American Education and the International Scene
by Donald G. Tewksbury - 1959
We may draw encouragement and strength from the fact that there is an America that is ready to move forward to become a part of the world. The prospects for international education in this country will be immeasurably improved when this positive conception of the role of America in the world becomes the accepted ideal of the American people.
FOR the past twelve yearssince the end of World War IIthe United States has been living in a world far different from the one for which we were educated. We were brought up to be "national men," but the world now needs "international men" in all countries.1 This situation makes it necessary for each of us to undergo a painful process of reeducation before he can function at all intelligently. We are indeed lost unless we are able to enter into this new world with new skills and new perspectives.
The position of the United States has dramatically changed from the days when neutrality and isolationism were the accepted ideals of the American people. Our nation is now deeply involved in international affairs, and our very survival is at stake; yet our schools, by and large, continue to educate national men and women of limited vision and understanding in world affairs.
As we face the profound changes that have taken place all about us, we are forced to ask ourselves why it is that our educational system has remained, for the most part, geared to producing young men and women with the same outlook on the world that we possessed in our youth. Why is it that our schools have failed to prepare the next generation for the world that has become so different? Must we assume that schools tend to follow rather than to lead in times of social change? If so, then why do they follow so slowly the trend of the times?
It is certainly not necessary to document the proposition that the world about us has radically changed, or to furnish proof that the United States has committed itself irrevocably to playing an active role in international affairs. Nor is it necessary to prove that our schools are still mainly devoted to making national men and women. It is necessary, however, to inquire into the reasons why American schools have lagged so far behind in preparing our young citizens for the realities of today's world.
We can, of course, say that the world revolution of our times has come about so suddenly that educators, like many others in our society, are overwhelmed and perplexed. In such a situation we know that many persons tend to go on doing the things they have been doing more or less successfully for a long time, leaving the more unmanageable world about them to wiser heads and hands, if such can be found. Few educators would wish, however, to plead this excuse; it would be too self-condemnatory.
After all, our educational leaders are presumed to have received special training for understanding the signs of the times, yet in this case they have failed us. Why is this so? A more fundamental diagnosis of the reasons for our educational inertia is certainly needed. What, then, are some of the deeper reasons that have kept our schools from facing up to the challenge of the world situation as it has developed in our time?
HISTORIC REJECTION OF THE OLD WORLD
We need to remind ourselves that the United States is a nation made up of immigrants who rejected the Old World from which they came. The words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty point up vividly this situation:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me:
I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door.
Answering this call, the immigrants who came to these shores turned their backs on the rest of the world, and identified themselves with the America of their choice. Second-generation Americans carried their rejection to its utmost point, and their acceptance of America to its patriotic limit.
In this situation it was the schools of our country that performed the miracle of making Americans out of the children of immigrants. It was a notable achievement. We are proud of the fact that American schools have for a hundred years been dedicated to the task of training ancestors rather than descendants. It is clear that we wanted new men, fitted to the new continent, not descendants. This necessity, however, cut us off from the Old World.
In like manner, when we consider the goal of social adjustment that pervades American education, we find that it arose largely because we needed to make well-adjusted Americans out of Europeans. This was the historical imperative to which we responded. But the world around us now is radically different from the one we rejected. Moreover, the process of immigration has closed down. We now need, therefore, to reorient ourselves to the new world situation and to redirect our schools toward broader goals.
There are signs that this reorientation is in process, but it must be confessed that it will be extremely difficult for our schools to take a positive and constructive approach to the world and its problems. This is because this new approach to the world involves a reversal of the deep current of rejection of the rest of the world which has characterized American educational practice up to the present. Fortunately", however, many Americans are now ready to accept the world as it exists, without undue rejection. Since this is true, educators can take up without too great delay their responsibility for the establishment of an educational system in this country that will prepare our youth to become "at home in the world." America must return to the world which created her.
