The project had an extremely positive beginning with many contributions from the partner countries. There was so much enthusiasm from China that we had to divide China into two sections, one for teachers and one for students.
John Wu has been of great assistance and recommended the project to a number of teachers in China.
Many emails arrived from the USA with interesting information from the homeschool about life in the US. The Tashkent International School sent emails and it was fascinating looking at Uzbekistan and the surrounding "stans" in Central Asia. We were also very pleased with information from South Africa where the teacher is a colleague from the Global Junior Challenge. Students from Japan wrote about their school and Japanese food as well as providing us with some very thought provoking ideas about our world and its history.
The partner from South Korea told us about Korean culture and the founder of the Horizon School in Sri Lanka had to travel eighty kilometres to the nearest Internet connection to take part in the project! Information also came from Canada, Mexico, Italy, the UK and Australia.
A number of new schools joined the project towards the end of 2003 and we also added information from Taiwan from the middle of November and Hungary in December.
And last, but not least, thanks should go to Marsha for her unceasing work and also to her pupils who are so keen to work on the project.
The new year started with a school in Singapore joining the project. Early January saw much activity on the Discussion Board although many of the teachers had kept in touch all through the holiday period.
The list of finalists for the Stockholm Challenge
was published on 20 January. Everyone involved in the project was very pleased to see that it had been included in the list. This is a great achievement. "Being finalists in the Stockholm Challenge is a victory in itself ... The Stockholm Challenge has this year involved a great number of countries, some of them for the first time in the Stockholm Challenge. All projects are bringing to light the creativity, innovation, tenacity, difficulties and successes with which people are changing the way we all live, work and relate to each other." (Dr. Alfonso Molina, professor at the University of Edinburgh and chairman of the jury)
In late January John wrote to say that he had planned a number of workshops in different cities in China. A newspaper in London (Richmond & Twickenham Times - James Adlam) wrote an article about the work between WIZ and the partners and gave information about the Tolerance Pledge. This was followed by a television programme in Italy that reported on the partnership between Marsha's school and the school in Rome.
The end of February and the month of March saw seven new countries joining the project: Brazil, Croatia, Greece, Indonesia, Namibia, Russia and Turkey. World participation has grown considerably and the information from communication between the partner schools combined with the WIZ country studies is producing an up-to-date view of the world for students everywhere.