Monday, November 14, 2011 marks the beginning of International Education Week and this year’s theme is International Education: Inspiring Students Locally to Succeed Globally. This is the 12th annual International Education Week, and its general focus is to increase our understanding of the world around us, so we are able to communicate and interact with people of cultures different than our own.
As economies and societies of the world become increasingly interdependent, it is as important as ever to have an understanding of the histories, languages, and viewpoints of other cultures. Because of these facts, an effort to integrate international perspectives into the classroom has taken root and will hopefully continue to grow. Furthering these points, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan states, “It is through education and exchange that we become better collaborators, competitors and compassionate neighbors in this global society.”
International Education Week specifically stresses the importance of knowing more than one language. An employee or a prospective employee has much more value to a business if he or she speaks an additional language. Besides being beneficial from a job perspective, knowing a second language allows one to communicate with a wider variety of people and makes it more likely that he or she will understand and respect the culture or cultures that speak that language.
Hopefully International Education Week presses people around the world, beyond just students, to make an earnest effort to enhance their knowledge of other cultures. Local actions have the power to make an international impact and with this in mind, greater international awareness and knowledge can be achieved.