CONSEQUENCES OF "BIGNESS" AND "SUCCESS"
We need to remember that the United States has achieved such a successful civilizationit is so big, so strong, so prosperousthat its citizens can hardly be expected to regard the rest of the world as anything but peripheral, foreign, and alien in a literal sense. Life in America has been such an absorbing adventure, the opportunities and resources have been so abundant, and fortune has smiled so often on this country, in war and in peace, that Americans find it very difficult to enter into the hopes and aspirations, the thoughts and perspectives, the joys and satisfactions of other peoples.
The years of our success as a Great Power make it difficult for us to comprehend what is really required of us as a Good Neighbor. Because we have been afflicted with the dizziness of success, our schools have failed to take seriously their responsibility for bringing students into touch with other peoples. They have failed to orient our youth to a world where there are now no foreigners and no aliens.
It must be recognized, however, that America is not the only ethnocentric nation in the world; there are others which suffer severely from this national disease. But our country has its distinctive variety of ethnocentricity which is our problem, and ours alone, to solve. We have grown fat on two world wars, and the period of the cold war has brought us even greater prosperity. Our military establishment now occupies a privileged position unprecedented in American history. Our people are in danger of becoming obsessed with the "military posture" recommended by our leaders. Peace has, in the meantime, become almost a subversive word. In this atmosphere our schools can hardly be expected to take up in earnest the task of making international men. A military posture directed toward an "alien" world congeals, it does not liberate, the minds and hearts of administrators and curriculum-makers.
Yet there is another face which America shows to the world, and many believe that this is the true America. It is an America that warms the hearts of mankind and calls forth the resources of good will that are not exhausted on this earth. It is an America that places itself as a partner wholeheartedly within the family of man. This is the America that can mobilize its schools for a positive and constructive program of international education for our youth that will meet the needs of our time. This is the America that can become a part of the world, that can take up in all modesty the role that befits a great nation, and that can implement in its dealings with other people the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
NEGATIVISMS AND DISTORTIONS OF ANTI-COMMUNISM
We need to face the additional fact that the American people have, for the past twelve years, been grossly oversold on the cold war. In the frozen atmosphere to which we have become accustomed, our minds have been dulled and our thinking has been distorted in many areas where clarity of thought is essential. In internal affairs we have tended to allow the mentality of McCarthyism, with its morbid fears and unhealthy practices, to threaten our historic liberties. In external affairs we have tended too often to treat our allies and other nations as pawns in a fateful game of power politics, rather than as active partners in the building of a new world.
It is no wonder that under the abnormal conditions of the cold war our educational leaders have kept their minds safely within bounds and the world at a distance. For too long our schools have remained frozen in their approach to the opportunities and requirements of the new age. Do not the American people need to be released from the paralyzing negativisms and distortions of anti-communism so that they may step forward with confidence to become a wholesome part of the new world?
It is true that communism has assumed proportions in the world that pose a threat to many of the institutions that we have cherished in the past. The rapid rise of revolutionary socialism in the Soviet Union, in China, and in other countries has brought about a shift in power relations in the world that has proved alarming for the capitalist countries where democracy has taken the forms which we prize. For these reasons, we have tended to emphasize the "threat" of communism and to neglect the genuine "challenge" which communism presents to our western institutions.
It is a distortion of our minds to become so obsessed with the threat of communism and its attendant evils that we fail to respond constructively to the challenge of this hundred years' movement, with its lessons for the reform of some of the basic weaknesses of Western society. At the same time, we recognize that this need for change also exists in reverse for the people in the communist countries, and we know that unless social, economic, and political changes take place in both worlds, there is little possibility of peaceful coexistence in the years ahead. In the final analysis, revolutionary movements, however extreme, are a protest against unwholesome conditions in the world about us, so our primary task is to keep our attention clearly focused on the new world that is yet to be built.
Our schools can be released for the building of the new worldthe only true crusadeif the distortions of anti-communism are replaced by firm confidence in the ability of Americans to identify themselves earnestly, yet not uncritically, with the hopes and aspirations of other peoples. Our schools can be a positive force in this country for preparing future citizens for their world responsibilities if the American people recover confidence in themselves and call upon their schools to move out into the new world. This educational advance requires a mandate from the people, but at present this mandate is lacking because of our fixation on the negative aspects of the cold war.
