Thursday, January 15, 2009

Analysis of U.S. Approach to International Education Legislation

I've started preliminary research on my dissertation and I will be focusing on international education and public diplomacy and soft power. I still need to do much more research before I can narrow down my topic and formulate a question. An early observation I've made in this area follows:

Throughout the United States’ history of international education legislation and funding it is clear that soft power is an underlying objective of the federal government. The legislative language and the language used in the related literature during the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s focused more on “mutual understanding between cultures” while the language used during the 1990’s up to today has had a much stronger tone and emphasizes the benefit to U.S. “national security.” An exception to this is the National Defense Education Act of 1958 which encouraged and supported international education exchanges but the focus was more on U.S. national security and competition with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

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