Scholastic's Global Trek is a way for students to travel around the world without ever having to leave their classroom. When students arrive in the country of their choice they are supplied with a suggested travel itinerary including background information and a chance to meet the people of the country they visit.
The World Factbook provides basic information on things like population, income, power production and life expectancy, with maps and national flags -- for every country in the world.
It's much easier to care about something or someone you know. Contacting students and getting to know other regions of the world is a good first step.