Brian Ossmann discusses GIN and his path to Singapore

History Teacher at Stamford American International School (SAIS), Singapore. Coordinator of the 2015 Middle School Global Issues Network Conference.

Where are you from? Where have you lived? How long have you been in Singapore?

I’m originally from Minnnesota in the United States, or, as many of my good Canadian friends like to say, the “southern province.” I’ve always had the desire to travel. It was instilled in me by my parents a long time ago and these experiences have become big highlights in my life. Through this I realized that I wanted to be an International School Teacher. It ensured that I would be able to continue to do these things. I’ve lived in Chile (with my sister and where I met my future wife, Lorna), then in the Middle East, in Doha, Qatar and have now been here at Stamford in Singapore for four years.

Tell us about Stamford American International School (SAIS). How many students? Recent renovations? Future plans?

Stamford is about six years old. Over this time we’ve had massive changes. It’s now a world-class institution for higher learning. Although it only enrolls elementary through high school students, it is set up like a university campus. We have over 2,000 students and are expecting to be full, at about 3,000, within the next year or so. Our renovations have been completed over the past two years and our new campus is equipped with all the best state-of-the-art education technology and facilities. We’re really excited about it.

At the end of January, you took a group of SAIS students to Cebu, Philippines to experience some of Pandoo Foundation’s fieldwork first-hand. Overall, do you think the students enjoyed the trip? What do you think they got out of it? Does any specific piece of the trip stand out to you as particularly memorable?

Yes, every aspect of it. We’ve been corresponding with Pandoo now for a while in hopes of using it as a way to entice students to participate in service. The students loved their trip. They prepared in advance by preparing lessons and a fundraising exercise. They got more out of the trip than they ever expected. Seeing the dumpsite was a very powerful experience. It allowed them to recognize different areas in which they could reach out and be of service. They really connected with the humanity and developed a better understanding of these people. It had a very strong visceral effect and I think it got them thinking about how they can be more entrepreneurial with their ideas.

Tell us about the Global Issues Network (GIN) Conference and why it’s such an exciting event.

We are the host of the third annual middle school Global Issues Network Conference and we are terribly exited about it. Global Issues Network is an affiliated group of schools who run programs within their school as classes or clubs where students who are interested in social causes can get together and organize different opportunities to address them. It’s also exciting because Southeast Asia is one of the few places to be hosting middle school orientated conferences. These students are often so full of energy and this allows us to help prepare them for the even larger high school GIN events.

What kind of impact do you think exposure to Pandoo Foundation (and Pandoo Nation) can potentially have on the students of SAIS in the future?

Wow, this is a very loaded question. I know that we have already connected so well with not only the game, but also the service that’s behind it – Pandoo Foundation. We’ve really worked and tried to focus our plans and ideas into long-term thinking. The students who participate in Pandoo activities in younger grades can then contribute in a different way when they get older. Create their own NGO, for example. These are the types of change makers that we want to create. We really value our partnership with Pandoo Foundation.

BONUS QUESTION: Who is your, “Global Citizen Crush?”

Hmmm… maybe Kevin Costner. Or Bono. They are just very humble about the power they’ve been given and what that celebrity platform allows them to do.