Statement on the Future of Education

For the UNESCO Chair on Global Education at the Institute for Strategy of Education Development of the Russian Academy of Education

I’ve come to a realization. Effective education is simply, and exactly, this:

To encourage and inspire people to communicate well; and through this process, enable them to develop their inner selves and their potential as it relates to both their success and that of their communities.

What we learn is not inconsequential, but to presume we can teach someone, anyone, to be good at anything in particular, is, I believe, misguided. People take themselves on those journeys and end up in places that are entirely of their own discovery, making, and determination. We can guide, suggest. Put coals on fire, and stoke it; but the direction the flames take, should there even be any, has nothing at all to do with us. We can stand by, watch, and, perhaps, become inspired ourselves by witnessing the potential people have within themselves. Our role, as teachers, is quite straightforward: to stoke the inspiration that will take people on journeys of their own determination.

This realization rests at the core of this, my little exploration into the future of education. It’s a simple idea, not reliant on technologies or trends or modes of pedagogical thought that are, on many occasions, flavours of the day. Indeed, it’s an idea that I believe has never changed. While the tools, science, social systems, modes of thought, and resources that surround us today most certainly have evolved, we are ultimately the same vulnerable, sentient beings that have existed for millennia. We share the same capacities, strengths, limitations, needs, desires, hopes, and dreams as our distant ancestors who learned to control fire itself (something, incidentally, we’ve yet to perfect). We learn what is relevant and necessary for survival determined by the environments within which we live. Beyond that, we learn best those things that catch our interest and inspire us to delve more deeply. We learn best in an effort to define who we are, to ourselves, to others, in ways we hope to be perceived, and in ways we yearn to be able to interact within our communities.

The future of education, I believe, is no different than the past of education. While trends in education will continue to come and go, trends are derivatives of a whole; they tend to be particular aspects, qualities, approaches, activities, and philosophies elevated to lofty cultish heights. The truth is, when separated and formalized into “new approaches to learning,” they lose both essence and effectiveness. Without delving too much into current trends and directions in educational thought, theory, and application, safe it to say that much emphasis is currently placed on the notion that our level of technological prowess enables approaches to learning that are somehow superior to “traditional approaches.” Here, and pointedly, I disagree. First, the notion of a traditional approach to education is a vague one that tends to fall apart with closer inspection. And second, while our current state of technological prowess enables us so much further than humans have ever been enabled in the past, those technologies are not capable in themselves to improve how and why we learn.

So, what, in my mind, is the future of education. This is where I return to my opening words. The future of effective education lies in what effective education has always been: “To encourage and inspire people to communicate well; and through this process, enable them to develop their inner selves and their potential as it relates to both their success and that of their communities.

How do we proceed? We forge communities of learning, something that has always been core to effective learning. We create reasons for people to be together that hinge on shared challenges. While our social and environmental surroundings define basic levels of understanding that we share and require to participate and survive within them, we then and together discover how each of us carries some particular solution to the larger questions we face as a whole. There is a place for learning skills we apply in unison. And there is a place for our individual strengths to benefit those communal needs. While society requires us to work in teams, in synchrony, according to requirements that apply equally to each of us, it also gains from individual understandings and approaches that can and do improve the ability of the community to improve how it behaves as a whole.

We all must learn to read, write, sing, count, and strategize. Beyond that, we all should be enabled by and engaged in the breadth and depth of the tools and capabilities now available to us: incredible technologies, fantastic mobility, and seemingly instantaneous access to information, anywhere, and anytime. Human society has changed dramatically in the preceding three decades. We live in a world that I believe is experiencing a schism of a magnitude never before seen. On one side we have the political orders, isolated communities corralled by power structures and defined by invisible and arbitrary boundaries determined (more than we’d like to admit) through oppression within and beyond those boundaries. On the other side we have an entire world of people all sharing the same needs, hopes, desires, and goals: to live, love, succeed, survive, and to feel included in community.

