Russell Ganim, Guest Columnist, Press-Citizen
International Education Week takes place next week. IEW is a joint venture organized each year by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to highlight the value of global learning in the United States and across the globe. Its historical and philosophical roots date to U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright’s efforts after the Second World War to fund educational exchange opportunities as well as President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s People-to-People program, established during the Cold War. The overarching principle from the 1940s and 1950s is the same as it is today: to view learning about the world and its cultures as a means of building relationships between individuals and enhance mutual understanding.
International Education Week unites the local and the global at many different levels. It is celebrated not only in higher education, but at K-12 institutions as well as in the realms of business, non-governmental organizations and private philanthropy. In each venue, the goal is the same: to promote global awareness and to provide an outlet for domestic and international communities to share experiences for the benefit of students, teachers and the public at large. Activities often include lectures and symposia, but International Education Week is designed to be fun, too, so there are often events centered on music, food, games and cultural traditions.