Archive for the 'Global Culture' Category

Apr 27 2005

Studying Abroad Offers Diverse Experiences

With more and more college graduates entering the “real world” each year, it’s becoming harder to stand out on resumes and applications. USF’s study abroad program gives students the opportunity to get an upper hand on the competition at an affordable price.

“In this global world and international market place, every employer or graduate school, professional school, everyone is looking to hire or to take into their graduate studies programs people with international dimension to their education,” said James D. Pulos, assistant director of study abroad. “In reality, having done an international program, short term, summer or full semester, makes a student more marketable. It puts them at the top of every employer’s list. It’s one of the most important things now — the diversity issue, having internationalization. It’s a way to actually quantify it on your transcript.

“It’s a wonderful experience to travel overseas and backpack through Europe, but you can’t necessarily show that to an employer. If you can show them a transcript, you can quantify it. Soon, people will be in the minority if they don’t have an international dimension to their education,” Pulos said

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Apr 27 2005

Globalization and its Discontents

Published by under Global Culture

It is widely believed that the Chinese are eating our lunch. Their factories hum and belch smoke, while ours go silent and send up weeds in the parking lot. This phenomenon is commonly called “globalization.” But it is also commonly misunderstood.

In the reverie of modern Americans, globalization means the rest of the world sends you things you don’t have to pay for. The burden of today’s little essay is two-fold. The first part is easy; we point out that anyone who thinks such a thing is a fool. The second point is harder – and more important.

The world has been globalized for a long time. An Englishman in 1910 could sit in his parlor off St. James Park and drink tea that came all the way from Ceylon in cups that came all the way from China. Then, putting down his drink, he could pick up a Cuban cigar, put it to his lips…and perhaps sprinkle a few ashes on the carpet that he had bought in Egypt…or the leather boots he had ordered from a shop down the street that sold Italian goods. He could buy stocks in New York as easily as he could pick up oranges from Spain or the latest French novels to make their way across the channel.

But as Niall Ferguson points out in the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, globalization is not without its disappointments. In 1910, England had been a great world power…and one of the world’s greatest economies…for two centuries. But global competition had recently edged the British out of the top spot. American GDP surpassed it at the turn of the century. Germany marched by a few years later. Relatively, England, that “weary Titan,” was in decline.

Still, why would the English complain? They lived well – perhaps better than anyone else. Even if they didn’t, they thought they did. The rest of the world was content too. People liked buying and selling. People in Europe liked globalization, because it brought them oranges in the wintertime. People in the warm latitudes liked it – now they had someone to sell their oranges to. Even then, people spoke of the “annihilation of distance,” and assumed that more miles would be destroyed in the years to come.

Globalization is nothing more than the extension of the division of labor across international boundaries. Our little village in France has the vestiges of a self-contained community. As recently as the end of WWII, almost everything people needed was produced right there. The farms grew wheat. Farmers raised vegetables…and cows…pigs…chickens. There was a machine shop…a forge…a woodworking atelier. There still remain the ‘Versailles’ boxes, in which lemon trees were planted. The boxes allowed the trees to be moved into heated space in the winter. Otherwise, they would freeze and die.

But as distance was annihilated, commerce in lemons was born. There was no longer any need to plant lemon trees in transportable wooden boxes when the lemons themselves could be shipped, quickly and cheaply, by the millions. One country can produce lemons. Another can produce machine gun cartridges.

Individuals…towns…enterprises…regions…can divide up the labor, work more efficiently, and produce more things at lower cost. Everyone involved gets a little richer.

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Apr 27 2005

Filipino Band’s Success in Vietnam Suggests Nation’s Multicultural Ease

Published by under Global Culture

It may not be the height of cultural globalization, but it must be close – a Filipino trio of guitars and bass belting out 1960s Latin and pop tunes in perfect Spanish on a steamy tropical night in a communist Asian country on the hotel rooftop restaurant that was once the wartime haunt of U.S. officers, GIs and news correspondents.

Their names are Ludovico Mendoza, Raulico Pelaez and Constantino Cinco, and – after being spotted in a Manila hotel lounge by the general manager of the Saigon Prince Hotel – they have been plying their trade in Vietnam for the past 10 years.

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Apr 27 2005

This Tourney Seems Lost in Translation

Published by under Global Culture

When it comes to golf, 1.3 billion Chinese can’t be wrong, can they?

Well, mostly yeah, apparently.

The European Tour has five events scheduled in China this year, an attempt to bring the world’s most populous nation into the golfing fold, whether the residents are ready or not.