Fortunately, however, certain groups of citizens and educators are ready and eager to move forward on a broad front to institute a program of international education in our schools. This is an encouraging sign, but the fog that hinders our vision must be cleared away, and the fears that paralyze our efforts must be overcome.
POSSIBILITY OF BREAK-THROUGH
The hindrances to educational advance which we have described do not compass all the difficulties that stand in the way of instituting programs of international education in American schools. The deep currents of rejection, self-satisfaction, and distortion in American society discussed above help to explain why our schools have dragged their feet in international education. But there are other powerful cultural influences in our society that militate against the acceptance of education for international cooperation as one of the "growing edges" for American education. Only two such influences will be mentioned before facing the crucial question as to whether a break-through is possible.
As we know, America has long been pre-eminent in the field of science and technology. The preoccupation of the American people with scientific and technological development in this military age has left few reserves of energy or imagination available for the equally important cultivation of the humanities, the arts, and the social sciences as they relate to international affairs. We recall that most Americans, confronted recently by the challenge of the Sputnik era, called simply for more science and technology in our schools. This was a natural, and in some ways a legitimate response, but some educators and a number of scientists warned that science alone was not necessarily the savior. Unless scientific education is linked closely with the study of human values and social institutions in a balanced curriculum, the atmosphere in our schools and colleges will not be conducive to the development of sound international education.
Again we face the fact that in this country of ours there exist abysmal ignorance and deep-seated prejudice relative to the peoples of Asia and Africa. Since these peoples make up more than half of the world's population and now seek their rightful place in the modern world, the problem is a serious one for the United States. A recent book by Harold Robert Isaacs, Scratches on Our Mind, examines certain aspects of this situation in great detail. Until this particular ignorance can be eradicated and this prejudice toward people of color can be overcome, or at least ameliorated, international education can proceed but halfway toward its goal. The element of racial prejudice hidden in this situation is a much more serious block than most people realize to the establishment of an effective program of international education in American schools.
When we turn, in the light of the foregoing considerations, to ask ourselves whether there is a possibility of a breakthrough in international education in this country, we need not be utterly dismayed. America is still a pluralistic society, and there are many currents running through our societysome favorable, some unfavorable to such an educational advance. In recent years, many American citizens have come to an awareness of the role which America is expected to play in these critical days, and this creative minority is ready to support an international program in our schools. At the same time, an increasing number of educators are prepared to move ahead on new and exciting programs of international education, and some have already done so. A breakthrough is possible and probable, therefore, in spite of an unfavorable climate of opinion in this country, if certain groups of educators and citizens get together and demonstrate the feasibility and importance of such an advance. Schools need not follow the prevailing currents of opinion in a country as pluralistic as the United States; they can link themselves with the forward-looking elements in our society and win support for a break-through in international education. In the remaining portions of this discussion, certain promising lines for advance will be considered in some detail.
DEVELOPING TEACHERS WITH WORLD PERSPECTIVE
It will be recognized that most advances in education originate in situations where leaders are being trained to meet new needs and new conditions. This means that one place we might look for a break-through would be at college and university centers, where teachers on all levels of instruction are being trained or retrained. Since the end of World War II, millions of dollars have been poured into training programs for specialists in international affairs. The graduates of these schools of international affairs and area institutes at our universities will sooner or later serve as catalytic agents in bringing about curriculum changes on a broad front in our educational system. It is an encouraging sign that many institutions of higher education are also making international courses available for all students as well as for specialists. These developments will eventually have an effect on the curricula of elementary and secondary schools.
