Wednesday, January 14, 2009

International Education and the “Quiet Game”

I just read with much interest a January 9th post on the U.S. Department of State blog DIPNOTE written by Melvin Hall that was promoting their National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. The NSLI-Y program provides U.S. youth, between the ages of 15 and 18, funding to study Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Turkish overseas for a summer, semester or academic year. While this program is very interesting and worthy of its own blog post I was introduced to the very interesting concept of the “Quiet Game.” In contrast to the “Great Game” which Hall quotes as “the struggle that takes place between states, nations, political groups, and national leaders for power and influence”[1], the “Quite Game” is the “everyday game of life where families get up in the morning, have plans for themselves, their children.”[2] Hall ties the “Quiet Game” nicely to international education exchanges and states that “when we engage in the ‘Quiet Game’ with people from around the world, we take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to learn about their individual aspirations and dreams for their families and children…engaging in the ‘Quiet Game’ with our counterparts from around the world requires commitment –commitment to seek out cross-cultural encounters, commitment to learn someone else’s language, and commitment to live for an extended period of time in another culture.” You can learn more about the “Quiet Game” in A Political Economy of the Middle East (3rd Edition, 2007) by Alan Richards and John Waterbury.

[1] Quote from Djavad Salehi-Isfhani’s discussion during the Brookings Institution November 10, 2008 proceedings on Arab Youth Between Hope and Disillusionment: Toward a New U.S. Strategy in the Middle East, p. 40.[2] Ibid

1 comment:

  1. The quiet game is a very interesting concept and where international exchanges have their most long-lasting and far-reaching impacts. Long after the study abroad program is over and the student (or adult) has moved on with their life, a good host family relationship or friendship can endure. I would definitely be interested in exploring this concept further in professional discussions (discussion groups, conferences, papers, etc.). Thanks for pointing it out!