What is Global Competence?

Essential Skills for Navigating a Complex World

Preparing Kids Today with What They Need Tomorrow

Global competence refers to the skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to thrive in an ever-changing and complex world. It’s a transformative lens through which we can reimagine our education system and ensure that every student is future-ready.

Global competence provides an organizing framework encompassing critical areas of our K-12 education system – STEM, social-emotional learning (SEL), diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ), project-based learning (PBL), civics, and career and technical education (CTE). By nurturing these skills, we prepare students to be engaged local and global citizens, life-long learners, creative problem solvers, effective communicators across diverse cultures, and comfortable with ambiguity and change.

Why Global Competence?

Globally competent individuals are...


We live in a world that is saturated with information. Deciding what young people need to “know” is no longer paramount - they can know everything by using the device in their hand. To navigate this reality, they need to learn how to think about the information before them and ask the questions that lead to deeper understanding.


By every measure we are more diverse and more interconnected than ever before. To thrive in this environment, everyone needs to be prepared to interact, build community, and learn with and from people who have varied identities and lived experiences.


With new technologies and challenges arising almost daily, we need people who can adapt and find comfort with ambiguity and change.


Our communities, locally and globally, are facing unprecedented challenges, and we need a generation of young people who possess the skills and the will to take informed and collective action on issues of global significance.


The Importance of Global Competence in Education

Traditional education models prioritize content over competencies, limiting students’ opportunities to develop essential skills and understanding. As the world continues evolving at an unprecedented pace, we must reimagine a K-12 education system that prepares all students to thrive. Global Competence is at the core of World Savvy’s mission to nurture essential skills such as resilience, creativity, critical thinking, empathy, adaptability, and effective communication skills. World Savvy helps schools and districts deeply embed global competence into teaching, learning, and culture in order to prepare students to navigate an increasingly diverse world, equip them for careers yet to be invented, and foster the ability to solve problems we may not even recognize today.

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World Savvy’s Role

World Savvy works to reimagine K-12 education to create a system that’s more inclusive, equitable, and future-ready - one where we are graduating young people who have the essential skills they need to find success in both community and career. With individualized support and helpful frameworks, our impactful programs empower educators and school leaders to embed global competence into teaching, learning, and culture.


The Global Competence Matrix

World Savvy's Global Competence Matrix was created in partnership with scholars at Columbia Teachers College and the Asia Society. This document outlines the skills and dispositions that all people need to navigate and thrive in a diverse, complex, and interconnected world. It serves as a destination and a road map - defining both where we want to go and how we can get there. Inside schools and classrooms, it is the basis for classroom norms, provides guidance when developing learning experiences, and centers conversations and feedback on the kind of young people schools want and need to graduate. The Matrix supports educators to embed global competence into teaching, learning, and school culture by identifying clear actions and behaviors that can be practiced and developed with intention and focus.


Core Concepts

Building global competence is an ongoing journey, not a destination. It is a dynamic, evolving process that individuals engage in throughout their lives. These core concepts frame our understanding and assumptions of the world:

We are Connected:

World events and global issues are complex and interdependent.

Our Stories Matter:

One's culture and history are key to understanding one's relationship with others.

The World is Complex:

Multiple conditions fundamentally affect diverse global forces, events, conditions, and issues.

History Shapes Our Present:

The current world system is shaped by historical forces.

Not only do these foundational ideas anchor global competence, they illustrate the urgency of educating youth for today's complex, interconnected, and fast changing world. World Savvy empowers educators to integrate global competence, transforming their classrooms and preparing students to thrive.



Globally competent individuals take responsible action in diverse contexts and commit to lifelong learning and adaptability.

  • Seek out and apply an understanding of different perspectives to problem solving and decision making
  • Form opinions based on exploration and evidence
  • Commit to the process of continuous learning and reflection
  • Adopt shared responsibility and take cooperative action
  • Share knowledge and encourage discourse
  • Translate ideas, concerns, and findings into appropriate and responsible individual or collaborative actions to improve conditions
  • Approach thinking and problem solving collaboratively


Globally competent individuals possess critical and comparative thinking abilities, problem-solving and collaboration skills, and can effectively communicate across cultures.

  • Investigate the world by framing questions, analyzing and synthesizing relevant evidence, and drawing reasonable conclusions that lead to further inquiry
  • Recognize, articulate, and apply an understanding of different perspectives (including their own)
  • Select and apply appropriate tools and strategies to communicate and collaborate effectively
  • Listen actively and engage in inclusive dialogue
  • Are fluent in 21st century digital technology
  • Demonstrate resiliency in new situations
  • Apply critical, comparative, and creative thinking and problem solving

Values & Attitudes

Globally competent individuals demonstrate empathy and appreciate cultural differences.

  • Embrace new opportunities, ideas and ways of thinking
  • Engage willingly and openly with others
  • Demonstrate self-awareness about identity and culture, and sensitivity and respect for differences
  • Value multiple perspectives
  • Find comfort with ambiguity and unfamiliar situations
  • Reflect on the context and meaning of our lives in relationship to something bigger
  • Question prevailing assumptions
  • Adapt to new situations and are cognitively nimble
  • Choose empathy
  • Demonstrate humility

The Global Competence Matrix is used to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of our work.

Download the Matrix

If you are looking for a translated version of the matrix, please select one of the options: Spanish, Korean.

Our Work

World Savvy offers two unique programs designed to support the development of global competence in educators and students. These programs provide resources, training, and support for educators and students to incorporate global competence into their teaching and learning.

Comprehensive School Partnerships

The Comprehensive School Partnership is a multi-year journey that combines engaging resources and dynamic professional learning with the 1:1 coaching needed to embed global competence into teaching, learning, and school culture.

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District Partnerships

Our district partnerships support leaders to think about the systems and practices that can support global competence throughout a district through leadership cohorts, graduate profile development, and global competence readiness assessments.

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The World Savvy Difference.


"Perhaps most important is the ways in which World Savvy has supported our Cohort's development of global competencies; as leaders, we are encouraged to do the deep work of sorting out where we are, where we would like to be, and how we can best get there. If you are looking for an organization to facilitate leadership work in your district or school around creating inclusive, adaptive, and future-ready classrooms, I highly recommend World Savvy."

- Camilla Modesitt, Administrator
Denver Public Schools


All schools should be an extension of the communities they serve

Take the next step and imagine what a Comprehensive School Partnership could look like in your district.

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