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Global Oneness Project

Want to use powerful visual stories & films to develop global citizenship?

The Global Oneness Project brings the world's global cultures alive in the classroom. They provide award-winning films and photo essays which explore cultural, social, and environmental issues and accompanying lesson plans using stories as a pedagogical tool to inspire growing minds. All for free.

Hall of Fame


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Hall of Fame

HundrED 2021

HundrED 2020

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2018

Web presence






March 2017
We believe that stories play a powerful role in education.

About the innovation

What is the Global Oneness Project?

In an increasingly globalized world, we need to find new ways to understand each other and to inspire a global perspective, so that communities everywhere can work together to find peaceful, innovative solutions to challenging and new situations.

Learners should have opportunities to further their understanding of interconnectedness, empathy and global issues so that they are prepared for the globalized world they live in, which in turn will inspire a future generation of responsible, compassionate citizens.

The Global Oneness Project believes that stories play a powerful role in education. Founded in 2006, the Project is committed to the exploration of cultural, environmental, and social issues. They house a rich library of free multimedia stories comprised of award-winning films, photo essays, and articles, which are accompanied by a companion curriculum for educators.

The Global Oneness Project aims to connect students through stories from the local human experience to global meta-level issues, such as: climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, poverty, endangered cultures, migration, and sustainability, among others. Through featuring individuals and communities impacted by these issues, their stories and lessons provide opportunities to examine universal themes that emphasize our common humanity—identity, diversity, hope, resilience, imagination, adversity, empathy, love, and responsibility. The curriculum, available in both English and Spanish, contains an interdisciplinary approach to learning and facilitates the development of students’ critical thinking, inquiry, empathy, and listening skills.

The Global Oneness Project’s website is designed for educators to explore and search for content in a variety of ways: media type, course subjects, U.S. national standards, and via curated collections.

The resources are intended for whole class instruction. Teachers are using the stories and lessons as extensions to their core curriculum. The Project’s resources can be integrated into a wide range of courses including anthropology, English language arts, environmental science, history, media and journalism, and the arts.

For example, a high school environmental science teacher’s core curriculum focuses on local geography, the qualities of environmental citizenship, and healthy watersheds. He used the photo essay “Kara Women Speak” and the companion lesson plan “On the Verge of Displacement” in his classroom to get a global perspective and learn how an indigenous community is finding their self-sustaining ways of life at risk due to the development of a hydropower dam in Southwestern Ethiopia.

Each month, they release a new story and an accompanying lesson plan. All of the content and resources are available for free with no ads or subscriptions.To read about how a middle school teacher integrated the film Welcome to Canada in her classroom, for example, visit this blog on PBS Learning by Executive Director of the Project Cleary Vaughan-Lee.

The Project’s award-winning short films have been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, The Smithsonian & The New Yorker, among others. Their lessons are currently featured on Ted-Ed, PBS Learning, TES Global, United States Green Building Council (USGBC), Share My Lesson, and Edmodo, among others.

In 2020, the Project shifted to provide online events with their storytellers, including writers, filmmakers, and photographers. This series, titled Stories for Solidarity, was included in the COVID-19 HundrED collection. All of the webinars are recorded and can be viewed on the Project's website. In April 2020, the Project also released their first student photography contest, Document Your Place on the Planet, and aims to host 3-4 student media contests throughout each year. The next one will take place throughout the summer of 2020 and will challenge students to document an artifact of their lives. The aim of this global contest is to feature student voices from around the world to provide multiple perspectives for learning and growing.

Throughout the rest of 2020, The Project is working to update and redesign their lesson plans and broaden their offerings to elementary, middle, and high school students. The lessons will contain connections to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to allow students to make global to local connections and to take action in their own lives. Each lesson plan will also provide updates to the companion story, allowing for current information to be presented in classrooms. Spanish translations to all content will also be available. The first batch of new lesson plans will be released in August 2020.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

An exciting and new way to engage young people about global stories and issues, through film, photo essays and articles accompanied by resources and lesson plans for teachers. The Global Oneness Project is being used in 80 countries and is actively looking for distribution, technology and media partners to help them expand their reach to educators and educational institutions for maximum impact.