Last week at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Beijing, overall attendance seemed fairly sparse, yet interruptions by camera-toting fans were plentiful and winner Adam Scott bravely fielded questions from the star-struck and confused media on issues that were downright comical.

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Apr 27 2005

Lost in (Russian) Translation

Published by under Global Culture

Some 45 years ago, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev paid his first visit to the United States. It was a turbulent encounter for both Khrushchev and Americans. Khrushchev scoffed at American economic prosperity, deplored Hollywood’s tastelessness, and predicted communism would bury capitalism. (Some prediction!)

Seeking to deflect criticism of Russia’s lack of freedoms, he was on the offensive. At a state dinner hosted by President Eisenhower, Khrushchev got into an exchange with Vice President Nixon about the US press, suggesting that it was a submissive handmaiden of the American government. Present in the room was the editor of The Christian Science Monitor, Erwin Canham. Pointing to Canham, Nixon explained that he couldn’t possibly control the editorial policy of the Monitor, Canham’s newspaper. Khrushchev responded dismissively: “I don’t believe you.”

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Incredibly, almost half a century later, Russia’s current leader, Vladimir Putin, was as similarly defensive about Russia’s lack of media independence, and as similarly lacking in his understanding of American freedoms. At his meeting in Europe with President Bush earlier this year, President Putin argued that if the US press was so free, how come Mr. Bush had been able to get rid of Dan Rather and those other pesky CBS reporters? The Russian’s apparent belief that in the US, the president could fire reporters filled Bush and his staff with incredulity.

These two little anecdotes, more than four decades apart, underline a continuing lack of comprehension at high Russian levels of what democracy really means, and how it works.

It is a misunderstanding that bedevils the US-Russian relationship as Bush preaches the values of democracy, and Putin proclaims them but edges away from practicing them.

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Apr 26 2005

The Scoop on Sleep Presented in Survey

The United States is in the top 10 when it comes to getting little sleep, with 19 percent of the population logging 6 hours or less during the week. That’s among findings of a new study of sleep habits conducted by ACNielsen.

The study, which looked beyond the United States, found this country is a nation of night owls and early birds. More than a third of U.S. adults go to bed after midnight during the week, while nearly the same number are out of bed by 6 a.m.

“The Internet, laptop computers, PDAs, cell phones, and ever-rising expectations about what one can get done in a day have created a 24/7 global culture,” stated ACNielsen spokesman Tom Markert.

The research organization cited National Institutes of Health estimates that some 70 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder. The survey was conducted over the Internet in 28 global markets and involved more than 14,000 adults.

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Apr 25 2005

New Pope Says Thanks, Overlooks Hispanic Faithful

Published by under Global Culture

Although the pontiff is said to have excellent foreign-language skills, the absence of any comments in Spanish perplexed reporters and photographers who were granted access to the new pope’s first public address.

To the bewilderment of journalists from Latin America, where most of the world’s Catholics live; he neglected to say any words in Spanish.

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Talk about pressure! Not only is the new Pope expected to speak multiple languages, but he’s also expected to remember to use them when he makes public addresses.

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Apr 25 2005

Quietly sprouting: A European Identity

Published by under Global Culture

Jorgo Riss was born and raised in Germany: He has a weakness for bratwurst and a thoroughly Germanic seriousness about issues like solar power. But he also has an Italian casualness about punctuality and loves his 5 o’clock tea, a habit he picked up in London.

“I feel European rather than German,” said Riss, 34, who has lived in five European countries, speaks five languages and now runs Greenpeace’s office in Brussels. “I feel at home anywhere in Europe.”

A year after 10 new members joined the European Union, euroskepticism and doubts about the new European constitution may be dominating headlines. But beyond politics and institutional battles, the everyday reality of Europe’s open borders is quietly forging a European identity.

A growing number of young Europeans like Riss study, work and date across the Continent. Unlike their parents, who grew up within the confines of nationhood, they are multilingual and multicultural.

Most of the EU citizens who say they feel “European” still rank their national identity higher than their European one, opinion polls show. But among those aged 21 to 35, almost a third say they feel more European than German, French or Italian, according to a survey by Time magazine in 2001.