It is unfortunate that in most cases schools of education and teachers colleges have not been the beneficiaries of special funds for the establishment of international programs. If special funds were made available for these professional institutions, a break-through in international education would be more likely, for teacher-training institutions are the key instruments for an advance in education. Promising developments in international education are, however, taking place in certain teacher-training institutions: at Teachers College in New York City, at the University of Chicago, at Stanford University, at New Paltz in New York State, and at Newark in New Jersey, to name only a few. By and large, however, teacher-training institutions are still oriented to the traditional goal of making national men, who have little knowledge of the world about them. This situation cannot last forever. The ferment is rising, and new blood on the faculties of many teacher-training institutions will be demanding that teachers in training be oriented toward the world as well as toward the United States.
If a break-through in international education is to take place, it must happen ultimately in our teacher-training institutions. No amount of curriculum improvement on the local level will avail, unless teachers experience in their pre-service or in-service training what it means to become a part of the world. Programs of international education in our schools need teachers trained in the skills and perspectives required in the new world. This is not a Utopian dream; it is a desperate necessity which can be met only by a radical transformation of the curriculum and staff of our teacher-training institutions along international lines.
As we have suggested, there are movements directed toward this end, but at present the inertia is overwhelming and stultifying. The international influence stemming from our colleges and universities will ultimately have an effect, but it remains for some few schools of education and teachers colleges to take the lead and achieve a break-through on this critical point. Let us hope that special funds will be made available for this advance; that educational administrators will come to see that international instruction is one of the most important "growing edges" in education; and that the faculties of our teacher-training institutions will gain the skills, perspective, and confidence necessary to inspire and lead the teachers of America to become "at home in the world."
CUMULATIVE EFFECTS OF FOREIGN TRAVEL
As we look for clues to future developments, we find that foreign travel has become in recent years a serious business for many Americans. Experience abroad, especially when it is undertaken in depth, provides a reservoir of understanding that will have a profound effect upon the growth and development of international education in our schools and colleges.
We are told that over three-quarters of a million Americans, exclusive of military personnel, traveled abroad last year for long or short stays. Of this total, some 13,000 were American students enrolled in universities abroad for a whole academic year. Many of these will become the future teachers of America. Some 1,500 were faculty members engaged in teaching or research abroad. One large university reports that 173 members of its faculty were abroad last year. These figures suggest that the cumulative effect of these migrations outward into the world will do much to correct the introverted thinking of Americans who have hitherto been preoccupied with parochial concerns. A silent revolution in international understanding is now taking place on many campuses as a result of this dramatic increase in serious foreign travel.
For many years it has been the custom for school teachers to spend the summers in foreign travel. It may be questioned, however, whether this form of tourism has had much effect on the viewpoints of the individuals concerned or on the school programs in which they participated on their return. Too many teachers, like other tourists, have become "eternal spectators," looking out on a world to which they will never belong.
Foreign travel, to be an effective antidote to provincialism, requires of the individual a supreme effort to identify with the people he visits and to see with the eyes of a participant, not those of merely a spectator. It is unfortunate that many travelers return with their prejudices confirmed and their stereotypes reinforced by what they have seen, for they have looked at the world through American eyesin fact they have never left America. There are, on the other hand, those who have stayed at home, yet possess that sensitivity to and understanding of other peoples which are marks of a person who belongs to the world. Nevertheless, foreign travel remains, for those who take it seriously, a laboratory without equal for the understanding and practice of international human relations.
In our world today a vast process of transculturation is taking place as a result of the movement of many persons across national boundaries. This process has been accelerated in recent years, and intercultural exchange has been expanded this year to include participants from some of the communist countries. America has been a leader in this world-wide exchange. Our educational institutions have participated actively in extensive exchange programs, and in addition many institutions have initiated field courses with credit for students who wish to study abroad. Thus the ground is being prepared in this country for a breakthrough in international education in our schools and colleges, for sooner or later those who have traveled widely and wisely will exert a determining influence on the mental climate of our country. Wendell Willkie was not the only American who discovered that the world is now, in fact, "one world." Their number is now legion, and their influence in the near future will bring about profound changes in our educational institutions along international lines.
