GEM History & Mission

Global Education Motivators (GEM): Its Mission and Work


GEM was founded by educators in 1981 to help meet the complex need to bring the world into the classroom. GEM has consistently worked with students, teachers and administrators, through on-site and distance learning workshops and programs, to support and promote a better understanding of living in an interdependent world.

Believing that international communication exchange is a key to future world peace, the inclusion of cross cultural perspectives has become an integral part of GEM's global learning programs. Global awareness is closely tied to global responsibility.

An integral part of GEM's mission is to support the work and mission of the United Nations and the important role of civil society in today's world. 

GEM’s History

   20th Century

Founded in 1981 by educators, GEM's mission of promoting a global perspective in all aspects of learning has never been more important. GEM was founded by educators and is directed today by educators, GEM services schools and communities throughout the United States and around the world. Our interdependent global community demands it.

Established as an educational non-profit organization, GEM was born is a 501(c)(3) public foundation created out of the need to help teachers and students understand their interdependent world and how to live in it. GEM was one of the first organizations to "bring the real world into the classroom" and it drew the interest and support of many people such as: 

· Television's Fred Rogers whose "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" liked GEM's approach of "know thyself, know thy neighborhood, know thy world". 

· Paul Simon, former US Senator from Illinois who supported GEM efforts to strengthen the use of foreign languages in the schools through various forms of international communication exchanges 

· Dr. Robert Muller, former UN Assistant Secretary-General and Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Peace in Costa Rica who lauded GEM for its efforts to bring the UN into the classroom, and

· Dr. Jane Goodall for GEM's human rights, environmental, and endangered animals education, and 

· UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for GEM's various UN educational programs.

GEM has always maintained a close association with the United Nations. In 1986 GEM

became an NGO (a non-governmental organization) in close association with the UN Department of Public Information. GEM received the UN Peace Messenger Award in 1989 for its work on behalf of the UN and world peace. In 2015 GEM received consulting status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  GEM created UNISER (United Nations Information Services), an on-line UN database that it managed for the UN before the advent of today’s Internet. GEM helped various UN Missions and NGOs get a basic introduction to the Internet to learn how to access and efficiently use the various databases of the United Nations.

Since 1989, all of the above has been done out of GEM's main office at Chestnut Hill College where college and university level programming has also been developed. 

GEM has always been active with a real world approach that helps bring global perspectives into mainstream education. This has been done to help prepare youth for the realities of their interdependent world. GEM is now working with a second generation of students. 


21st Century


21st Century Global Education has evolved through the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this process, awareness and action on environmental sustainability issues has come to be a common norm of global education. GEM currently brings the world into the classroom in three focus areas:

- Bringing youth together across cultures for real-world experiential learning

- Using history to understand living in an interdependent world

-  Supporting awareness and action to achieve the SDGs

GEM continues to use videoconferencing technology to bring global awareness to students and teachers. GEM has created: three real world programs to help empower youth with an understanding of living in our interdependent world.


1. Student Leadership Conference on Development at the United Nations (SLCD)

2. From Independence to Interdependence (FITI)

3. Student Conference on the Paris Agreement (SCoPA).

ALWAYS ONWARD.20th Century