Thanks soooo much for the lively presentation... What an inspiration you are! And those photographs were unbelievable! So striking and vibrant! I was blown away!

- Lauren Iorizzo, The Dalton School.

Parents and administrators alike are in constant search of the gifted teacher who can infuse a classroom with energy and excitement, and Denis is one of them.

- Carolyn Carson, The Stevenson School.

He has the ability to knit together the threads of many disciplines ... bringing history to life in a unique and powerful way.

- Mark A. Brooks, Pilgrim School.

Equal parts historian, sage traveler, story teller and global citizen... Denis weaves in events in a way that makes it feel like Marco Polo himself is telling you about his journey.

- Jim Conti, The Pegasus School.

Even though you left, I feel like a part of you is still with us in history class

Lishan 7th grade

You bring the past alive.. and humanity’s deep connection with geography … and in doing so you shape the future

Stacey Kertsman, Castilleja School for Girls

Thank you for making learning fun

Sienna Grade 8

From the time of my first contact with you, Lisa, I had a strong sense of the special opportunity that was before us. That sense turned out to be spot on.

Elizabeth Holekamp, Ph.D. Thomas Jefferson School

Simply fascinating.

- Christine Sauer, Director International Studies Institute, University of New Mexico.

The highlight of our school year. Our students were mesmerized by you.

- Rosalie Fegan, St Joseph School.

Thank you for your lasting contribution to our students lives.

- Mandy Deter, Red Mountain Community School for learning disabilities.

A welcome departure from our more strictly, and coldly, academic speakers.

- Alec McCandless, The Loomis Chaffee School.

You allowed our students to enter the world of Marco Polo… and opened their eyes to the plight of disadvantaged people and children around the world. You are a true educator that embodies the spirit of 'Inspire, Dream, Achieve’.

- Christopher Novak, The Independence School.

You give students the impetus to feel pride in their heritage and origins.

- Sonia Arora, Gold Coast Arts Center.

Young children need role models and your message of 'never giving up’ resonated with all age levels - a rare feat!

- Frank J Fallon, The Bridges Academy.

The primary source account of your travels is inspirational. Students were riveted to your oral storytelling.

- Linda Noble, Brooklyn College Academy.

The abundance of information, excitement and true inspiration that is Denis is something that I wish upon any school and student the opportunity to have.

- Isabella Rivera, Endeavor College Prep.

Mr Belliveau’s narration was utterly captivating… the girls in attendance were transfixed by the honest and inspirational messaging.

- Dr Susan R Groesbeck, Purnell School for Girls.

From the moment he began to speak, Denis Belliveau had them spellbound.

- Ryan Hews, The Hun School of Princeton.

Denis stole the show, hands-down. He is an outstanding presenter ... I have never seen an outside speaker welcomed by our students in the way that Denis was yesterday; it was really exceptional.

- Sid Stockdale, Albuquerque Academy.

Denis is a natural teacher and story teller. He had the children's attention from the moment he began all the way until he ran out of time! This is a wonderful experience for any school.

- Jody Roher Smith, Easton Country Day School.

Denis answered every student's question unflinchingly ... his infectious enthusiasm and passion for living one's life to the fullest came through loud and clear. Besides our students ... I have never seen adults so interested in a presentation at night - they didn't want to leave!

- Wynn Richards, San Domenico School.

I loved the question and answer segment.

- Ljaz, 9th grade.

Thank you so much for bringing in the old Chinese paper money and the Marco Polo book; It was amazing!

- Sebastian, 4th grade.

I loved how you brought in all of those artifacts, like the Lapis Lazuli.

- Luke, 5th grade.

Denis' message is about following an intellectual and spiritual passion... It's about doing the hard work to perfect your craft.

- Byron Stevens, Stevenson School.

Denis was a rockstar to even my most jaded teenagers.

- Marc Shuhl, Brentwood School.

I sat in amazement at how deeply touched the students were by your courage and resilience.

- Luke Nawrocki, St Joseph Catholic Academy.

Today's program was absolutely fantastic! I don't remember the last time I witnessed the whole middle school so enthralled in a presentation. Denis connected to both their academic studies and their imaginations. The sixth grade Islamic geometric patterns worked perfectly. This was one of the best cultural enrichment programs we have ever had.