As a direct consequence of our incredible technologies, fantastic mobility, and seemingly instantaneous access to information, traditional borders are rendered meaningless. Power structures of the past should remain there. I have spent my professional career in education, and in particular international education. And through my three decades in this field, I have concluded this: technology has brought together people from around the world in different locations for different purposes and to accomplish goals that are relevant to all of us. Each of us today belongs to social circles where colleagues, mentors, friends, teachers, mothers, fathers, relatives, brothers and sisters were, only a half century ago, bifurcated as allies or enemies. For the most part, we were led to believe that “they” were not “us.” The fact is, what we have discovered in recent decades, is, indeed, exactly the opposite. The past 30 years has provided all of us an emancipation of thought and being that changes everything… except for how we learn. That remains the same, and rests at the core of our future together.

Our incredible technologies, fantastic mobility, and seemingly instantaneous access to information will only improve, and dramatically so. As a global society we will continue to use those tools and technologies to bring us closer together in greater diversity to face challenges of survival and social improvement that will benefit all of us. We will continue to require education in fundamental skills and awareness. At the same time, the opportunities available to each of us as a consequence of our own unique talents and dispositions will increase exponentially as well, and as a direct result of the exponential increase in the kinds of communities we are now capable of creating.

Greg Culos,

Tokyo, June 7, 2019

Message from the President-日本語

Cross Educationへようこそ! ウェブサイトを通して、私たちについて、私たちの取り組みについて、 ぜひ知っていただけたらと思います。


Cross Educationは1つのシンプルなアイディアから生まれました。世界中の私たちが自分の能力を引き出し、物事の実行能力を高め、影響を与えるような存在になる事ができるのは、共通の環境のもとで共通の目的に向かって共に学ぶ時である、という考えです。Crossではこのような学びを通して、世界に良い影響を与える能力を高めていきます。私たちが一緒になって学ぶ時、固定観念や教育の境界線を超えて、包括的でオープンな場・機会・空間を作り出すことができるのです。

私たちはみな、 社会的、地理的、言語的、そして文化的に大きく異なる背景を持っています。ですが出身地に関わらず、人間としての基本的要素は同じだと私たちは考えています。この世に生を受け、日々を過ごし、物事を成し遂げるため努力し、他人からの慰めを求め、この世を去る時には自分の人生と行動が、何らかの形で世界に良い影響を与えることを願っているのです。




昭和女子大学: 世界の中心で

Crossプログラムの目玉でもあるサマーアカデミーは、都心に位置する昭和女子大学で行われる毎年恒例の夏のイベントです。 世界的人気を誇る都内のホットなエリアからもほんの数分という便利な立地で、日本の文化豊かな景観に囲まれて行われるこのプログラムは、非常に国際色豊かな教育施設を拠点としています。とはいえ多様性がCross最大の特徴である通り、その拠点は昭和女子大学のキャンパスにとどまらず、多様な施設を有しています。東京郊外の生態系と農園の中心地、奥多摩の全施設完備の学校施設、日本アルプスの麓、そして岩手県と群馬県にも施設を有しています。2019年には、日本そして世界から集まる生徒の皆さんに様々な学びの体験をお届けすることを楽しみにしています!




Cross Education、日本

Message from the President

Welcome to our website!

We’re excited you have discovered Cross, and we welcome and encourage you to explore our pages and learn about who we are and what we do.

Common Ground & Common Purpose

Cross Education was born from a simple idea: when we learn together, on common ground, with common purpose, we, people from around the world, become more versatile, more effective, and more impactful. In doing so, we increase our capacity to make the world a better place for everyone. When we learn together we remove the traditional biases and boundaries of education, and create a platform of inclusivity and open-mindedness where all of us share and benefit from what we all share equally: the human experience.

