Can Global Awareness Solve Today’s Problems?
by Waleed Ali Khan
Before I start blogging again, I would like to take a moment to apologize to those few who read my blog, and look forward to my posts. Sorry for not being regular – I was suffering from writer’s block. However, I hope I’m back again, doing what I love – write.
The founder of the “One World Youth Project” (OWYP) was on campus, to kick of the International Education Week in Education City. As evident from some of my previous posts, I wonder what the recipe for world peace would be. I understand that it can obviously not be achieved in absolute terms, but I do believe that we can at least reduce, instead of increase, violence, hatred and intolerance. And here I look at Education City, a microcosm of what can go right in this world. It makes you realize that ignorance is our biggest enemy, and this ignorance has nothing to do with traditional education, it is ignorance in understanding the world.
Clearly, we can’t make everyone in the world have an international experience like we do in Education City, nor can we make everyone travel the world. However, what we can do is bring a slice of the world into the lives of every single person on this earth, especially those living in secluded societies. OWYP aims to include cultural competence into the curriculum of all high school children, so that they can realize our shared humanities and make life choices accordingly. It aims to allow global conversations between schools from different cultures so that they can learn and appreciate each other. It’s a fact that regular teachers do not have the time, resources or the support to pull this off. As Jess said, we are not able to to keep up with the rate of globalization. Even though technology has allowed us to come closer in many ways, our minds have not yet adapted to this change. The activities that OWYP does is very similar to what we did during our visit to City High.
I myself have seen how cultural incompetence can lead to intolerance, be it in the east or the west. For instance, I am surprised when a lot of people tell me not to “trust” Americans by educated Pakistanis. Furthermore, I believe that terrorism exists because certain societies have no window to the outside world. On the other hand, I read disturbing posts by literate Americans who think that we “deserved” the floods that killed and affected million of poor, innocent Pakistanis. The fact is that war exists because there is public opinion backing it, and this is what OWYP aims to change for the generations that will replace current policy makers.
For more information on the One World Youth Project, visit their blog at http://owyp.wordpress.com/