HundrED Academy Reviews

Absolutely blown away by the mission and incredible detail that must go into making these films and the effort it must take to make sure the content is coherent and informative at the same time.

Beautiful resources to teach global concepts. I immediately sent this to colleagues. Easy to align with curriculum around the world

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process


Student Voice: Photography, COVID-19, and our collective memory
Learning During Covid
Student Photography Contest: The Spirit of Reciprocity
Composer Curriculum Design Webinar: Overcoming Bias for Global Citizenship, August 2021
Student Photography Contest: The Artifacts in Our Lives
Global Oneness Project Joins New Education Platform Composer
Learning and Teaching About Environmental Justice and the Right to Clean Water: From Flint to the Dakota Access Pipeline « Journal of Sustainability Education
Grateful Changemakers: Global Oneness Project -
Immersive Storytelling and Climate Change: Fostering the Development of Social-Emotional Learning
Student Photography Contest: Document Your Place on the Planet
New Lesson Plan in Collaboration with Google Earth: Exploring Indigenous Language Vitality
New Op-Ed Post for Big Think: Imagine learning empathy at school.
Earthrise Film Nominated for an Emmy!
New Webinar: Developing Empathy Through Indigenous Cultures and Stories
New Journal Article: The Power of Immersive Storytelling
Sanctuaries of Silence Film Featured on NYT Learning Network Film Club
Student Photography Project Launches at 2019 ISTE Conference Highlighting HundrED Youth Ambassadors
HundrED Youth Ambassadors Participate in Photography Project
Film Sanctuaries of Silence wins Lexus VR Award at Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2018
Global Oneness Project selected as 2018 Best Website for Teaching & Learning from American Association of School Librarians
Access free PD class from Global Oneness Project and Share My Lesson
Elementary teacher librarian inspired by film to teach about endangered cultures
Read article by Cleary Vaughan-Lee about global education innovations in Education Week
Earthrise film Inspires Episode of This American Life Podcast
Elementary students watch a film
New Film Earthrise Premieres in The New York Times Op-Docs
High school students lead a student panel discussion following the screening of  film Earthrise. 
Executive Director, Cleary Vaughan-Lee, at a high school Sustainability Festival in California.
Student experiences a VR film during an environmental film festival for students. 
In Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cleary Vaughan-Lee: The Power of Emotional Storytelling in Education | HundrED Innovation Summit
Marie's Dictionary
When A Town Runs Dry
Explore The Global Oneness Project
Show more

Implementation steps

Explore the website
How can we prepare students to become perceptive and engaging global citizens?

The Global Oneness Project offers students immersive, relatable, compelling human stories that invite them to connect to what is universal and deeply sustaining across borders. Getting to the heart of global learning is making global issues relevant and accessible for students to evolve as self-confident global citizens.

One of the primary goals is for students to walk away with an expanded experience of the world through witnessing powerful, real-life stories. Stories remain powerful through time, across continents, with the potential to transcend boundaries. Stories can also provide students with simple access to the essential material of life and learning.

The Global Oneness Project resources can support educators to prepare students to engage in a fast-changing and culturally diverse world.

Explore their websiteand sign up to explore thefunctionality for educators to create their own collections, add personalized notes and titles, and publish a link to share with students and colleagues.

Select a film, photo essay, or article to explore

The Global Oneness Project has traveled to every continent, documenting diverse people and cultures, putting real people and remote places on the map for students. Their films and photo essays explorehow these places are changing due to globalization, modernization, climate change, and other cultural and environmental factors.

Through featuring individuals and communities impacted by global issues, the Project's stories—short documentary films, photo essays, and articles— inherently include universal themes highlighting our common humanity, including the following: identity, diversity, hope, resilience, imagination, adversity, empathy, love, and responsibility.

The following are some examples of the themes explored in each story and lesson: ancient cultures, bearing witness, connection to home, cultural artifacts, cultural displacement, preservation of a culture, consequences of development, community, empathy toward nature, effects of environmental change, environmental justice, facing adversity, family values, future generations, geographic literacy, identity, immigration and jobs, poverty and inequality, resilience, social and emotional learning, and youth empowerment.

