Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The World is Flat

Recently Global Experiences exhibited for the first time at the Annual NAFSA (Association of International Educators) Conference in Minneapolis Minnesota. Over 7,500 people attended from 104 countries. There was an energy in the massive conference room enhanced by this coming together of one industry from so many distinct cultures.

Why does this matter in the grand scheme of things, you ask? How will working or teaching abroad effect my life or the broader world? As we enter into an age of “Globalization” which has been dissected in such books as Thomas L. Friedman's The World is Flat, we find that our world, while full of distinct cultures, is becoming more and more accessible and meshed. It is now commonplace to have a conversation with someone in Dubai on the same day as you surf the beach in California and listen to the BBC in the UK. In this increasingly “flat” world, where our boundaries are less separated by oceans and mountains, but rather connected through ever more intelligent technology, it is becoming essential to have first hand knowledge of other cultures, especially in a work environment.

Colin Powell, the plenary speaker at NAFSA, held the floor with a powerful speech about the importance of international education, not only in the education industry but to politics, the environment and our every day social lives. He once said:

"We live in a truly global age…. To solve most of the major problems facing our country today—from wiping out terrorism to minimizing global environmental problems to eliminating the scourge of AIDS—will require every young person to learn more about other regions, cultures, and languages." What better way to do this than to work in a foreign country, immersing yourself in the culture and learning first hand just how flat the world can be.

Photo from Thomas Friedman

Posted by Susannah

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