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The MPS World Fair returns to Milwaukee

todayApril 2, 2024

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The MPS World Fair returns to Milwaukee

The United Nations Schools of International Learning (UNSIL) program, a visionary initiative within the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) system, is set to host its 9th annual World Fair on Thursday, April 11, 2024, at the Baird Center in downtown Milwaukee. This highly anticipated event will bring together over 2,400 students from 17 of the most diverse schools in the city, showcasing their knowledge and understanding of the 193 member countries of the United Nations.

The MPS World Fair is a testament to the power of education in fostering global citizenship and cultural understanding. Students in grades 4-8 will present projects that delve into the strengths, challenges, and regional roles of each nation, demonstrating their deep engagement with the world around them. The event will also feature a rich array of cultural performances, including choirs, dancers, and drummers from various schools, highlighting the vibrant tapestry of cultures represented within the MPS community.

The UNSIL program, made possible by the generous support of local philanthropists Annette J. Roberts and Joan R. Robertson through their Fund for World Peace, World Law and Peace Education, has grown significantly since its inception in 2016. From an initial nine schools, the program now encompasses 17 schools, with six currently participating at the 8th-grade level. The curriculum focuses on developing essential 21st-century skills such as research, writing, debate, negotiation, and conflict resolution, all within the context of world affairs, current events, and multiculturalism.

One of the most exciting additions to this year’s World Fair is the inaugural MPS Citizenship Award, which will recognize outstanding service learning projects designed by 8th-grade students completing the UNSIL program. Three prizes of $500 each will be awarded to the winning projects, which must be tied to a UN Sustainability Goal and aim to benefit the Milwaukee community or the students’ classroom or school community.

The impact of the UNSIL program and the World Fair on students is profound. As Annette Robertson, an active volunteer for UNSIL, notes, “The really wonderful thing is that if you ask any student at the World Fair about their country or what they studied, in response, they’re so excited and empowered. They see that these children and these people are like them; they just speak a different language and live in a different country.”

The MPS World Fair is more than just a celebration of diversity; it is a testament to the transformative power of education in creating a more peaceful, understanding, and interconnected world. By providing students with the tools and knowledge to become active global citizens, the UNSIL program and the World Fair are laying the foundation for a brighter, more compassionate future.

As Willie Jude II, Executive Director of the MPS Foundation, eloquently states, “We are cultivating global scholars, and this crucial program teaches our children that they are active and interconnected citizens of the world. Through the exchange of cultural knowledge, students will make significant strides in fostering a more peaceful world by developing greater compassion and appreciation for everyone.”

The return of the MPS World Fair to downtown Milwaukee is a momentous occasion, celebrating the rich diversity of the city’s student population and the tireless efforts of educators, volunteers, and philanthropists who believe in the power of education to change the world. As the event unfolds on April 11, it will serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of investing in our children’s global education and the boundless potential of the next generation to create a more united, peaceful, and prosperous world.


Written by: Tarik Moody

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