Examples of Classes and Activities

Shared_Studios works extensively with a variety of educational institutions and we are excited to find valuable and innovative ways to integrate our projects into new learning environments. We have set up Portals at universities around the world. Portals have been integrated with a wide variety of curricula across the humanities and sciences. In the humanities, these areas include art, current events, history, literature, and philosophy. In the sciences, these include public health, tech and innovation, as well as experiments in virtual and augmented reality. To spark your imagination and see how a Portal might best benefit your institution, check out the extensive list of past events below.

Portals have been or currently are at universities including Stanford, Yale, the University of Maryland, the University of Colorado at Boulder, St. Edward's University, Georgetown University, and Vanderbilt.


Global Album: Rappers in the U.S., Rwanda, and Afghanistan are creating a joint Portals hip hop album.

Jam Sessions: Rock musicians from universities in the U.S. and Mexico hosted monthly jam sessions

Performances: Musicians from around the globe perform live. For example, blues experts in Chicago and Kigali made work and discussed the history of blues in their cities

Musical Collaborations: Flautist Rajeev Rava in Mumbai and singer Kavita Shah in New York City taught one another new songs and performed together. Rapper and singer Aloe Blacc made music with classical musicians in Herat, Afghanistan. Opera singers have performed for refugee communities around the globe.



Painting Lessons: Classical Persian painters in Isfahan, Iran have taught Persian painting to students across the globe.

Artist Collaborations: Professional artists Titus Kaphar in New York and Yousha Bashir Tehran have collaborated by printing out one another's work and making joint collages.

Theater & Dance

Storytelling Nights: Storytellers in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Iraq, and the U.S. have performed for live audiences across the globe.

Comedy Shows:  Comedians around the globe have performed live for distant audiences. For example, Gazan comedian Nabil Diab performed for an audience in Washington, DC.

Improv Theater: Actors and actresses have made theater sketches through Portals.

Dance: Students at the University of Maryland created an interpretative dance while rappers in Herat, Afghanistan laid down a new track. Then, another group of experimental dancers made work at UMD alongside a graffiti artist in Herat, Afghanistan.

Movement: Choreographer Jonah Bokaer at a Portal at the United Nations in New York taught young Syrian refugees in Jordan a series of calming, centering motions.

Dance ciphers: From Milwaukee, USA to El Progreso, Honduras, dancers and musicians share moves

Related Multimedia

Artist Aloe Blacc in Los Angeles performs with music students in Herat, Afghanistan.

Opera singer performs for a Syrian refugee community in Jordan.

Painters in Mexico and Chicago work together.

Dancers at the University of Maryland collaborate with rappers in Herat, Afghanistan.

Current Events, History, and Policy

Criminal Justice Reform: Portals facilitate dialogues across North America on criminal justice in America.

Refugee Crisis: Students around the world are engaging refugees directly to learn about the challenges they face, and to help develop novel solutions.

Conflict: Groups of students have engaged counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan to discuss the status of conflict, and prospects for future peace.

Diplomacy: Through Portals, students in Havana, Cuba and Miami, USA have discussed what American-Cuban relations could look like moving forward.

History Classes: Through Portals, students have learned world history from those who lived it. For example, a former mujahideen fighter in Afghanistan and professor in Cuba teach Cold War history from their unique perspectives. A survivor of Rwandan genocide teaches classes on reconciliation. Syrian refugees teach Syrian history.

Comparative Law: Through Portals, students of law explore comparative constitutional design with law school peers abroad.

Special Events: Portals often arrive at special sites such as the United Nations, the European Parliament, TED, the Skoll World Forum, and similar events. Students in the network at the time are able to engage attendees at these locations and events.

Language & Culture

Language Classes: Language classes and roundtables enable students around the world to practice languages including Spanish, French, Farsi, Arabic, Burmese, Pashto, Dari, and many more. There are more focused language learning options as well. For example, Syrian refugees teach Arabic through Portals.

Shared Meals: Through Portals, students have learned new recipes and shared meals with others. 

Religious and Other Celebrations: Students celebrate different religious traditions with counterparts around the world, including Eid, Hanukkah, and Holi.

    Bookclubs: Portals host bookclubs with diverse participants. Bookclubs within the U.S. have engaged students in dialogues around politics, economics and race.

    Research Projects: Across all fields, student researchers work together to on challenges across sciences and humanities.


    Health, Play, and Student Life

    Yoga Class: Portals host yoga classes taught from sites around the world, including Los Angeles, USA and Kigali, Rwanda.

    Games: From Mexico City to Gaza City, Portals hosts regular global gaming events with games such as Dungeons and Dragons.

    Sports: Rugby and other sports teams from Milwaukee to Mumbai share tips and tricks.

    Student Hangouts:  With regular open hours, Portals become places for after-class hangouts, picnics, and study halls.

    Related Multimedia

    Portals at the United Nations, connected to IDP communities

    Criminal Justice Dialogues

    An overview of the Portal at St. Edwards University

    CU Boulder Students Talk to Iraqi IDPs through Portals


    Global Public Health: Students at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design collaborate with students at the University of Palestine in Gaza City over the course of a year, exploring ways of improving public health through scientific and design-based innovation.

    AR & VR: Students experiment with integrating AR and VR experiences into the Portals environment.

    Climate Change: Students around the globe talk to experts about climate change, and explore mechanisms of reducing its damage.


    Social Innovation: Students from around the world work on challenges, including helping refugees overcome bureaucratic barriers in new countries, improving agriculture practices, and creating new means of addressing climate change.

    Global Entrepreneurship: With Portals, entrepreneurs think about local problems in a global context, across industries including healthcare and entertainment.

    Mentorship: Students engage mentors around the globe through Portals.


    At GES 2016 Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with entrepreneurs in Herat, Afghanistan and Seoul South Korea. He was joined by Google co-founder Larry Page and Portals founder Amar Bakshi. Here's a snippet of his conversation.

    Secretary Of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Shark Tank's aymond John talk with entrepreneurs in Mexico City about the government's role in growing entrepreneurship.