8 Moments that Defined our Milestone Celebration

20 November 2014

On October 17, 2014, we celebrated 25 years of advancing global education in schools. "The 25th Anniversary Celebration was a joyful time to commemorate the wisdom, foresight and skill of our founders, Anna Roelofs and Anne Watt," said Board President Rosemary Pisano. "We're excited to look to the next quarter century of Primary Source's growth, increased relevance, and impact in the field of education." We revisit our special anniversary event with eight moments that made our Celebration a night to remember:

Prominent Asia scholar and longtime friend Professor Ezra Vogel spoke of the importance of global education to both economic and diplomatic relations, and how Primary Source is essential to mutual understanding in these realms. He noted with pride our deep understanding about China, an area we have promoted in schools for decades, and one that has earned us a reputation for excellence in learning about Asia.
It was an honor to have 2015 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Jeff Shea join us, and share his thoughtful remarks about the importance of our work: "Students have so much potential to do good in the world…It's our job to mold them into global citizens so that they can bring their skills and talents to bear on global problems and make the world a better place. In partnering with teachers, administrators, and other advocates for global educations, Primary Source is helping to produce more and more global citizens."
Jeff Shea 
Our Executive Director Julia de la Torre spoke to the importance of Primary Source, both today and in the future, and the incredible vision of our founders. "When Anna [Roelofs] and Anne [Watt] saw a need in schools and in the curriculum—they invented a solution. There were voices and perspectives missing from what students were learning in school. The world was missing in the curriculum…they put their magic together on a shoestring budget and brought them Primary Source."

Julia de la Torre


Everyone agreed that Silk Road Ensemble musicians Sandeep Das and Shaw Pong Liu captivated the entire room when they took the stage. In a unique collaboration, the duo performed on the violin, tabla (Indian percussion) and erhu (traditional Chinese stringed instrument), and took everyone's breath away. Silk Road Ensemble

Our very special 25th Anniversary video featured our founders, our leadership, and the educators who inspire us every day. Watch now to revisit why global education matters, and why we care so deeply about what we do.

25th Video

Emcee Deborah Ward brought warmth and her rich history with our organization, reflecting on the importance of our work and respect for cultural diversity. Throughout the evening, we looked back on a quarter century of championing global education and cultural diversity in schools with a poignant timeline featuring milestones from our founding to today. Take a walk through our digital timeline here.

Deb Ward

Our live and silent auctions featured a diverse, international collection of items. Reception guests bid on such silent auction items as a beautiful Chinese watercolor painting by Son-Mey Chiu and handmade global jewelry. After dinner, our live auction headlined getaways to Normandy, France and the Caribbean, under the lively direction of former Board President Buzz Birnbaum.

Auction Tables

Event co-chair (and our newest board member) Farida Kathawalla summed up the evening best: "Global education is extremely important for students so that they can become future leaders in a global economy. That's where Primary Source excels, and this was evident at the 25th Anniversary Celebration." Farida continued, "Our mission and global focus were at the forefront of the Celebration, from our incredible planning committee to our honorees, entertainment, and emcee. I am proud to be involved with such a meaningful organization."

Farida Kathawalla



Browse our 25th Anniversary Celebration photo album on Flickr!




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