Global Migration Education Initiative Banner

This collaborative project between San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of Michigan (U-M) aims to provide innovative professional development opportunities for K-12 and Community College Educators in California and Michigan. It is supported by a Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the US Department of Education.

“Global Migration and Inclusive Pedagogy” Workshop Series

The Global Migration and Inclusive Pedagogy (GMIP) Workshops bring K-12 and Community College educators and school administrators to the US-Mexico border at the San Diego-Tijuana artery in order to better understand global migration flows and comparative border studies as well as inclusive strategies for teaching this content in increasingly diverse classrooms.

While the project is global in scope and incorporates comparative studies of borders, walls, and migration flows around the world, this workshop is truly unique in that it is situated geographically in an epicenter of international migration. Tijuana and the San Diego/Tijuana region (SANTI) serve as a microcosm of global migration flows, a place where people of exceptionally varied backgrounds unite in one space and collectively exemplify the economic and political push and pull factors that drive global migration. The experiential components of this binational workshop provoke questions such as: Who are the people arriving to the U.S./Mexico border via Tijuana, who is passing through, and who stays? Why do they make the migratory choices that they do? And what are the effects on the various sending, receiving, and migrant communities on both sides of the US/Mexico border? Our programming seeks to address these and other questions through real-world examples as it brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts on the cultures, histories, and societies of global populations that migrate and journey through and to various receiving communities, transforming them in the process.

Our workshops draw on the area studies expertise of faculty and staff at SDSU and U-M, as well as at partner institutions in Tijuana to teach about global migration flows and the many people who migrate through or to Tijuana from various locations around the world, while expanding understandings of how to teach area studies itself. We provide content through lectures, interactive panels, workshops, and experiential components on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border.

The pilot GMIP workshop (January 26-29, 2022) brought Michigan and California K-12 principals, curriculum coaches, and teachers to San Diego and Tijuana to participate in an array of interdisciplinary experiential, didactic, and reflective sessions. We are accepting applications for the Summer 2022 workshop to be held from August 8-10, 2022. To apply and participate, please refer to the Workshops for Educators tab below.

U-M’s area studies centers have strong, deep relationships with social science, history, foreign language and ESL teachers in the Ann Arbor Public School district as well as with some from other local districts and community college faculty. In recent years, many of these Michigan K-12 teachers and community college faculty have expressed an urgent need to be better able to integrate students of extremely diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds into Michigan life, and to respond to students’ own awareness of migration to Michigan. We seek to prepare teachers to understand global migration flows, well-established and newly-established diasporas, and implications for the future in order to create area and global studies curriculum that is important to US teachers and students.

SDSU has a strong presence in K-12 education and among migrant and refugee populations in the border region. The College of Education (CoE) assumed oversight of Herbert Hoover High School in 1998 as part of the City Heights Educational Initiative. Under the guidance of the CoE of SDSU, the high school was able to meet its California state accountability target in 2000, the first time it had done so in more than 15 years. SDSU remains an active collaborator and sponsors the SDSU Talent Search program. The Program, funded by the U. S. Dept. of Education, encourages and assists middle and high school students to pursue post-secondary educational programs. SDSU produces the greatest number of teachers in the region including many local, state, and national teachers of the year, as well as several school district superintendents and community college presidents. In addition, SDSU has produced the most diverse array of counselors, therapists, and school psychologists of any university in the nation. The teacher education program is renowned for its focus on special education, bilingual education, math and science. Participation in this program will round out these areas of specialization by providing much needed professional learning opportunities on area studies and in creating opportunities to understand the diversity of the border region as reflective of global migration patterns. 

Through the professional networks of the staff and faculty at both institutions, SDSU’s Center for Latin American Studies and U-M’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies have collaborated on outreach programming since 2017. With the partnership of SDSU’s College of Education, International Affairs, and Center for Equity & Biliteracy Education Research (CEBER), and the affiliation of UM's Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and San Diego County Office of Education the Global Migration Education Initiative is the formalization of our strong partnership and commitment to creating innovative learning opportunities for educators at multiple levels. 

