Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO)

Global Exploration for Educators Organization is a new 501c3 non-profit organization that facilitates low-cost international travel for American teachers and encourages the integration of global awareness into classroom learning.  In the summer of 2008 GEEO will be running trips to Peru , Tanzania , Nepal and India .

Take a look at our web site to learn more,, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Please forward this email to any educators you might know (or to people who know educators) who would be interested in expanding their worldview through these amazing travel opportunities.

Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Awards

Sponsored by the United States-Japan Foundation

Nomination & Application Procedures 2008

Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Awards

The Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Awards recognize exceptional teachers who further mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese.  The awards are presented annually to two pre-college teachers in two categories, humanities and Japanese language, and consist of a certificate of recognition, a $2,500 monetary award, and $5,000 in project funds. The awards are named in honor of Elgin Heinz for his commitment to educating students about Asia as well as for the inspiration he has provided to the field of pre-college education.

Elgin Heinz  (1913-2005)

A pioneer in educating American students about Asia , Elgin Heinz served throughout his life as a consultant on the development of materials and methods for teaching about this region of the world.  Born in China in 1913, Heinz attended the University of California at Berkeley , graduating with degrees in philosophy and public speaking and eventually earning a graduate degree in history from San Francisco State University .  He spent forty years teaching in San Francisco ’s Public Schools, at first teaching literature, and later, geography and history.  During his tenure as a teacher, Heinz became nationally known for his efforts in assisting students and teachers to learn more about Japan and Asia broadly.

In addition to classroom teaching, Heinz was active in a number of organizations, including the Association for Asian Studies, the Asia Society, the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.  He served as the Japan Society’s Education Director in 1960. Heinz authored and edited numerous publications on teaching about Asia , including two widely used curriculum guides, Opening Doors and Stepping Stones

Heinz was the recipient of many awards including the National Council for Geographic Education’s California Teacher of the Year and, in 1997, the World Affairs Council of Northern California’s Castile Award.  Perhaps the award that most epitomizes his groundbreaking work in K-12 Asian Studies was the Association for Asian Studies Committee on Teaching About Asia’s 1987 recognition of Elgin Heinz for “Fifty Years of Innovative Teaching About Asia.”*

(*Biographical information regarding Elgin Heinz was taken from the Fall 2000 issue of Education About Asia and was reprinted with permission from the Association for Asian Studies.)


The awards are open to current full-time K-12 classroom teachers of any subject in the United States who have been teaching for at least five years and are presented annually to two pre-college teachers in two categories, humanities and Japanese language. 

Previous award recipients often have over 20 years of teaching experience and have been engaged in teaching their students about Japan for a substantial period of time.  Candidates must demonstrate sustained commitment to improving mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese, and must have made a significant contribution to enhancing students’ knowledge of Japan .

Applicants for the Japanese language category must have excellent command of the Japanese language and may be contacted by members of the selection committee to verify this.

Nomination Procedures

Applicants for the Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Awards need not be nominated to apply.  However, in an effort to encourage the nation’s top educators to apply for the awards, the Foundation welcomes Letters of nomination.  Letters should be sent directly to the Foundation and must briefly highlight the candidate’s qualifications and include the candidate’s name and contact information.

The Foundation will accept letters of nomination at any time and will inform candidates of their nomination.  All candidates must complete a full application to be considered for the award and therefore nominations should be made as early as possible.

Review and Selection

An independent selection committee will review applications received and recipients will be announced in May. 

Application Procedures

Applicants must electronically submit the following by February 1, 2008 to be considered for the 2008 award:

1.   Cover Sheet that includes the following information:

A)   Full name and home address

B)   School name and address

C)   E-mail and telephone contact information

D)   The award category for which you are applying:  Japanese Language or Humanities

E)   The subjects and grades you currently teach

F)   A list of Japan-related programs in which you have participated

G)   Names and contact information for those

        submitting letters of support

2.   A narrative (not to exceed three (3) pages typed, double spaced) describing your efforts to further mutual understanding between Americans and

Japanese through your classroom teaching.  Please highlight leadership positions held and how you have impacted other educators locally and/or nationally.

3.   A two-page project proposal describing how you would use the award’s $5,000 project funds to enhance understanding of Japan at your school or in your school district. 

4.   Three letters of support from individuals or

organizations familiar with you and your teaching on Japan .  A letter from a student explaining how your efforts affected his/her perceptions and understanding of Japan is permissible as a letter of support.  One letter must come from the school’s principal or vice principal and must express support for your project proposal in addition to supporting your candidacy for the award.

5.   A professional resume.

The application and all supporting documents must be submitted electronically in a standard format to with the subject line:  Elgin Heinz Application.  Please also check the Foundation’s website at for updated information regarding application procedures.