In the 13th century, the travels of an Italian merchant to China became the first best-seller in Europe – so fantastic did it seem that we could even describe a world so remote. Today, millions of new Marco Polos are interacting daily with unfamiliar places and people.
As globalisation brings more of us together across cultures and languages, we must invent new forms of education for the Marco Polos of today and tomorrow. Founded in 2011 and inspired by the multicultural fabric of Melbourne, Marco Polo Project exists in order to create new forms of cross-cultural education for schools, universities, businesses and communities, with a focus on connection, culture and communication.
The Marco Polo Project started a digital organisation promoting Chinese and China literacy using peer-learning and crowd-sourcing models. Our first project was a website offering a selection of online writing from China formatted for non-Mandarin natives, with bilingual titles, tags, and author biographies – and inviting learners to practice their translation skills. We then shifted to offline events, first through collaborative translation, then a Festival, and eventually cross-cultural engagement programs for schools and universities
The Marco Polo project incorporated as a not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee in May 2011, and is based in Melbourne, Australia. According to the terms of our Constitution, all profits are reinvested in the company to promote our goals.