Alana Rodriguez

Alana Rodriguez is the Associate Director for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan. She joined the University of Michigan in January 2017, bringing administrative and area studies experience from her previous position as the Administrative Coordinator of the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State University (SDSU). She received an M.A. in Latin American Studies and an M.P.H. in Epidemiology from SDSU. Her research interests focus on Cuban reproductive health care policy and practice. Her thesis research was compiled over two summers in Havana, Cuba and explored  declining fertility rates in Cuba and in particular the impact of Cuba’s socialist policies on reproductive choice and family planning. She received a B.A. in International Business at San Diego State University and a Licenciatura en Negocios Internacionales from Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara.

Victoria Langland

Victoria Langland holds a joint position in History and Romance Languages and Literatures and is currently serving as the Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Brazil Initiative at the University of Michigan.  She specializes in twentieth-century Latin American history, especially Brazil and the Southern Cone, and writes about gender, dictatorship, the uses of memory, student and other social movements, and, more generally, the intersections of culture and power. She is the author of Speaking of Flowers: Student Movements and the Making and Remembering of 1968 in Military Brazil (Duke University Press, 2013) and the co-editor of The Brazil Reader: History, Culture, Politics, 2nd edition, (Duke University Press, 2019), and Monumentos, Memoriales y Marcas Territoriales (Siglo XXI, 2003). Langland's current research project is a history of breastfeeding in Brazil that looks at how cultural understandings, public policies, formula marketing and other factors have transformed popular beliefs and practices about infant nutrition and women’s bodies over time.  Before coming to the University of Michigan, she was on the faculty at the University of California, Davis and at Lafayette College.

Dr. Ramona Perez

Ramona L. Pérez is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State University. She also is graduate faculty in the joint doctoral program in Global Health and for the Department of Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on food, nutrition, and health among marginalized populations; adolescent and youth identity and empowerment among transnational, Mexican and Central American migrant youth; gendered and ethnic marginalization and the state; rural to urban community growth; the political economy of tourism in Oaxaca; and the gendered and moral nature of community economies in Mexico. Her current work spans the US/Mexico border, southern Mexico, Nicaragua, and Brazil. She conducts a summer qualitative research field school, directs internship opportunities for graduate students in the border region and throughout Latin America, and coordinates the Mixtec and Zapotec language programs at SDSU.  A few of her recent publications include: If you don’t use chiles from Oaxaca is it still Mole Negro? Shifts in Traditional Practices, Techniques and Ingredients of Cuisine Among Oaxacan Migrants (2015), TecnoEstética Translocal y Alimento en MexAmérica (Translocal Technoaesthetics and Food in MexAmerica) 2014; Crossing the Border From Boyhood to Manhood: Male Youth Experiences of Crossing, Loss, and Structural Violence as Unaccompanied Minors (2012); Good and Bad Death: Perspectives of Mexican American Older Adults [with E. Ko] (2012); Navigating the Slipstream of Changing Food Environments: Transnational Perspectives on Dietary Behaviors and Implications for Nutrition Counseling” [with M. Handley] (2012); and Savoring the Taste of Home: The pervasiveness of lead poisoning from ceramic and its implications in transnational care packages (2010). She received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Riverside in 1997.

Dr. Cristina Alfaro

Cristina Alfaro was a professor in the College of Education at San Diego State University (SDSU). She now serves as Associate Vice President for International Affairs at SDSU. She earned her doctorate degree, in Teacher Preparation for Multilingual Learners, from the Claremont and San Diego State University joint graduate program. Dr. Alfaro taught credential and graduate level courses where her work focuses on preparing teachers in the area of English language and Biliteracy development with a global perspective. She has two decades of experience in directing both local and international teacher education programs in California, Mexico, and Europe. Dr. Alfaro is the recipient of the College of Education 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award. Her background as an elementary biliteracy teacher in ethno and linguistically diverse communities, served her well in preparing teachers to teach students how to critically read the word and the world.

