What are Global Friendship Events?
Quite simply, Global Friendship Events are special gatherings that your Consulate organizes throughout the year. We recommend hosting, or attending, one event per month. All events follow a basic format:
Next Event Reminders and Announcements
These events can be simple, or they can be quite ambitious. The form these events take will completely depend upon you and your Consulate. All Global Passport can do is inspire you with ideas, and offer you advice and cautions.
So, let’s get you a bit inspired by suggesting a few possible event types:
For a full list of event ideas, along with helpful links, visit our Resources Page and search using the category of you choice. Meanwhile, this list should give you the general idea.
- Hold a Recruitment Event. It’s one of the best ways to introduce Global Passport to young people and explain what it is to become a consulate member. You will want to have a recruitment table at the event; so that new members can receive and fill out their new passports. Be sure to include a fun theme at the event, like the International Game Competition described below; it triggers curiosity and boosts attendance. Follow the basic event format. Have everyone introduce him or herself, and say something about where their family originated. Talk about the games they will be learning and the cultures they represent. Play the Games. Give out Accolades. Ask people why they think all cultures have games. Which games were their favorites? Finally, tell them briefly about Global Passport, and invite them to become members so they can attend more events. Point out the recruitment table and thank them for coming. Food at events is optional, but loved by all.
- Plan an International Game Competition. International Games are a perfect theme for a first recruitment event. For this event, you will need to choose three to five games from other cultures for the guests to play. When you introduce each game be sure to mention where the game originated, and ask the kids what they know and/or think about the country. The Internet is full of game possibilities. Check out our Global Passport Resources Page for more game ideas.
- Host an Ambassador Party by inviting someone from a different culture to come speak at your Consulate and be that culture’s Ambassador for a Day. Include fun activities during the event using pictures, music, traditional clothing, stories, food, crafts, and games. Don’t forget to remind everyone to bring lots of questions and an inquisitive mind. If possible, have an Ambassador’s gift to present to your guest when he or she leaves.
- Make a Pen Pal Event. There are many pen pal sites on the web; most charge a small fee. I find it is better and safer to first ask the Deputies if they are interested in finding Pen Pals, and if so what countries they want to write to. I get some nice writing paper and have them each write a letter of introduction that asks for a return letter. I also remind them to include questions for their prospective pen pals to answer. Once the letters are ready, I have them stick them into envelopes with their names on them. I then reach out to my personal network of friends, colleagues, and indeed other consulates, to see if they have a group of kids who will accept and answer my packet of letters. Pop, the letters go into the mail. When the return letters arrive, I pass them out to each of the recipients. They write back, and a pen pal has been born. Take a look on our website resources page for some sample first letters to download. You can print them out to give your kids some examples.
- Host a Music Party with at your Consulate. Have each Deputy bring traditional music from his or her culture to share in turn. They can also share music they just like. Be prepared to dance.
- Have your Consulate sponsor a child in a poor country. First discuss with your members if they would like such a responsibility. Research different organizations and cultures before choosing a recipient. Discuss how you are going to pay for the sponsorship. Can they do fundraising, crowd funding, or collect recyclable cans? (We have tips and links for fundraising on our website.) Have them really think about the implications of such a commitment. If they decide to go for it, then help them to set up the funding and pick a child. Once they have set up the sponsorship, be sure they write to that child, so they can make a real connection and friend. It’s also fun to show them how their work makes a difference.
- Host a movie viewing. Have the kids pick a movie that they would all like to see from the list that I provided earlier. Ask them to come to the event knowing something interesting that they have learned about the culture where the movie takes place. Try to have movie snacks, culturally appropriate if possible. Before the movie, talk a bit about what they expect; after the movie, talk about the characters and how they felt about them.
- Visit the Library Day. This event is self-explanatory. You arrange for a visit to your local library. The event is even better if you call ahead and let the library know that you are coming and why. Usually the Librarian will set aside time to show everyone around, and help everyone find the perfect book. The goal is to get everyone a book about a real person—a book that they might not normally read—and then share their books with each other at the next meeting.
- Host a Book Circle Share Event. Book Circle Share Events can be run two ways. For the first way, you simply hold your meeting the month after a Library Day Event. It becomes the event where all the members share their different books. Possibly even read their favorite passages to each other. The second way involves having the members chose one book for them all to read, and then come together for a group discussion about that book.
- A Visit Out involves getting the kids familiar with different people by actually meeting them. Arrange visits to a retirement home, a homeless shelter, various places of worship, museums, plays, and local cultural events. Some parents may not want their children exposed to some of these places, or peoples, but believe me; exposure to diversity is at the bedrock of acceptance. Ask your members to keep their eyes and ears pealed for places that they might want to visit, or events that they might want to attend. And before planning the visit out, always ask them to consider how such a visit can help them to understand others better.
- Family Sharing Day is similar to hosting an Ambassador Party, but on Family Sharing Day each member invites a representative from his or her family to take turns sharing stories with the group. What they decide to share with the group is up to them, but it might include funny stories, memories, food, games, music, pictures, family histories, and more.
- Personal Challenge Events. These are any non-consulate events that members might attend on their own, with their family, with their friends, or through their school, that also fill the criteria of a Global Friendship Event. Let’s say that their parents took them to a museum, or their school took them to a national war memorial. Reporting that experience to their fellow Consuls constitutes a stamp worthy event.
- Cultural Craft Event. This event is similar to the International Game Competition, but in this case, instead of games you have the kids work on craft projects from different cultures. It is particularly educational, and less work for you, if you have the kids pick their own crafts to research, create, and demonstrate to the others. They can work as individuals or in groups. Check out our resources page for event and activity ideas.
- Consulate’s Choice. Once your members understand how Global Friendship Events work and what they should be designed to accomplish, then encourage them to plan and organize their own events, based upon their own areas of interest. Remind them that events should help them fulfill their oaths, but that there are many pathways leading to that goal.
So there you have it. Everything you need to know to plan your Global Consulate; but before you leave, let me share one final thought.