Use the companion curriculum guides
The lesson plans on the Global Oneness Project are intended for whole class instruction— Grade 7- college. Teachers can also use the lesson plans and stories as add-ons to their existing curriculum.

Each multimedia story highlights a current cultural, environmental, or social issue from a humanistic perspective. The companion lesson plans explore these issues, providing detailed background information for the educator as well as classroom discussion questions and reflective writing prompts.

For example, in the lesson plan, “After the Quake: Preserving the Artifacts of Kathmandu,” students explore the larger impact on earthquakes. In this story, the following key question is explored: How might earthquakes destroy valuable cultural artifacts? What are some local and global efforts to be taken to protect and restore relics for future generations? Photography below by Taylor Weidman.

Any materials or equipment needed in the classroom for the project will be listed.

Since the majority of the stories are short films and photo essays, preparation includes providing equipment for showing the film in class and online access to the film or photo essay. A world map is suggested in many lessons to illustrate with students where the story takes place.

Choose a theme or entry point
Choose a theme or entry point by accessing our curated collections.

Thought-provoking questions are included to introduce the story to the class. The intention is to provide students with relevant entry points, pointing to the story while making local to global connections.

In a companion lesson plan—“Investigating the Impacts of Palm Oil”—based on a photo essay “Palm Oil in Myanmar,” prompts are included to introduce unsustainable palm oil production with students. Students are asked, “What do you know about palm oil?” A secondary source from The Guardian is also included to provide an overarching understanding of palm oil from its origins in the rainforest, to plantations, to the marketplace, and finally, to the consumer’s home.Photography below by Taylor Weidman.

Engage students in dialogue
Activities are described in this section, depicting ways that students can engage with others by working in pairs, small groups, class discussions, or other classroom projects. Teachers are given suggestions for student engagement, including specific actions or tasks of observation.

The following is an example from the lesson plan “A Refugee’s Story”:

Students view a film,Welcome to Canada, about a refugee, Mohammed Alsaleh, who left Syria to escape torture and imprisonment. Mohammed was granted asylum in Canada and works with a Vancouver-based NGO to help other Syrians relocate. Students are asked to consider the following questions: What are the characters' hopes? What are some of the challenges the main character, Mohammed, faces? What challenges do the Syrian families face? Why might Mohammad's assistance be particularly impactful to other refugees?”

Student express their opinions and views
This section provides discussion questions—from comprehension to analytical— the class will explore, which will help students dig deeper into the themes and issues raised in the story.

Opportunities are included for students to express their opinions clearly, consider different arguments, and provide comparisons and contrasts. Real-life examples or situations, as well as role-play assignments and mini-debates are offered which can help students engage with the topic. Suggested examplesare provided and depending upon the class, the teacher can alter the lesson as needed.

For example, in the lesson plan “Ancient and Modern Worlds”—a companion to the film “A Thousand Suns”—students are challenged to participate in a mini-debate centered on the following question: Does the modern world negatively or positively influence the Game culture?

Ask students to reflect
Students are given reflective writing prompts/assignments which guide them to consider the story's wider implications.

Questions are intended to create opportunities for students to demonstrate critical thinking skills. U.S. national standards are embedded, including the Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and C3 Social Studies Framework. Students are asked to integrate their knowledge and ideas from various points of view and apply newly learned ideas.

Secondary sources are included in this section, including interactive maps, quotes from the storytellers, thought leaders, as well as well-researched articles with journalistic perspectives and data.

For example, the following is a question from the lesson plan “A Refugee’s Story”:

The British author, Rudyard Kipling, said, "If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten." What do you think about this quote? Do you agree or disagree with Kipling? Why or why not? What might be the history lesson of Mohammed's story? Do you think the impact of this short film,Welcome to Canada, makes a potential effective history lesson depicting human behavior? If so, how? Write a short essay, 2-3 paragraphs, describing your response.

Share and Collaborate
The Project would love to hear how you are using their resources. How might you use a specific film into your classroom? What are student responses? Do you have specific student projects to share or adaptations of the lesson plans? Are you interested to contribute to our blog? Please be in touch! We'd love to hear from you so we can inspire more students with your work in the classroom. Please reach us at - Thank you!

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