Reunion with SPICE’s Founding Director, Dr. David L. Grossman
The roots of SPICE date back to 1973.
The roots of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) date back to the establishment of the Bay Area China Education Project (BAYCEP), Stanford University, in 1973. BAYCEP was initially a joint project with the University of California, Berkeley, and was developed out of concern for how China was being taught in schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the mid- to late 1970s, three other parallel projects were developed: Teaching Japan in the Schools (TJS), Proyecto REAL: Recursos Educacionales de América Latina, and the Africa Project. Together with BAYCEP, these projects became the nucleus of SPICE, which was established in 1976. The founding director of BAYCEP and SPICE was David Grossman.
As BAYCEP extended its work with teachers beyond the San Francisco Bay Area, its name was changed to the China Project. In the 1980s, TJS became the Japan Project and Proyecto REAL became the Latin America Project. In 1983, the International Security and Arms Control (ISAAC) Project was added as SPICE’s first non-area-specific project. Finally, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, two other projects were added to SPICE: The Western Europe Project and the Eastern Europe & Soviet Union Project.
Today, though SPICE is no longer comprised of area- or topic-focused projects, SPICE remains committed to making Stanford scholarship on global issues accessible to K–12 and community college educators and teachers. SPICE’s work emphasizes many of the key thematic foci of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, such as governance, security, global health, energy, and international development. For nearly five decades, SPICE has engaged scholars at Stanford University in making Stanford scholarship accessible to young students.
On November 12, 2022, staff from the early years of SPICE gathered in San Jose, California, to celebrate Grossman’s 80th birthday. Grossman reflected, “that evening was truly one of the highlights of my life and an emotional high. The warmth and camaraderie were exceptional, and I felt the affection and respect deeply. I mark this occasion as a signature moment in my 80 years. Add something about the approaching 50-year anniversary since the founding of BAYCEP.”
The past BAYCEP and SPICE Directors are David Grossman, BAYCEP/SPICE Founding Director, 1973–1987; Judith Wooster, SPICE Director, 1988–90; and Jane Boston, SPICE Director, 1990–97. Grossman was my academic advisor at Stanford in 1980 and I joined SPICE in 1988 and I have had the honor of serving as SPICE Director since 1999. SPICE staff (past and present) and I feel an indebtedness to Grossman for his vision with BAYCEP and SPICE.