Irini Brom – Cento Writer
Is it important to learn about other countries? If I’m a United States citizen, do I need to know why South America is the way it is? Or why Europeans value certain ideologies and not others?
Director of International Programs Milton Reigelman and Chair of the International Studies Program Lori Hartmann-Mahumud would argue, that yes, it is very important to learn about countries other than your own.
Learning about other countries’ customs and ideologies and visiting these other countries turns us into Global Citizens—which is the goal of the six new minors (East Asian studies, Latin American studies, African and African-American studies, European Studies, Linguistics, and Global Commerce) that these professors,with the help of many, others have just brought to Centre for this new overall curriculum of “Global Citizenship.”
Ever since the start of the Industrial Revolution (although it can be argued that it took a break throughout the Cold War), globalization has been a strong, ever-present movement in the world that has grown exponentially with the growth of technology and websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
In the contemporary world, a person could get a degree from a small liberal arts college in say… Kentucky and find employment all the way in Latin America, Europe, or even China.
If one were to desire to work in another country after graduation, or even just become a traveling enthusiast, they are much more likely to become successful and enjoy the experience if they were a Global Citizen. What does Global Citizenship mean? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary has no direct definition of what it means to be a “Global Citizen,” so does this mean that it does not exist? Does it leave it up to interpretation? Does a person need to have citizenship in multiple countries to be considered a “Global Citizen?” Senior anthropology and sociology major and global commerce minor Lu Han from Shanghai, China, says that a dual citizenship is not necessary to be a global citizen.
“I think the most important characteristic of being a global citizen is to be open minded and the wiliness to accept different cultures. So it’s not really about dual citizenship,” Han said.
Hartmann-Mahmud states that these new minors in the Global Citizenship curriculum, and the global commerce minor in particular, can help prepare students who wish to own their own businesses one day, who want to expand existing businesses, students with political ambitions, or students who wish to work with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and non-profit organizations as well.
“All the new minors are interdisciplinary,” Dr. Hartmann-Mahmud said. “They all bring in hard science, social science, and humanities under one curriculum.”
Due to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dr. HartmannMahmud and her fellow professors were able to travel to other schools, like the prestigious Thunderbird School of Global Management.
They asked the faculty and staff important questions about what kind of education they were looking for in an undergraduate student who might be interested in applying to the school.
The answer was exactly what the Global Commerce professors had wanted to hear—the Thunderbird School wanted students to be … wait for it … global!
Thunderbird wants students who can approach ideas from multiple viewpoints and to have a global mindset, which is just a fancy way to say that they want a person who has a passion for diversity.
Other benefits that the students can see from these additions are the attraction of new professors. “The new global minors are one reason we have been able to attract such outstanding new professors,” Dr. Reigelman said.
For example, last year three new professors proposed CentreTerm courses abroad only weeks after arriving, and all three of their proposals were approved by the Off-Campus Program Committee and the dean.
All three courses then attracted enough students to make the abroad courses viable. This winter Stephen Dove’s class will study human rights in Guatemala, Christian Haskett’s class will study religion in India, and Jon Earle’s class will study history in Uganda and Rwanda.”
So, is this new Global Citizenship a good plan to bring to Centre, or does it damage the culture of one country to learn about another?
Lu Han captures the spirit of the Global Citizen curriculum and answers this question in her statement, “Human beings can only see their culture more thoroughly and logically after they experience another’s.”