Edras Rodriguez-Torres

Edras Rodríguez-Torres is a member of the International Studies team in the Hatcher Graduate Library and a liaison to the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan. He supports the research, teaching, and learning in the area of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. This includes teaching research methods, providing research consultations, and managing the library's Latin American and Caribbean Studies Collection. His research interests include oral history and community archiving. 


Alex Fox

Alexandra Fox recently graduated from the Master of Public Health in Environmental Health and the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies program at San Diego State University. Her thesis research focused on assessing bacterial contamination in the U.S. Tijuana River and the Tijuana River Estuary. She received a B.S. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California, Davis in 2016. She has previous work experience in the Office of International Affairs at SDSU, responsible for the annual binational RE:BORDER Conference with over 1200 attendees. She was hired in May 2021 by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan to serve as the U-M/SDSU Outreach Collaboration Program Manager. 


Mordechay, K. & Alfaro , C. (2019). The Binational Context of the Students We Share: What Do Educators on Both Sides of the Border Need to Know? Kappa Delta Pi Record 55:1, 30-35, DOI: 10.1080/00228958.2019.1549438

Global Migration Education Initiative online resource guide coming soon!

Alfaro, C., Hernandez, S., Maldonado, S.I., Hopkins, M., & Forbes, C. (2019). Formadores de docentes binacionales y bilingües: A focused teacher preparation program for students we share. California Department of Education. Report Here

 In development!

The Global Migration and Inclusive Pedagogy (GMIP) Workshop is open to K-12 and Community College educators and school administrators from Michigan and California. Our workshops are binational and require crossing the US-Mexico border at the San Diego-Tijuana artery on foot. We offer a program over three days that includes experiential learning opportunities alongside educators in the San Diego and Baja California regions, seminars and panels with distinguished scholars of migration and border studies, curriculum development workshops, and more. At the end of our workshops, educators will better understand global migration flows and will be better equipped with inclusive strategies for teaching such content in increasingly diverse classrooms. 

SUMMER 2022 GMIP WORKSHOP: August 8-10, 2022 in San Diego, California and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
Participants from outside of San Diego County are encouraged to reserve August 7 and 11 for travel.

Costs covered by GMEI: The University of Michigan’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and the International Institute cover the costs of economy-class travel to San Diego, California; four (4) nights at a hotel in San Diego; ground transportation to Tijuana, Mexico and all other program sites; most meals and nonalcoholic beverages; books and learning materials; one (1) year access to the University of Michigan Library; and a modest stipend for curriculum development efforts.
Most of these expenses are pre-paid and organized by the University of Michigan. Participants may be required to pay for some expenses out of pocket and submit receipts for reimbursement (due to University policy).

Costs covered by participants: Meal and beverage expenses in excess of federal allowances; optional alcoholic beverages; souvenirs; airfare or other transportation upgrades; any expenses not explicitly listed above.

Eligibility: Participants must be actively employed as an educator in a K-12 or community college setting in Michigan or California. Educators from public and private schools are eligible. Educators must have at least one year’s experience teaching and intend to teach during the 2022-2023 academic year. Educators must teach a subject in which global migration content can be incorporated and must commit to incorporating this content over the 2022-2023 academic year. A report on the results of this activity will be required.

Application process: The 2022 workshop is now full! Please email Alana Rodriguez at [email protected] for more information.

Global Migration and Inclusive Pedagogy Pilot Workshop: January 26-29, 2022

The Pilot Global Migration and Inclusive Pedagogy (GMIP) workshop took place from January 26 to January 29, 2022 in San Diego, CA and Tijuana, BC. K-12 teachers, curriculum coaches, and principals from Lakeshore Highschool (MI), Cesar Chavez Academy (MI) and the Rio School District (CA) attended this multi-day binational workshop to discuss opportunities  for incorporating themes of global migration and comparative border studies into their curriculum and to develop inclusive strategies for teaching in increasingly diverse US classrooms.



