REPORT HITS AMERICAN IGNORANCE OF WORLD
"We desperately need to understand other countries and other cultures--friend and
foe alike. We are unnecessarily putting ourselves at risk because of our stubborn
monolingualism and ignorance of the world."
---The Strategic Task Force on Education Abroad
SECURING AMERICA'S FUTURE: GLOBAL EDUCATION FOR A GLOBAL AGE
"On September 11, 2001, an international threat of which Americans were largely ignorant did more serious damage to the homeland than any foreign power had managed to inflict since the attack on Pearl Harbor. No one who lived through that terrible day will soon forget the anguished, confused questions that we all had to process: Where did this come from? How could anyone want to do this to us? We all recall the tickers rolling across the bottom of our television screens asking speakers of Arabic, Farsi, and Pashto to come forward. It was a very painful and public admission of how little we knew about the Arab and Muslim worlds.
It is not just the Middle East of which we are ignorant. As a nation we suffer from a pervasive lack of knowledge about the world. There have been periods, indeed entire eras, in our history where Americans have relished their isolation from the world. Some have made speaking only English a point of national pride instead of a disgrace. Never mind that the schools of most countries, rich or poor, teach at least two languages to their children. In the most prosperous nation on the planet, with the most extensive system of higher education, we are notoriously inept at imparting languages to our youth."
Full Report [PDF file]