At Cross we believe that no matter where we are from, and indeed we are all from often very different social, geographical, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds, the essential things that make us human are equal. We are born, we live, we strive to accomplish, we seek the company and comfort of others, and when we are gone, we hope that our lives and actions impacted the world, somehow, positively.

Discovering Ourselves Discovering the World

We believe in encouraging people to discover themselves, their potential, their strengths and weaknesses, and their capacities. We facilitate the ability for people to explore the world, it’s vast diversity, its beauty and potential. We celebrate problems, questions, and challenges in life, and through exercises in learning and effective community building, look for solutions to them. We seek ways to help people grow confidence in the abilities and capacities they discover within themselves, and learn to use them together and in combination with those of others.

Our Academy and Camp programs for youth are deeply rooted in these ideas. Our philosophy of education is manifested through applied learning experiences that include learning in communication (in Japanese & English), technology, society, culture, the arts, media, engineering, performance, sport, and much more. At the core of our approach is, indeed, diversity: diversity of people, of places, of ideas, of activities, and of challenges.

Showa Women’s University: at the Center of Our World

The Cross Summer Academy is our signature program held annually for the entire summer on site at the Showa Women’s University Campus in the heart of Tokyo. Located only minutes from some of the most exciting metropolitan centers in the world, within the rich cultural landscape of Japan, the Cross Summer Academy is based in a world class education facility. However, since a defining characteristic of Cross is diversity, our programs take advantage of a variety of locations in Tokyo and in different parts of Japan; we have an ecology center and farm in the outskirts of Tokyo, a full facility school in Okutama in the foothills of the Japanese Alps, and program facilities in Iwate and Gunma prefectures. In 2019, we look forward to expanding our reach of opportunities for students to other other parts of Japan, with considerations even beyond that!

Strength in Diversity & Community

Our community is equally diverse. We are a community of students, staff, and faculty who gather annually from Japan, from around the world, and from many different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Diversity is also demonstrated within our team of instructors. Not only do they come from around the world, but they are also professionals in their fields of specialization: world class athletes, renowned technology specialists, and accomplished performers and designers. Together, in English as our common tongue, we experience a world of learning opportunity, through the lens of Japan, that is second to none.

Finally, what we are most proud, is this: the smiles on our students faces that don’t ever seem to fade.

Join us in 2019 and discover for yourself!

Greg Culos, President
Cross Education, Japan

Cross Education、日本

Why Cross Summer Academy?

Cross Education has come to Japan to establish its fully cultural & communicative immersive learning experiences for both Japanese and inbound international students.

There are certain places in the world where international education community building has happened and flourished. We’ve seen so historically in the USA, Switzerland, Canada, the UK. We believe that Japan now makes absolute sense for may reasons: one for its global economic reach and impact; two for its positioning in the East, from where global economic growth is now largely being driven; and three, from a country that provides the connectedness, the safety, the security, and the richness of life and experience that inspire learning in all ways.

The directors have a long heritage in both Canada and Japan offering English-based experiential programs for international students. Through Cross Education, Japan, they proudly bring an exciting new brand of education to Japan to create a venue for people from all corners of the planet.

The 2019 Cross Summer Academy is a multi-locational program based in the Tokyo and in the Kanto region. It brings a community of children and teenagers (from 5 to 18 years old) together from around the world, and from around Japan.

Together they engage in up to seven weeks of challenge and discovery.

Communication & Language: English and Japanese

The Cross Summer Academy is open to participants from Japan and around the world, and from all social, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds.

The main language of program delivery is English, and the Academy is held within a native International English environment. For students whose native tongue is English, their participation will give them exposure and learning opportunity to all of the themes and subjects the Academy has to offer. As all participants, they engage in the community building emphasis of the program, and in particular they become English speaking mentors to those participants whose native languages are not English.

For those whose native language is not English, daily morning classes are separated by age and English speaking ability. These students learn as English second language learners as they engage in the same learning concepts and challenges as everyone else.