January 26, 2022: Arrival to San Diego, California

  • Welcome Session at the Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel Old Town
    • Opening Remarks: Cristina Alfaro, Alana Rodriguez
    • Tijuana: The Kaleidoscope of Cultures: Ramona Perez
    • The Students We Share in the Californias: Yara Amparo Lopez-Lopez
  • Group Welcome Dinner in Old Town, San Diego

January 27, 2022

  • Visit to the Global Academy of California in National City, California. Presentations by Principal Roberto Carrillo and Curriculum Coordinator Sonja Munévar Gagnon
  • Excursion to Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
    • Stop 1: Mexican Customs and Immigration. Cross border on foot.
    • Stop 2: Refugee Camp “El Chaparral”
    • Stop 3: Playas de Tijuana. Presentation: Friendship Park and the Border Wall by Jill Holslin
    • Stop 4: Cafe Pangea on Avenida Revolución. Presentation “Global Migration and its Impact on Tijuana” by Victor Clark-Alfaro
    • Stop 5: Group Dinner at Caesar’s Restaurante
    • Stop 6: US Customs and Immigration. Cross border on foot.

January 28, 2022 

  • GMEI Conference at San Diego State University Campus
    • Binational Teacher Educators Network: Toward a Critical Transborder Pedagogy by Cristina Alfaro and Javier Gonzalez (in Spanish)
    • Addressing the Social-Emotional, Academic, and Linguistic Needs of Newcomers by Silvia Dorta-Duque de Reyes (in English)
    • Haitian Diaspora in Tijuana: A Brief Overview as Experienced Through Ethnographic Fieldwork by Anabel Gutierrez
    • Global Migration Lesson Planning and U-M Library Resources: Edras Rodriguez-Torres
    • Feedback and Future Directions Workshop: Sera Hernandez
Welcome Session

Welcome Session at the Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel Old Town in San Diego, CA

Visit to Binational School

Visit to the Global Academy of California in National City, California.

Presentation at Border Wall

Playas de Tijuana. Presentation: Friendship Park and the Border Wall by Jill Holslin

Final Workshop Session

Feedback and Future Directions Workshop: Sera Hernandez (left). 


Thanks to our partners and affiliates for making this pilot possible:

  • Olympia Kyriakidis, Senior Director, Multilingual Education and Global Achievement, SDCOE
  • Jorge Cuevas Antillón, District Adviser, Curriculum and Instruction of Dual Language and English Learners, SDCOE
  • Roberto Carrillo, Principal, Global Academy of California
  • Tracy Thompson, Executive Director, San Diego County Office of Education’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools
  • Sonja Munévar Gagnon, English Learner Coordinator, MEGA (Multilingual Education & Global Achievement) Department, San Diego County Office of Education
  • Javier Gonzalez Monroe, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional de Tijuana, Baja, CA
  • Yara Amparo Lopez-Lopez, Coordinator, Secretaria de Educación Pública, Binational Migrant Education, Tijuana, Baja, CA
  • Rocio Barajas Escamilla, Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Baja, CA
  • Ramona Pérez, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, SDSU
  • Margarita Machado-Casas, Chair & Professor of the Dual Language and English Learner Education, SDSU 
  • Sera Hernandez, Assistant Professor, Dual Language and English Learner Education, SDSU
  • Saul Maldonado, Assistant Professor, Dual Language and English Learner Education, SDSU
  • Lysandra Perez, Ph.D. Student, SDSU/CGU Joint Doctoral Program in Education
  • Alexandra Fox, Program Coordinator, International Affairs, SDSU
  • Lia Wesson, Administrative Coordinator, Center for Latin American Studies, SDSU

From our K-12 Educators: 

