Both the AIP and GFP seek to create an alliance of professionals who use inquiry and other forms of participatory education to improve human and ecological communities. Both programs support collaborative engagement. Both are based on the premise that "making a difference" should be woven into the fabric of education--through practice. This practice (which is astonishingly rare in conventional educational settings) requires expanding learning beyond the classroom, tackling real-world issues, and supporting shared knowledge creation and shared action. So, in terms of their approach, both programs have much in common.
However, the AIP and GFP differ fundamentally in their focus. The GFP is clearly globally focused and includes primary and intensive learning experiences abroad. The AIP is locally focused with primary and intensive learning experiences in communities where AIP Master Institutions are located.
The distinction goes deeper, however, because it is not based on academic content alone: the fundamental delivery system, settings, affiliations, and social networks differ as well. It is the AIP Master Institutions themselves, the experiential learning experiences and the community connections they create, that distinguish the AIP from the GFP. The AIP degree is a multi-institutional construct that will be shaped in ways that are not possible through the GFP, shaped by the unique mission, history, social value, resources, and people of each AIP Master Institution affiliate. The AIP degree creates a national network of AIP Master Institutions, allowing for direct cross-fertilization of ideas and practices. The AIP not only provides a "local curriculum," it is a unique national experiment, one with considerable potential to create collaborations and cross-training, and to evolve as more successful pedagogical variations are assessed and communicated across participating institutions over time.