FOREIGN VISITORS AS RESOURCE PERSONS
There exists in the United States today an enormous yet neglected reservoir of talent for the teaching of international affairs in the tens of thousands of foreign students, teachers, and visitors now sojourning in our country. These already carefully selected visitors from many lands could well be invited to serve as informants and resource persons in the schools of this country. By this means, American youth in many American classrooms could be brought into face-to-face contact with representatives of other cultures when they study about the world.
The potential values of such a development have been dramatically confirmed at Teachers College, Columbia University, by a successful experiment conducted during the last few years. During the academic year 1956-57, arrangements were made for 107 all-day visits by foreign students to representative schools in the Greater New York Area. For each of these visits the schools paid a fee of twenty dollars, which was usually charged off as an instructional item on the budget of the school. This experiment in international friendship has convinced many schools of the rich resources available for international education in the presence of foreign students and visitors in this country.
In 1956-57, there were in our American colleges and universities some 40,000 foreign students. There were also some 1,200 foreign teachers and research scholars. In addition, there were some 7,000 foreign physicians in our medical schools and hospitals. Furthermore, each year some thousands of foreign leaders and specialists visit the United States on private or government grants. All of these visitors come to the United States to study American institutions and society, and most of them would welcome invitations to visit elementary and secondary schools to talk about their respective cultures and the world. Arrangements for such visits could well be made through the Foreign-Student Advisers located at the thousand and more colleges and universities in our land. Careful preparations need to be made for such visits in order that sound educational values may be achieved. For too long, scattered foreign visitors at our schools have been shown off as curiosities from some alien land. Now is the time for American educators to involve our many visitors in the work of our schools on an educational basis without fanfare and without artificiality.
American youth needs to be brought into firsthand contact with these talented foreign visitors in order to discover that persons from other cultures are human beings in their own right, as well as representatives of their respective cultures. These guest teachers are a "living library of people" available to the schools and colleges of our land. They would bring a dimension of reality into our classrooms, and all members of the school community would benefitthe students, the teachers, the administrators, the parents, and the guests themselves. There would be a sharing of experiences and perspectives on the common problems of humanity. The world would be brought into our classrooms, and international education would become an exciting adventure in the understanding of the world. This promising development is worthy of a trial on an extensive scale throughout the schools of this country.
IMPROVED FOREIGN-LANGUAGE TEACHING
We are witnessing at this time in the United States a rising interest in the teaching of foreign languages. This is a significant development in a country that has for so long been backward in the field of foreign languages. It was during the years of World War II that an interest in the teaching of foreign languages developed out of military necessity. New methods of teaching foreign languages used during the war were successful in training many military personnel for service abroad. At the end of the war, colleges and universities continued to experiment with intensive language courses which emphasized, among other things, oral facility. Dramatic advances in the science of linguistics had laid the foundation for these more effective methods of teaching. Many Americans began to think that the acquisition of a foreign language was not only possible but desirable. These were encouraging signs in a situation where it became obvious that if America was to become a part of the world, it would need to give much greater attention to the teaching of foreign languages in its schools and colleges.
It remained, however, for the Sputnik crisis to dramatize on a still wider scale the need for more and better teaching of foreign languages, as well as of science and mathematics. The American people, seemingly for the first time, became aware of the challenge of Soviet education, and in particular of the extent and success of Soviet instruction in foreign languages. Concurrently, the attention of many educators was drawn to the emphasis put upon foreign-language instruction in European nations, especially in the Scandinavian countries. It became clear that if America was to exercise leadership in the world today, its youth would need to acquire greater facility in foreign languages. Thus the movement for more general and effective instruction in foreign languages in our colleges and schools received an added impetus from external sources. This movement, however, is still faced with many difficulties and much inertia on the part of the public.