In late January 2022 I participated in the GMEI “Global Migration and Inclusive Pedagogy Pilot Workshop” in San Diego. This three-day workshop enriched my understanding of the complexities associated with the San Diego-Tijuana artery, a well-worn pathway that involves the fluid flow of laborers, students, and consumers. Throughout the workshop we met with scholars whose research spotlights the economic, cultural, and political ramifications of fortified international borders. These invaluable conversations with academic experts and community leaders, however, took on new meaning following the experiential component of the workshop. On the second day of the pilot program participants crossed the US-Mexico border on foot, walking alongside migrants, passing through security checkpoints, and trodding under the shadow of the closely-guarded and highly controversial US border wall. We subsequently gathered together at the “El Chaparral” refugee camp, a site that is a temporary home to 500+ migrants. This visit further personalized the details of human migration. We engaged in direct conversation with the individuals who fled their homes and traversed dangerous terrain with the hope of securing refuge in the United States. Speaking candidly, I was ill-prepared for the distressing sight of a makeshift camp composed of plastic tarps and cardboard boxes. The flood of children who exited the camp to greet us nearly broke me emotionally. This is not my first time visiting a refugee camp, but it was my first time seeing such desperation at my nation’s doorstep. This experience interacting with migrant children, paired with our visit to the section of border wall within Friendship Park in Tijuana, offered me penetrating insights into the content I teach in my US and World History courses. For years I’ve discussed with students the history of the US-Mexico border, the flow of migrants along this boundary, and the controversy surrounding the construction of a border wall. However, my instruction lacked the insight and the emotional experience the GMEI workshop afforded me. Now I’m in a better position to challenge the students to push past the superficial details, move beyond sterile statistics, and dig deeper to reveal the stories of migrants closely associated with the ongoing crisis.  in my 20+ years of teaching and my active participation in various university fellowships, overseas study tours, and conferences/workshops, I have never encountered a program that more effectively equips teachers with the resources, experiences, and knowledge they need to meet the demands of our increasingly diverse population of students. Furthermore, the team of experts GMEI has assembled possesses a wealth of wisdom and lived experiences; they are particularly well-qualified  to help educators appreciate the extent to which patterns of migration in one region compare/contrast with the flow of refugees in other locations around the world. As a veteran teacher with a student audience that includes the children of migrant workers, I now have more insight into some of the economic, political, and cultural realities that are immediately relevant to my student population. Additionally, as a World History and US History teacher, I am better positioned to help students conduct comparative analyses of international borders, patterns of human migration, and the laws and fortified barriers that restrict human mobility.

The workshops I attended were delivered by subject matter experts who possess deep knowledge and who are vested to keep on digging deeper, understand root causal issues and co-construct a supporting framework that would ultimately benefit the lives of children. The presentations were perfect! I loved that these were very inclusive of attendees since the presentations included 1) collaboration, 2) communication, 3) critical thinking, and of course 4) sharing of the attendees thoughts. We as attendees bring our own experiences and those are assets that will lead to the development and improvement of this work!

I loved hearing the history behind the border wall and friendship park. Seeing and physically touching the wall that divides two nations and many families really puts things in perspective. I was enthralled by Professor Victor. He was very knowledgeable and shared many perspectives that did not come to mind right away. Each presenter knew what they were talking about and each one had a personal connection to our focus. I also liked the diversity in the attendees not just position-wise, but the variety in grade levels. It brought different perspectives to the many topics we discussed.  Our visit to Tijuana really cemented the reality many of our students experience and the struggles they may face each and every day. We were provided good resources to use as we see fit in our classrooms/schools. I think the lesson plans can be adjusted to our grade level and our students. I loved the workshop and have been talking about it nonstop to all of my colleagues. 

From the Project Director:

  • Cristina Alfaro, Associate Vice President of International Affairs, Professor of Multilingual and Global Education, San Diego State University; Director, Global Migration Education Initiative

At San Diego State University (SDSU) we take pride in our long history of extending professional learning opportunities for educators and academic administrators whose impact can only be amplified when they gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and linguistic diversity within our CaliBaja border region. Collaborating with the University of Michigan to see the Global Migration and Education Initiative (GMEI) first pilot come to life not only continues this tradition but has enriched SDSU’s community of educators as well. 

As the director and participant in the first pilot workshop in San Diego, I am thrilled to look back on the experience as a foundation for greater collaboration to prepare our shared educators, today and tomorrow. The workshop went beyond offering a learning opportunity. It facilitated critical reflection, conversations, and relationships that will certainly bear fruit for years to come. I look forward to the future of this initiative and SDSU’s continued collaboration with the University of Michigan. 

Alana Rodriguez, Associate Director for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan
[email protected] 

Alexandra Fox, U-M/SDSU Outreach Collaboration Program Manager
[email protected]