- Tom Cayer, Chase Collegiate School.

You’ve shown me how anything can be accomplished with perseverance.

- Carlos, 6th grade.

On behalf of history fanatics everywhere, thank you for doing the incredible.

- David Soares, Boston College.

The High School is still a buzz after your performance.... Teacher after teacher raved about your performance.

- Lisa Wild, Shoreham-Wading River High School.

My students and I were thrilled with Denis's Q & A visit! We were captivated by his stories and his perspectives. Truly, his ability to engage our kids and know just how to speak to the students was phenomenal!

- Nicole Shiotani, The Keys School.

Having Denis is like the gift that keeps on giving. If you want enlivened conversation, cultural insight and awe inspiring moments, this is a must.

- Martha Schuur, Echo Horizon School.

Denis is a phenomenal historian ... whose wisdom and inspiration leaves students with a desire to dream in a world of limitless opportunities.

- Devin B Thomas, Desert Christian Schools.

Your passion, perseverance and love of history moved each and every student ... a truly extraordinary experience.

- Christina Reidel, Bronxville High School.

I have had many opportunities to enjoy Arts-In-Education presentations and this program is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

- Anne Mackesey, Eastern Suffolk BOCES.

My students are rarely impressed, but they felt a deep admiration for your courage, open-mindedness and sense of adventure.

- Coree Newman, The Brentwood School.

Your story inspires me to follow my dreams no matter how unrealistic they may sound.

- Jada, 9th grade.

Denis captured unforgettable images that ignite the imagination of every human who shares this planet. He makes history come to life and captures the essence of the human condition ... I will never forget the sea of raised hands for the Q+A portion of Denis' presentation – the engagement was unparalleled.

- Dr. Jeneen Graham, St Margaret's Episcopal School.

When I planned the teachers session I was not sure if there would be any participants, since its always difficult for busy teachers to give up a free period... my thoughts couldn't have been further from the truth. I couldn't pry them off you!

- Ben Fussiner, Turning Point School.

I sat in amazement at how engaged the children were as they listened to you relive so many of the fascinating aspects of your journey. It was clear that they were deeply touched by your courage and resilience. Many life lessons are contained in your story and the way you recount it for others.

- Luke Nawrocki, St Jospeh Catholic Academy.

You’ve inspired me to make my own path using the past as a guide to my future.

- Catherine, 10th grade.

The girls were particularly struck by Belliveau’s descriptions of the generosity of the people he met along the way, and gained a new appreciation for the ways in which the world has changed and how it has remained the same.

- Heidi Kasevich, The Nightingale Bamford School.

You were unbelievably wonderful and the students were so excited to be with you.

-Hanah Kim, Extera Public School

Your residency did just want was intended … light a hope in students to better themselves

-Debbie Goldsworthy, Sawyer elementary School

Welcome to In the Footsteps of Marco Polo

The Foundation for Historical Exploration is a nonprofit educational organization devoted to the design and implementation of live talks and inspirational curricula activities based on historic expeditions that have been replicated in modern times.

Connecting young people to real life exploration motivates and inspires them with powerful learning tools that develop critical-thinking, problem solving and collaborative skills, the precise skills they’ll need as they enter the global workforce of the 21st century.

In the news


“An extraordinary initiative and travel experience. They set out to demonstrate that Marco Polo actually spent his 25 years in Asia and reported first-hand about all the wonders he had seen, and I think that after Francis’s and Denis’s experience few people could still have doubts in this regard.”

- Stefano Carboni, Curator of Islamic Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Our vision for this project was very focused,’ says Belliveau. ‘We wanted to see just how accurate Marco Polo’s words were.’” “So look they did. What they found was that nobody had ever followed and photographed Polo’s entire route from Venice to China and back…” - Photographic Magazine

(click here to view)

“I’m in awe of your achievement – the endurance, the commitment, the pictures, the writing.”

- John Man, Author
Marco Polo – The Journey That Changed The World.

“When they returned to Venice, they were given a hero’s welcome: a royal regatta of gondolas, a gala reception, a gallery showing of their photographs. There was an official poster commemorating their accomplishment, and the bells of St Mark’s were rung in their honor. Not only were they finally given access to Marco Polo’s will, they were allowed to sleep in the explorer’s home.”

- Biography Magazine

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