Global education vital to U.S. citizens
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 23:01
Coming from a family raised in East Texas as well as a school filled with people of the same, it is a shame to see such a lack of understanding and sometimes ignorance about land outside of U.S. borders. As someone who is a self-confessed idiot when it comes to the region of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), I went into my last experience with a clean slate and taking on whatever came my way. I experienced a whole new culture in just one day, although I did pass on some adventures due to sheer exhaustion.
The Sam Houston State University Global Center for Journalism and Democracy recently hosted a conference with the Samir Kassir Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon called Media Coverage of International Justice. Kelli Arena, the Dan Rather Endowed Chair in the mass communication department and executive director of the GCJD, asked me to go with their group to the conference.
During the trip, we were able to walk around the city for several hours and eat traditional Lebanese food, including shwarama for all you Avengers fans.
Although I don’t care much for the food there, it was still a learning experience for me that I will be able to say, “Yes, I’ve tried that.”
It was also a comparative experience that helped me to appreciate what I have in my life and be thankful that I’m not as bad off as citizens of other countries. Meeting journalists who are constantly being shot at, kidnapped and imprisoned can make most problems seem trivial.
It’s important for us, citizens of the world, to act more like that. I’m not preaching one particular political philosophy, but it’s important to at least learn about different cultures and network and read about other areas.
My experience was that members of all seven different countries I talked to new about American politics and news. I knew little, if nothing, of their domestic affairs. It was time for me, as a college student, to take advantage of the time I had to study and venture outside of my relatively small box.
I understand that transcontinental traveling isn’t the easiest or most affordable. However, read different media outlets that cover international news heavily like the BBC or Al Jazeera. Read about foreign affairs. Check out a library book on other cultures that may interest you or at least Wikipedia the country for basic information.
To help aid my own education toward the MENA region, I am taking the politics of the Middle East and North Africa class in the political science department. I don’t necessarily look forward to the reading and work, but I am anticipating the reward will aid me greatly.
To advance as a nation, global education is vital to U.S. citizens.