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Apr 25 2005

Think Global: Public Radio Producers Unite to Lead a Worldwide Conversation on Living in a Global Society

Published by under Global Culture

Public Radio Stations Nationwide Will Broadcast Documentaries, Features, Commentaries, Global Call-Ins and Public Forums on Topics Ranging from the Environment and Economics to Migration and MusicMay 16-22 On the Air; Online

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Apr 25 2005

American Graduate School of Management Adds Globalization Focus to Online Executive MBA

A London Business School survey of over 100 CEOs found strong demand for MBA graduates with global awareness and experience. “For our end-users,” the report found, “global business is more than a political discussion point, marketing mantra, or corporate aspiration; it is a burgeoning day-to-day reality.” In response to this market demand and increased interest by its students, American Graduate School of Management (AGSM) is introducing an International Option to its Executive MBA Program.

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Apr 22 2005

A Conversation with Thomas L. Friedman

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has a brilliant–and very helpful–ability to identify the patterns at the heart of the most complex world situations, without losing the human voices of the people involved. Over a dozen years after its publication, From Beirut to Jerusalem remains one of the most valuable accounts of Arab-Israeli relations, and in The Lexus and the Olive Tree, he redefined how we thought about the new forces of globalization and the old ties of nation and tradition (and, along the way, introduced the “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention,” which pointed out that no countries that both had a McDonald’s had ever gone to war with each other). Like most of us, he spent the first years of the new millennium focused again on the Middle East, where it seemed as though the main drama of the age was being played out. But a visit to Bangalore, India, in early 2004 made him suddenly aware that the real story was happening on the other side of the globe, as the vast and ambitious populations of India and China began to enter the global marketplace as full-fledged participants, taking advantage of systems of communications, production, and distribution that can connect the entire globe instantaneously. “The world is flat,” he realized, and he immediately knew he had to write about it. In an email and phone exchange between Seattle and the various stops on Friedman’s travels, senior editor Tom Nissley asked him to explain just what has made our world flat, and what that might lead to.

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Apr 21 2005

The World Is Flat

Tom’s done it again! If you’ve read The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, you know all about the keen insights of Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas L. Friedman. In The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Tom once again brings to light the plain truth about globalization. Read it and discover for yourself where we’re headed. Overlook it at peril of obsolescence.

Also by Thomas L. Friedman: From Beirut to Jerusalem (winner of the National Book Award) and Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism.

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Feb 07 2005

Does Cultural Diversity Require Exceptions?

The idea of promoting cultural diversity around the world sounds reasonable enough. It recognizes that everyone profits from the free flow of ideas, words and images. It encourages preservation of, say, indigenous traditions and minority languages. It treats the cultures of rich and poor countries as equals. And, most topically, it offers a healthy antidote to cultural homogeneity.

Try turning this seemingly straightforward idea into an international treaty, however, and things soon become complicated. Since October 2003, the 190 members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization have been working on what is provisionally called the Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expression. It is meant to be approved by consensus this fall, but don’t count on it. There is still no agreement on the convention’s final name.

That, though, is a minor issue compared with more fundamental differences. Led by France and Canada, a majority of countries are asserting the right of governments to safeguard, promote and even protect their cultures from outside competition. Opposing them, a smaller group led by the United States argues that cultural diversity would best flourish in the freedom of the globalized economy.

A fresh bid to break the deadlock is under way at the headquarters of Unesco in Paris, where delegates and experts are wrestling with hundreds of proposed amendments to the convention’s first draft. Yet the more they advance toward concrete definitions, some delegates believe, the less likely they are to reach consensus.

The reason is simple: Behind the idealistic screen of cultural diversity, weighty economic and political issues are at stake.

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Feb 06 2005

Cultural Moment Lost in Translation: Lives as Seen in the Shadow of Tiananmen Square Become Ancient History

The pace of change in China during the last 15 years has been extraordinarily fast; the pace at which its literature reaches us in translation, shamefully slow. Chinese dissident writer Ma Jian is known in the English-speaking world for his award-winning travel memoir of rural China in the 1980s, Red Dust.

Since the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong in 1997, he has been living with his partner and translator in London. The Noodle Maker, the first of Jian’s novels to appear in English, is set soon after the events of Tiananmen Square in 1989, already ancient history to today’s young entrepreneurs, artists and university students.

Reading The Noodle Maker has some of the blurred effect of a time-lapse photograph — it is a hard-hitting satire of a cultural moment that has come and gone. Only a reviewer intimate with today’s China could judge to what extent its critique is still sharp.

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Feb 05 2005

Art World Trend: Globalization of Museums

Published by under Global Culture

A strong trend toward globalization of major museums is emerging as the 21st century unfolds with institutions establishing branches in their home countries and abroad or planning to do so in the near future.

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