In the afternoons, activities replace the morning classes, and all students regardless of language competency participate in a variety of different groups depending on the challenges and events scheduled each afternoon.

For those students coming from overseas, the Academy offers a Japanese Language and Culture stream. During the morning class sessions that all participants are part of, this category of student engages in learning about Japan, its language, and its culture.

The Cross Summer Academy: “Open Minds Change the World!”

What’s happening this summer?

The Cross Summer Academy is an intense seven week program that is best described as a learning adventure experience. Everything that happens during the camp is tied together thematically from the start of the first week to the end of the sixth. The overall theme of “Open Minds Change the World” runs through each day, week, activity, event, topic of learning, location, challenge, and interaction. From the first moment of the first day of camp, participants sense immediately they are about to embark on something exciting, and they are!

For us, open-mindedness is the ability to understand the world’s social, cultural, linguistic, physical, conceptual, and technical dynamics, with the ability, flexibility, and aptitude to engage in those dynamics in different social and cultural contexts. In this spirit, each of the six weeks of the Cross Summer Academy is sub-themed accordingly: Eco-Environmental Studies, Technology & Engineering, Online Media & Design, Photography, Videography, & Production, International Dynamics, Remote, Virtual, & Real Flight, Communication and Social Awareness.

While each week introduces the camp participants to it’s particular sub theme through different sets of activities and experiences, the purpose of the entire Academy experience is to help participants learn how every individual activity they engage in is influenced by all of the weekly sub-themes simultaneously. Our approach is always interdisciplinary.

Take, for instance, learning to fly:

  • learning to fly requires technical and sensory-motor skills
  • flight enables new perspectives & ideas
  • new ideas are important to share
  • media and technology enables sharing and communication
  • communication has social and linguistic implications
  • socially and linguistically appropriate communication has presentational needs and requirements
  • presentation is highly dependent on form and structure
  • form and structure leads to design and ways and modes of communication
  • the ability to fly impacts, improves, and diversifies both action & behavior.

While each week of Camp introduces participants to subset themes, participants are constantly challenged to consider and apply those skills while taking into account the interconnectedness of all of the Academy’s sub themes and the overall intent of the Academy: to teach children how to use what they know to impact the world in positive ways, and to understand how their actions impact those around them, in whichever context they may find themselves.  

So, while the first week may focus on International Dynamics and Awareness, the learning challenges and activities participants engage in during that week will be framed by awareness of the Academy’s overall goal: to help them understand what Open-Mindedness means, and the positive impact it has in any social, cultural, and communicative context.

We’ll also teach them what a disrupter is… since change at a large scale is accomplished by those whose open-mindedness ultimately leads them to impact the world with ideas they believe will improve it for everyone!

Modes of Learning… Community, Reality, & Finding Creativity

Key features of Cross programs are emphases on problem-solving, communication, creativity, challenge, diversity of experience, collaboration, negotiation, and community approaches to discovery and accomplishment.

Cross Academy learning experiences are intended to be “peeks under the hood” and adventures in discovering “how things work.” People learn and make things in order to fulfil perceived needs. They learn and make things to provide the means of interaction with each other and with the environment that surrounds them. Arguably, every idea, every thing, exists to meet the needs of people.

People are social creatures. Ultimately, the things we use, make, do, and engage in become parts of our “reality” because there is social consensus that they are necessary, useful, and important; they become means of interaction that make our communities work. Community is therefore at the center of the human experience: communities live, believe, do, make, and act in ways that are accepted by a majority as necessary to the success and well-being of the community itself.

Why is this important? Well, simply put, everyone within a community is an integral part of the process of the negotiations that result in what the community perceives to be its reality. Of course, there are always fundamental rules involved that are, perhaps to a great extent, determined and defined by the physical environment. Those rules are the foundational sciences that communities create (discover?) that give definition to the spaces that surround them. Those “natural rules” are themselves essentially “stories that work.” They help communities create the means to survive within the physical spaces they occupy. Most importantly, those stories are created, shared, tested, agreed upon, and used by the individuals within communities. In this way, the ideas, needs, wants, and desires of each individual ultimately affects the reality within which the entire community rests.

