education. CORE Impulse sits down with the founders to discuss their unique approach.
Why a Liberal Arts Approach?
The people at SIE believe that for young students across the world to be best equipped for today and tomorrow’s global challenges, students need to have a dynamic educational experience and diverse skillset. Liberal arts extracurriculars do this best with emphasis on things like debate, drama/acting, and looking for unique ways to tackle business in an ever-changing economic climate.
We believe the power of learning together is the key to good education, and extracurriculars unlock that power.
So… how does SIE do this?
- In certain parts of the world, collaboration is a foreign concept as the educational style is very much geared towards the individual. By emphasizing collaboration and teamwork through activities, SIE helps establish organic connections that help fellow students see the value in working together. The impact of achievement is much higher when people work as a team and value each other’s uniqueness.
- SIE currently partners with over 400 schools in China to raise students’ awareness of the power of collaboration and diversity and uses platforms such as debate, drama, and business leagues and labs to provide the students with a sounding board to express themselves in new ways.
- The SIE team is truly vested in its participants and looks at each student as reflections of themselves. By establishing a strong sense of trust and paying close attention to the students, the team helps foster organic connections and affect changes that lasts a lifetime.
- Confidence Building
- SIE doesn’t just stop with collaboration and mentorship. They help the participants of the program develop further by encouraging them to constantly evolve and challenge themselves, utilizing the things they’ve learned. For example, the students’ debate skills are put to the test through debate competitions and tournaments, most of which are sponsored by prestigious organizations such as The Yale Debate Association, Penn for Youth Debate, and Peking University.
- Dreaming Big, and Doing Big
- SIE isn’t small-scale. The SIE team believes that to truly affect how we view and interact with education, there has to be nationwide and global efforts, which is exactly what they’re doing. Some of the leagues SIE students engage with are the China Youth Business League (CYBL), the International Performance League for Asian Youth (InterPLAY), and China Organization for Developing Engineers.
What’s most rewarding for the people at SIE is knowing that they’re helping to build dynamic leaders who will innovate, rather than seek affirmations from society, by striving to achieve society’s benchmarks of success. By fostering an environment that matches driven students with the right resources, there will systemic change that encourages more approaches to education like SIE, and thus a more diverse and ready set of students for the future.