Celebrating Former Board President Buzz Birnbaum

20 November 2014

Buzz BirnbaumInterviewing key contributors over the past year has been an opportunity to delve into the archives and get unique perspectives on Primary Source's 25-year history. Sitting down with former President of the Board Buzz Birnbaum was no exception. "A strong Board really strengthens an organization," says Buzz. "Primary Source has exceptional staff and smart, diverse Board members – individuals who work well together and who care deeply about global education."

What drew you to Primary Source and its mission?
I’ve always had a desire to see global education take priority in school curriculum. I've seen the impact it has had on my own children and it's something I wish for my grandchildren. In the late 80's, we hosted an exchange student who happened to be the granddaughter of Deng Xiaoping. My daughter spent the following semester in China studying with her "Chinese sister," as she called her, and I was able to visit them both that spring just as the events of Tiananmen Square were unfolding. Hearing their unique perspectives on these important events really drove home the fact that our children need to be well versed in world history and global issues. We live in a complex and complicated world, and the more knowledge our kids have from a young age, the better. It's no surprise to me that I discovered Primary Source years later through my daughter who introduced me to [co-founder] Anne Watt.

What makes a strong Primary Source Board of Directors?
You need a dedicated and committed Board to help further a mission, and we have always had that. Our Board members are energetic individuals with varying expertise but a shared passion for global education, who fully support the staff in their efforts to sustain, grow and expand the organization.

As a longtime donor, how does it feel to see Primary Source turn 25?
It is quite a milestone! I am excited to see Primary Source expand its reach outside New England and continue to engage educators on the importance of global education in schools. Hearing [Massachusetts Teacher of the Year] Jeff Shea speak at the 25th Anniversary Celebration last month truly drove home why Primary Source is so important to teachers. His excitement about teaching and curiosity about the world make him so valuable to his students. It's clear that the light goes on when he enters a classroom. That is what makes a great teacher! Educators like Jeff Shea will make excellent ambassadors for Primary Source as it enters its next 25 years of working with schools.




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