International Educator - January/February 2013 - 29
from a cardboard box to a Mercedes Benz,” Kahn said. “The woman fell to her knees and was crying.” “We are introducing a Western audience to Rwanda and those audiences are filled with assumptions—that all of Africa is filled with poor villages, that they all live in huts and don’t have Westernized things such as electricity, or that they’re all starving, fighting, and killing one another. There’s plenty of that happening in Africa, but also in the U.S. On the outskirts of the big cities, you find these children and families who have very little, but they are exceedingly happy. This idea that poverty and unhappiness go hand-in-hand is
a fallacy. You can imagine U.S. college students learn a great deal from that. They learn that what they thought was ‘poor’ really isn’t ‘poor’ at all.”
Being a “Global Citizen” Means Having Knowledge About Genocide
“Higher education institutions have a responsibility in teaching the history of the Holocaust and other genocides,” says Baer. The goal of preparing students to be global citizens can’t ignore the atrocities that happen all too frequently. “We live in an interconnected global world,” explains Baer. “Nowadays we often know very soon about events happening on the other end of the planet. It is difficult to claim today we did not know. To be a global citizen means taking seriously the challenge of this awareness. It implies the duty of understanding and of taking responsibility. This is of course not an easy thing and it is our mission, as educators, to bring this understanding closer to our students.” IE
DANA WILKIE is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C. Her last article for IE was “Promoting Peace Through Partnerships” in the January/February 2012 issue.
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