I heard an interesting interview of Fareed Zakaria, a Newsweek columnist and editor of Newsweek International, on NPR the other night. He has a new book titled The Post-American World and this short interview (7 minutes) discusses parallels he sees to the British Empire at the dawn of the 20th century (shades of The Presentation That Shall Not Be Named?) and compares the Boer War and how Great Britain dealt with that with the current U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But before you decide this is just more gloom and doom, he also expresses his optimism that the United States can adapt and take on a new role as “Chairman of the Board” as opposed to dictator of the world. He makes some interesting points about the “rise of the rest”, not just China and India but others as well, and how leadership in the 21st century needs to look a little different than perhaps it did in the late 20th century.
I don’t know if this holds any particular lessons for education (I’d like to find time to read the book to see if he talks about that or not), but my thoughts after listening to the interview were that, once again, we need to make sure our students are engaged on a global level. Not just for economic reasons, but in order to help solve some of the major issues facing all of us today – issues that are global in nature and therefore need input and action from citizens across national boundaries. It makes me wonder that with all the lip service that schools typically give to creating “global citizens” in their mission and vision statements, how many of us are actually actively pursuing this in our classrooms?