Among the difficulties standing in the way of a general advance, three may be briefly mentioned, First, there are still many Americans who are reluctant to capitalize on the language facilities brought over to this land by their immigrant ancestors. Fortunately, however, the extreme assimilative patterns of the past have undergone some change in recent years in the direction of placing more emphasis upon development of the distinctive cultural inheritances of our immigrant population. If this change in attitude becomes more general, our youth will begin to take pride in the language of their fathers, and foreign-language instructors in our schools will be able to build on a foundation hitherto hidden and neglected. Second, our language teachers have been accustomed to the prevailing practice in our schools of emphasizing the reading of other languages, to the neglect of oral mastery. Now that modern methods of teaching have demonstrated the importance of an early mastery of the oral aspects of foreign language, teachers will need to be reoriented and retrained along these lines. This reorientation would bring about a revolutionary change in language teaching in this country.
Third, it seems that college requirements and customs in the United States have ordained a pattern of two years of foreign language in our better secondary schools. This pattern in most cases has led nowhere. Many educators are now advocating that foreign languages be begun in our elementary schools and be continued for six years, with an early emphasis on oral facility. If this movement wins general acceptance among elementary teachers, foreign-language instruction in our schools will be greatly improved, and American youth will be on their way to becoming a part of the world through the door of language.
In summary, it becomes clear that a break-through in international education on the language front is a definite possibility, but the language potentialities of our immigrant population will need to be capitalized; our language teachers will need to place more emphasis upon oral facility in their teaching, and the movement for beginning foreign languages in the elementary school will need to gain wide acceptance throughout the country. These developments will do much to open the windows of the minds of our youth to the world about them and to bring in the day when international education will become a normal and vital element in the program of American schools.
It is significant that during the past twelve years much progress has been made in our colleges and universities in defining the nature and scope of the academic discipline known as international relations. It may be expected that this theoretical development will open up new avenues and approaches to the study of international affairs in our elementary, secondary, and teacher-training institutions.
We find that international relations, as now taught, deal with the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural relations between national states and their peoples, with the comparative systems of government and political ideology that exist in the world, and with the structure and functions of the international community and its institutions. The world may thus be approached from the study of the relationships which exist between its parts; from the study of its various parts for their own sake; and from the study of the whole as an emergent international society of men.
Programs of international education in our schools should provide for all three approaches to the world. Unfortunately, it is the last of the three approaches that is most often neglected. Thus the parts of the world and their relations to each other are studied, but not the whole of human society within which the parts function. In these days when mankind lives under the shadow of the atom bomb, the study of the whole on its own account becomes a desperate necessity. For long, mankind has been for many people an abstract term; now it can become for everyone a living reality. The "family of man" as we know it has recently been portrayed in a memorable volume of photographs; it is now appropriate that this family be studied intensively in our schools.
The teaching of international affairs in our universities has of late been characterized by a heavy dose of realism. Our schools, on the other hand, continue to teach about the world with a kind of sentimentality that avoids the harsh realities of our times. Nevertheless, there are encouraging signs that both extremes in emphasis are in process of modification. Power and might do not exhaust the full reality of man's relations to man; neither do ideas and ideals suffice to guide the affairs of man. Our schools can avoid the deceptions that go under the name of realism, as well as the illusions that are perpetuated under the guise of idealism. These are signs that many teachers on all levels of instruction have become conscious of the necessity to present to their students the full range of realities that operate in the world today.
We find again that in our universities the academic study of international relations is considered an interdisciplinary subject, which means that all departments are asked to cooperate in the teaching of international affairs, since each area of specialization has its own contribution to make to the understanding of the world. Thus, in our schools, while the social studies will carry the main responsibility for the teaching of international affairs, we will do well to expect that each division of the curriculum will place its subject matter within an international frame. No one segment of the school curriculum can carry the load of international education alone; the whole curriculum in our schools must be internationalized, as in the past it has been nationalized. A break-through in international education in our schools will take place when the teaching staff find it natural to conceive of their own specialities in international as well as in local and national terms. The day is not far distant when the conceptions of the nature and scope of international education will be better understood and more effectively implemented.
