Wo International Center

Distinction in Global Education

The Distinction in Global Education is granted to Punahou Academy students who demonstrate focused study, passion, and mastery in global education.

Beginning early in the Academy, students should begin work on global competency requirements. The Distinction process is a valuable opportunity that recognizes outstanding achievements in global knowledge, skills, and dispositions, while receiving a high level of mentorship from Wo International Center directors.


Students may indicate interest in a Centers Distinction at any time, though it is advised to begin thinking about the competencies and required evidence early during the Academy experience. Progress toward the Distinction will be monitored, reviewed, and awarded by Center Directors upon completion of requirements.

Portfolio Requirements


Final portfolio will require at least three pieces of evidence demonstrating growth toward each competency.

List of 2 items.

  • Empathize

    Students can make decisions based on the appropriate cultural framework to show respect and care for people and communities.

    • I gather knowledge about place and culture.
    • I incorporate my understanding of the culture of a place as I weigh decisions and take action.
    • I seek feedback on the cultural appropriateness of my actions.
    Students can respond to a true need in a community and take impactful action.
    • I investigate the needs and concerns of a community.
    • I engage with the perspectives of community members to understand context and complexity.
    • I co-design an action plan with the community.
  • Engage with a Global Perspective 

    Students can evaluate possible solutions using environmental, political, economic, cultural, and ethical lenses when addressing complex global issues.

    • I explain patterns of behavior, systemic structures, and prevalent ways of thinking underlying a particular global issue.
    • I generate solutions that address the complexities and diverse influences in a global system.
    • I evaluate solutions to global issues based on how well they address the root causes to achieve lasting impact.
    Students can develop a personal connection to the culture of a place by building relationships.

    • I adjust my communication style and/or language to interact within a host culture.
    • I seek opportunities to experience customs, traditions, and social norms in cultures unlike my own.
    • I recognize the impact that beliefs, traditions, and social norms have on members of a cultural system.

Providing Evidence for Competency

The following list is a road map for how students would gather sufficient evidence for the Distinction. Students may, however, discuss and plan for an alternative road map with Center Directors.

All distinction candidates must provide the following evidence

  • At least four years of language (can be three years of a single language and one year of a new language)
  • Complete and reflect on the Intercultural Development Inventory Assessment
  • Complete one requirement from Category A, two from Category B, and one from Category C

List of 3 items.

  • Category A

    (One required. May combine multiple from this category to fulfill Category B)
    *Note: Distinction candidates may receive special funding options

  • Category B

    (Two required. May combine multiple from this category to fulfill Category C)
    • Significant participation in a club or organization aligned to the global competence framework – ex. MUN, Sustainable Living, Seeds for Peace, etc.
    • Collaborative work on a project with a student from another school – either local or global, but must be in a significantly different context than Punahou. 
    • Work with Wo Directors to promote and support global experiences on campus
    • Outbound travel program*
    • Teacher Assistant in the language program
    • English Learning Buddy or equivalent
    • Global Online Academy course
    • Design or lead a globally oriented or citizenship-based G-term or Exploration course
    • Multi-week online global conference  
    • Grade 11 GSD: Race and the American Experience
    • Global or citizenship-based internship
    • Other student initiated approved opportunities 
    *Note: Distinction candidates may receive special funding options

  • Category C

    (One required)
    • Hiroshima Peace Scholar
    • Wo Sponsored Conference (ex. SGLI, Water is Life, World Quest, CIF)
    • The Experimental Digital or another multi-week global program
    • Ke Kilohana/Capstone service topic that is relevant to the Center and the Distinction competencies.
    • School Year Abroad (SYA) ** SYA can also take the place of other required categories
    • Other student initiated approved opportunities 

Past Distinction Recipients

The Distinction in Global Education process launches in 2021 – 2022.