Cross programs emphasize learning through doing. We want people to learn to appreciate the world around them by discovering how and why things work. However, from that understanding, we would like people to develop the awareness that they too can create, add to, and perhaps modify their own behaviors, those of their community, and, by extension, reality itself. Finding ways to improve reality, to whatever scope or degree, is, perhaps, fundamentally, where creativity lies.

As a result, Cross wants people to experience, do, explore, and discover as much as they possibly can. We want people to appreciate that a plane flies; and we want them to discover how that happens by understanding the principles that allow it to happen. We want people to understand how to interact with each other in positive and meaningful ways, and so we teach them to dance, to play soccer, to work together to build, launch, and enjoy the experiences that only rockets can provide. We want them to eat, but we want them to understand not only the importance of food, but also the processes involved in where that food comes from and how it comes from those places. We would like people to learn to communicate, to understand each other, to work together to accomplish goals that benefit themselves and everyone around them. We want people to appreciate their environments, and learn to improve their abilities to interact with themselves, within their communities, within the spaces they occupy together.

Cross Summer Academy

Cross Education has come to Japan to establish its fully cultural & communicative immersive international summer camp experience to Japanese and offshore students.

There are certain places in the world where international education community building has happened and flourished. We’ve seen so historically in the USA, Switzerland, Canada, the UK. We believe that Japan makes absolute sense for may reasons: one for its global economic reach and impact; two for its positioning in the East, from where global economic growth is now largely being driven; and three, from a country that provides the connectedness, the safety, the security, and the richness of life and experience that inspire learning in all ways. 

The directors have a long heritage in both Canada and Japan offering English-based experiential programs for international students. Through Cross Education, Japan, they proudly bring an exciting new brand of education to Japan to create a venue for people from all corners of the planet.

The Cross Summer Academy, coming next in the summer of 2019, is a multi-locational program based in the Tokyo and in the Kanto region. It brings a community of children and teenagers (from 5 to 18 years old) together from around the world, and from around Japan.

Together they engage in up to six weeks of challenge and discovery in the Cross Summer Academy:

Overall Theme:

  • Open Minds Change the World

Weekly Sub-themes:

  • Eco-Environmental Studies
  • Mechatronics & Technology Design,
  • Online Media & Design,
  • Photography, Videography, & Production
  • International Dynamics & Awareness
  • Remote, Virtual, & Real Flight

Program Contents & Features

(Applied weekly and thematically integrated into daily learning experiences.)

  • Technology: 3D, Mechatronics, Artificial Intelligence, Renewable Energy
  • Blockchain Innovation Theory and Application
  • Agriculture and Environmental Studies
  • Photography, Videography, and Digital Production
  • Aeronautics, Aviation, and Rocketry
  • Fine and Performing Arts
  • Sports and Athletics
  • Architecture and Design
  • Animation and Design
  • Outdoor Learning (Urban, Mountain, and Ocean)
  • Age Range: 5 to 18
  • Flexible & Variable Groups (same age, cross ages, by Academy “house”)
  • Full native English speaking environment and focus.
  • International Social and Cultural Awareness
  • Japanese Cultural and Language Studies
  • Integration and interaction between all ages.
  • Specialized focuses within age groups.
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Coaching, Mentoring, and Leadership Education
  • Weekly Social and Family Events that Include:
  • Performances, Parties, Presentations, and Park Barbecues

Cross Education Japan believes that children and young adults should participate together in a relationship that helps both learn. Older children help younger, and younger children are inspired to learn by the examples set by their older peers.

