Just because the world is more interconnected than ever before does not automatically make us all good global citizens. We must also recognize how and why this interconnectedness can inform and enrich our lives. And that is where the mission of the World Affairs Council D.C. plays an important role.
Young people today have the opportunity to reach and understand different cultures in ways that were impossible only 10 or 15 years ago. The ability to play a game online with someone on another continent—while chatting in real-time—is, by itself, a wonderful and fun way to begin engaging with different cultures and gaining new perspectives on the world.
Of course, we need to go much deeper than that.
Thanks to the important work of the World Affairs Council D.C., educators are able to enrich curricula with lessons and activities designed to leverage technology and help develop the skills of true global citizens—individuals who are comfortable in other cultures, learning about our similarities while respecting our differences.
That is precisely why education can be such a powerful and transformative process and why technology can play such an important role. We no longer have to imagine what it is like to experience another culture. The power of technology can take us there and allow us to see and feel what that culture is like in real time.
We have already seen the dramatic impact of social media and how it puts us in instant touch with people around the globe. Now it is available on devices that can stream video and fit in our pocket.
We talk about “digital natives”—those young people who have grown up with technology and don’t know what life is like without it.
Now it is critical that we harness that technology, and our interconnectedness, in order to enable people to grow up with the values and understanding to be responsible “global natives.”
The more we embrace, appreciate, and value different cultures, the more we are enriched—and the more that diversity benefits and enriches our world. The World Affair Council D.C. is helping to provide the tools necessary to achieve this through global education, and we are pleased and proud to embrace such a noble mission.
Javier Miyares is president of University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and has served UMUC in several leadership capacities since joining the institution in 2001. Prior to joining UMUC, Mr. Miyares was associate vice chancellor for Finance and Administration at the University System of Maryland (USM), where he had also served as assistant vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. Mr. Miyares was the lead staff member for USM on issues related to strategic planning, accountability, student learning assessment, and institutional research. Mr. Miyares’ more than 35 years of higher education experience includes employment with the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP).