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An recent unpublished doctoral dissertation (Swenson 1999) sheds significant light on the multiple perspectives on a definition of Ôinternational educationÕ: ÒInternational education can be seen as narrowly as studying the syntax of a foreign language, or as broadly as involvement with any undertaking that has any relation, however tangential, to cultures or countries other than oneÕs own. It could be viewed as an altruistic enterprise by an enlightened society, or as a calculated method to Ôutilize educational resources to create favorable image abroad or to counteract a propaganda drive by a hostile powerÓ ..... In the late 1960s, Professor R. Freeman Butts of Teachers College, Columbia University, made a distinction between government-based international educational efforts and what he viewed as ÔgenuineÕ international education. Butts argued that government-based programs, such as Ôcultural affairsÕ and ÔinformationÕ programs, were outside the scope of a proper definition of international education; in his view, any definition of international education should be restricted to formal education in an independent academic setting.Ó (Swenson 1999, pp 4-5) Swenson further stipulated the following definition of international education: ÒThe term Ôinternational educationÕ will therefore include the academic side of language and area studies, cultural studies, international studies, and comparative studies, both here in the United States and through educational exchange and development programs in foreign countries. It will also include the government side of human resource development and diplomatic and foreign policy considerations, and the policy talk and policy action in Congress that sought ways to insulate the former from control by the latter in the academic setting as much as possible.Ó (Swenson 1999, pp 9-10) Swenson also called for a wider consideration of research into international education: ÒIn this time of historical transformation, or as John Gaddis [(1994)] phrased it, the shift in the Ôtectonic forcesÕ of post-industrialism or communications consciousness, it behooves American scholars to take stock of the state of international education, both in its own right and in relation to the national interest as redefined by changed circumstances.Ó (Swenson 1999, pp 24-25)
University libraries (Library of Congress catalogue system) designate Ôinternational educationÕ in their online catalogs (Harvard online, Tufts online, public library system) as Òworks on education for international understanding, world citizenship, etc.Ó
The maps that we are using to construct our modern sense of international education are largely untested and incomplete. A more realistic mapping of international education requires a complete review of the history of international educational activities over the past 150 years, if for no other reason than to destroy the mythology of international education as a product of the horrors of World War II and the age of multilateralism that followed.
The Clinton (2000) White House in a memorandum on ÒInternational Education PolicyÓ to the heads of executive departments and federal agencies provides a glimpse into the defining of the field of international education at the turn of the century: ÒTo continue to compete successfully in the global economy and to maintain our role as a world leader, the United States needs to ensure that its citizens develop a broad understanding of the world, proficiency in other languages and knowledge of other cultures. [emphasis added] AmericaÕs leadership also depends on building ties with those who will guide the political, cultural, and economic development of their countries in the future. A coherent and coordinated international education strategy will help us meet the twin challenges of preparing out citizens for a global environment while continuing to attract and educate future leaders from abroad. [#] Since World War II, the Federal Government, in partnership with institutions of higher education and other educational organizations, has sponsored programs to help Americans gain the international experience and skills they will need to meet the challenges of an increasingly interdependent world. [emphasis added] During this same period, our colleges and universities have developed an educational system whose reputation attracts students from all over the world. But our work is not done. Today, the defense of U.S. interests, the effective management of global issues, and even an understanding of our NationÕs diversity require ever-greater contact with, and understanding of, people and cultures beyond our borders.Ó (Clinton 2000, p 1)
A government discussion paper (online @ http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/PES/discussion-paper.html) regarding the present goals of international education in the United States from the Department of Education: ÒAs the world enters the twenty-first century, the practice of diplomacy is no longer confined to governments, but is actively pursued by individuals and institutions in both the public and private sectors. Increasingly, the achievement of educational, economic, political, scientific, and cultural goals requires that efforts be collaborative, crossing national borders and involving networks of partners. While direct contact between citizens is aided by new technologies, a sophisticated knowledge of other cultures and contexts is essential to the effective exchange of information, to promote democracy and security, achieve greater economic prosperity and increase mutual understanding. International education in the twenty-first century must acknowledge this new diversity of objectives and stake holders, and find ways to develop to the fullest the energy, expertise and experience of all our citizens. Increased investment in international education will strengthen our nation for the future.Ó The working paper then lists the activities of international education in the following manner: ÒStudy and research abroad for U.S. citizens, as well as study and research in the U.S. by scholars and students from other countries; Teaching and learning about other countries and cultures in U.S.schools, colleges and universities, including training U.S. experts in the economies, cultures, languages, politics, and histories of other nations, as well as sharing U.S. knowledge and culture with other countries; Teaching and learning of foreign languages by U.S. citizens, as well as the learning of English by those who live in other countries.; Comparing U.S. educational progress to that of other nations, learning about foreign educational policies and practices that could help improve education at home, and sharing information on good practice to help other countries improve education for their citizens and achieve universal basic education.Ó (Mestenhauser 2001, online p 2)

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