Equally so, Cross believes that in order to become inspired, at any age or level, inspirational figures and role models are essential. That’s why we tie professional in their fields into everything we do. Each theme and category of learning throughout the camp is tied to international professionals and organizations who are impacting the world with what they do.

We use the best examples and advice available in all of the learning opportunities we facilitate, from organizations and institutions such as Siemens, Platinum, Line, MIT, an more.

Cross Education Japan, and the Cross Summer Academy, provides educational opportunities, based in Japan, where ideas and people from around the world come together to benefit equally:

  • to inspire each other,
  • to learn from one another, and
  • to impact their lives each in ways that may later help each of them impact the world.

Check us out at and send us a note should you want more details:

All the best,

The Cross Team

The Mousetrap

Ok… here we are, 47 years ago, around the time this picture was taken. I believe that’s my brother. It’s raining. No matter.

We are standing in the doorway of a small toolshed behind a small, white, red-trimmed house built 47 years earlier by my grandfather.  This particular little workshop is situated about as far as you can possibly go from the town in which he was born. In this small and slightly ramshackle structure are the tools he uses and the spaces in which they all belong. They sit, stand, and hang, all at the ready for whatever necessity or whim might happen to capture his sense of responsibility, his attention, and, likely, often, just his imagination.

The walls are adorned with every kind of yard tool: rakes, hoes, shovels, spades, and others whose purposes are, in my six years of experience, mysteries. A rusty well-used scythe hangs there too. The concrete floor is stained with oil, and, likely, his blood and sweat. There sits the massive, round, pedal-driven grinding stone mounted in the ancient wooden contraption he’d built especially for it. Behind that is a work bench; attached to its edge is a heavy cast iron vise. I think it’s green. Behind the vise sit numerous old coffee cans filled with every kind of nut, bolt, nail, and screw you could possibly ever need in a lifetime. He’d indeed spent much of his life collecting them. He created this space as only a creator could.

I see this, this spot of time, vividly, even the smell: a musty combination of gasoline, oil, decomposing grass, metal, and wet wood. And here we are, one hand in my grandfather’s as he rummages around with his other to assemble those things we need to take care of a situation needing attention. Mice.

My grandfather emigrated from Italy in the early 1920s. I believe 1922? It was soon after the First World War had ended, and soon after he was released from an Austrian POW camp located not far from his home town, not far to the north of Venice. My grandfather was a conscripted soldier in the Italian Army. However, he apparently refused to accept the role of a soldier and would shoot into the air above the heads of his Austrian neighbors who had likewise been commissioned to shoot at him.

Since he was able, years later, to be here in this workshop with me, I like to think that those Austrians shared the same pacifist rebelliousness. I like to think that there, in the Alps, the Italian and Austrian conscripts shot over each other’s heads, more in favor of sparing the lives of neighbors than in doing what the common mousetrap mercilessly does to mice. He spent the remaining years of the war in a prison somewhere on the other side of the Italo-Austrian border, not so far from home.

After the war, and his release, and as soon as he could, he, his wife, and my young uncle (God bless them all), packed their bags, boarded a ship in Genoa, and left. Via Ellis Island, they journeyed to about as far away from all that nonsense as they could possibly get: the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada, at the edge of a small logging town in what was then one of the farthest reaches of the civilized world. Incidentally, the whole notion of “the civilized world” needs a little more consideration, but that’s for later.

So, here, in his workshop in 1971, my grandfather wants me to help him make a trap to catch the mice that are terrorizing his wife. And so we do. He quietly, but unforgettably, goes to work to transform an odd collection of items into a devise fashioned to capture the vermin responsible for the recent acts of terror. He builds a mousetrap, but one fashioned according to his principles and world view, and surely inspired by his life experiences, to spare their lives.

He was my teacher. I learned this from him. I have never made anything quite like that mousetrap in my own life since then. However, there is much that I have done that I would never have been able to accomplish, nor perhaps understand as well, had it not been for that one experience with him.