Saturday, March 10, 2012

National Passport Day

How many times have you been sitting on your couch watching a TV game show (i.e. Who Wants to be  a Millionaire? or Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?) and wondered why many contestants have a very limited knowledge of peoples, places, and circumstances outside of the United States.  Both from within the U.S. and from many within the international community there is a strong feeling that people within the U.S. just don't know enough about our neighbors (near or far) on this planet.  In a recent article titled "Catch Up, America!", Samara Green, a high school senior in Maryland, gives a great commentary on why the U.S. educational system needs to clearly embed within its curriculum a greater focus on Global Education.  This focus is, of course, the major element of the Teachers for Global Classrooms program in which I am currently participating.

Regardless of how global in nature the education was that you received while growing up, it is never to late to learn about about the rest of the world.  As adults, one of the best ways that we can learn in person about the rest of the world is by taking the opportunity to physically travel to other lands; to literally roam the roads of lands remote.  After all, as Mark Twain once declared, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness".

Today, March 10, is being observed as National Passport Day in the United States.  It is estimated that only about 30% of Americans actually posses a passport.  And much of the reason for why this has increased within the past 3 to 4 years is due to the requirements to posses one to cross in to Canada or Mexico.

For source of this image, click here
A wonderful result that can come from the initiative of this day (and the much larger emphasis of gaining a passport) is that when people 1) get out of their comfort zones, 2) gain the appropriate documentation for international travel, and 3) actually make the effort to visit other countries is that the overall lack of understanding will give way to increased cultural knowledge.  As we develop a greater understanding of peoples in other locations we improve our abilities to interact with them.  As globalization increases each day, it becomes more and more imperative that we improve our ability to interact with others.  The long term success of so many aspects of life depend upon successful interaction with others.

So, in the spirit of National Passport Day, even though it might be too late to accomplish it today, please make every effort acquire a passport.  And once you do, then you can join me in person for a chance in the near future to roam the roads of land remote.

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