Thursday, February 22, 2007

International Educational Exchange as a Vehicle of Soft Power

Many scholars in the Social Sciences fail to address the role of education in their scholarship and how it connects with their discipline. This is not to say that education has a place in all social science scholarship. In a recent article by Joseph Nye Squandering the U.S. ‘Soft Power’ Edge he highlights the importance international education and cultural contacts played during the Cold War. Nye describes the three ways a nation can achieve power: “by using or threatening force, by inducing compliance with rewards, or by using soft power.” He provides examples from Yale Richmond’s work Cultural Exchange and the Cold War highlighting the significant role that academic exchanges played in enhancing American soft power. One example is that "between 1958 and 1988 fifty thousand Soviets visited the U.S. as writers, journalists, officials, musicians, athletes and academics and an even larger number of Americans went to the Soviet Union during this time period. For example, Aleksandr Yakovlev studied under political scientist David Truman at Columbia University in 1958, became a Politburo member and had much influence on Mikhail Gorbachev. Additionally, Oleg Kalugin who was a high official in the KGB is quoted as saying 'exchanges were a Trojan Horse for the Soviet Union. They played a tremendous role in the erosion of the Soviet system…They kept infecting more and more people over the years.'"[1]

A question I pose for debate is: Why is education so often left out of the discussion on the rise and fall of nations and do you agree or disagree with the importance that Nye and Richmond place on education, in this case academic exchanges, in contributing to the fall of the Soviet Union?

[1] Quotes and description taken from Joseph S. Nye. (2007) Squandering the U.S. ‘Soft Power’ Edge. International Educator, (16) 1, 4-6. Joseph S. Nye is Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Initiatives in 2006 to Increase Student Diversity in Education Abroad

Academy for Educational Development (AED) Colloquium on Diversity in Education Abroad

On May 2, 2006 the Academy for Educational Development (AED) organized a Colloquium on Diversity in Education Abroad at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Colloquium was held as part of the AED Center for Academic Partnerships new Education Abroad Initiative <>. The AED Education Abroad Initiative is lead by consultant Carl Herrin of Herrin Associates. The goals of the AED Colloquium on Diversity in Education Abroad were to[1]:

1. To advance the understanding of the underlying factors that cause certain groups of students to be underrepresented within the education abroad population;
2. To bring together a new constellation of interested stakeholders among higher education generally and international educators specifically to review, discuss, and recommend solutions to improving diversity in education abroad; and,
3. To initiate a new national effort to successfully address diversity in education abroad in the immediate future.

The Colloquium proceedings are scheduled to be published in late fall of 2006. Additionally, the keynote address by Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, President of Kalamazoo College, as well as a power point presentation and handout from the Colloquium are available online at <>.

The AED Advisory Council on Education Abroad

Eyamba G. Bokamba – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Joseph L. Brockington – Kalamazoo College
Wayne Decker – University of Arizona
Margery A. Ganz – Spelman College
Devora Grynspan – Northwestern University
Judith T. Irwin – American Association of Community Colleges
Nicole Norfles – Council for Opportunity in Education
Norman J. Peterson – Montana State University
Susan M. Thompson – University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Institute of International Education (IIE)
Advisory Council on Increasing Diversity in Education Abroad (IDEA Council)

On August 29, 2006 the Institute of International Education (IIE) announced the establishment of the IIE Advisory Council on Increasing Diversity in Education Abroad (IDEA Council) to IIENetwork members and the greater international education community. The goals of the IDEA Council will focus on analyzing current practices in the field, publicizing and marketing efforts and on financing study abroad opportunities. IDEA Council members will also work on identifying new methods of reaching underrepresented students to make study abroad a reality for all students.
IIE Advisory Council on Increasing Diversity in Education Abroad (IDEA Council)

Carole Artigiani - Global Kids, New York Ambassador Charles Baquet, III - Xavier University John Covington - Pueblo School District 60, Colorado
Margery Ganz - Spelman CollegeEvelyn Guzman - Brooklyn College of The City University of New York Julian Johnson - Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, New York José Mercadé - Glendale Community College
Nicole Norfles - The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education; Helen Ochs - Hanover College Kelli Pugh - Wayne State University Christine Vogel - AFS Intercultural Programs USA
Brian Whalen – Dickinson College and The Forum on Education Abroad

The recent initiatives of both the Academy for Educational Development and the Institute of International Education along with other major efforts such as the Project for Learning Abroad, Training, and Outreach (PLATO) lead by Gary Rhodes at Loyola Marymount University which is dedicated to increasing diversity in education abroad are leaders in this effort. The demographics of U.S. students abroad have changed little since the Institute of International Education began collecting this data for the 1993/1994 Open Doors Report. While the numbers of underrepresented students heading abroad for a portion of their higher education are increasing each year the overall percentages have remained virtually the same. Professionals in the field must make a concerted effort to increase the diversity of our students heading abroad with a minimum goal of mirroring the demographics of U.S. higher education enrollment.

[1] The three goals of the AED Colloquium on Diversity in Education Abroad were obtained from the AED Center for Academic Partnerships Education Abroad Initiative website for the Colloquium at <>.
[2] Description of IDEA Council’s goals and focus obtained from the August 29, 2006 edition of IIE.Interactive sent to IIENetwork members.