International engagement through education

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered this speech at a Council on Foreign Relations Meeting.

Click here to view a pdf version of the entire speech.

“International Engagement Through Education”

An excerpt from his speech:

In this global economy, the line between domestic and international issues is increasingly blurred, with the world’s economies, societies and people interconnected as never before. Thomas Friedman has observed that in today’s “flat” world, new technologies and instant communications make “Beijing, Bangalore and Bethesda next-door neighbors.”

I am worried that in this interconnected world, our country risks being disconnected from the contributions of other countries and cultures.

The United States is a country made up of many cultures, and we often celebrate that diversity. But just as often, we rely on the predominance of English as the language of global business and higher education when looking toward the world.

This reliance can put us at a disadvantage. We haven’t been compelled to meet our global neighbors on their own terms, and learn about their histories, values and viewpoints. I am worried that in this interconnected world, our country risks being disconnected from the contributions of other countries and cultures. Through education and exchange, we can become better collaborators and competitors in the global economy.

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