PROSPECTS FOR INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION
The considerations which have been brought forward in this discussion suggest that the prospects for international education in this country are improving with each passing year. Some of the deep-seated social and psychological resistances to educational advance in the controversial area of international affairs have been breaking down owing to the continued impact of world events and the demands for leadership that have been thrust upon this country. During the past few years, the American people have learned many lessons from their heavy involvement in world affairs, chief of which is that the United States cannot "go it alone." Furthermore, the truth of the scriptural injunction "to whom much is given, much will be required," has been vividly borne in recently upon many Americans. Many things will be required of the United States in the immediate future. These stern requirements cannot be met unless our school and college programs for international education are greatly improved and strengthened. It has often been said that we are witnessing in the world today a race between education and catastrophe. Since there is a growing realization that the catastrophe which we face will be total, education may yet have a chance to win out in this fateful race. Fortunately, in America, there are signs that many people are beginning to take seriously their responsibility for preparing themselves and their children educationally for the requirements of the new age.
It would be inadvisable, however, for educators in this country to minimize the difficulties which they will face in the promotion of international education in our schools and colleges. The all-too-pervasive influences stemming from our historic rejection of the old world, our overconfidence in past successes in war and peace, our tendency to allow anti-communism to distort our minds, our too great preoccupation with science and technology, and our ignorance and prejudices toward the non-Western world still remain as massive blocks to educational advance. Furthermore, if we carry our analysis of American society to deeper economic and political levels, it is not clear in what direction capitalism and nationalism will carry us. If the cold war is in fact a conflict between capitalism and socialism, then the goal of international education can only be the preparation of our citizens for the ultimate victory of the capitalist order. Obviously, a more reasonable approach to the economic aspects of the world struggle is needed, since neither capitalism nor socialism is fixed in the order of nature. Again, nationalism still remains the ideal and practice of modern states in the world today. National interest, narrowly conceived, continues to govern the affairs of man, admitting no morality higher than the nation. In this situation, international education can find only a sentimental justification for considering the interests of mankind. It is clear that a broader conception of the national interest is needed, since we are all parts of the whole. Taking all these considerations into account, it is only realistic to conclude that there will be many difficulties in the way of instituting effective programs of international education in our schools and colleges.
What, then, can we expect as we look forward to the next decade in international education? What are some of the promising lines of development which in time can bring about a break-through in international education in this country? It has already been pointed out that an educational advance can take place and is doing so on at least five fronts: in the training at university centers of teachers with a world view; in the cumulative effects of increased foreign travel for educational purposes; in the use of foreign students and visitors as resource persons in classroom teaching about the world; in the movement for improved foreign-language teaching; and in the development of new conceptions of the nature and scope of international education. These are all strategic fronts where success will in time bring rich results. In the final analysis, educators must keep in touch with the forward-looking elements in American society if the educational enterprise in this country is to maintain its position of leadership and influence in times of social change. Large segments of our population will give support to schools and colleges which venture forth on strategic fronts to achieve a breakthrough in international education. This dynamic relationship between schools and society will be the answer to those who ask whether schools should lead or follow society.
In conclusion, we may draw encouragement and strength from the fact that there is an America that is ready to move forward to become a part of the world. This America has much to contribute and much to learn as it enters into partnership with mankind. For long, this country has been a symbol of hope for the world. Abraham Lincoln expressed this early vision of America when he said that this is the country "which gave a hope to all the world for all future time." It is our responsibility to translate this hope into a living reality for our times. To translate this hope into modern terms, appropriate to the new and perilous conditions which we face in the world today, is no simple task. What is now required is that America stand forth as a nation resolved to become a full-fledged partner in the world. The Statue of Liberty can serve henceforth not only as a symbol of hope for those who seek these shores, but also as a symbol of fraternity, pledging the allegiance of America to the cause of mankind around the world. The prospects for international education in this country will be immeasurably improved when this positive conception of the role of America in the world becomes the accepted ideal of the American people.
1 Professor Tewksbury, who passed away on December 8, 1958, had delivered this address in the summer. It was his final masterly statement in the area in which he was so deeply interested. This issue of THE RECORD honors his memory.