Monday, November 8, 2010

Language champions

This is an inspiring little collection of pages at Asia Education FOundation. The quotes from Major Michael Stone are brilliant, especially from a humane military man. It would be good to get school students to debate these claims, shake students out of apathy. Michael Stone and Gen. Peter Cogsgrove ask, how do we avoid the obscenity and stupidity of war except by intelligence, respect and responsibility? We in advanced countries have responsibility to forestall misunderstanding by being able to communicate with different others in their languages. To be educated to high levels only in technical and economic matters is to deny that human cultures are rich, complex and diverse, so of course cross-cultural relationships are challenging. To refuse to make the persistent effort is obstinate ignorance that leads to the deaths in war of our children. Debate that.

Two only sample quotes:

Language skills form the foundation for ‘relationship building’, life’s greatest skill and ‘force multiplier’.

Many of the world’s problems could be dealt with peacefully if we had the skills to listen to each other. Learning each other’s Languages is critical in this regard.

1 comment:

Phil Mahnken said...

I noticed that this resource has been relocated to an AFMLTA website. Those Sophie Palavestra – Quotes are pretty convincing:
My world is smaller, people move about, most workplaces are internationalised. Trade will be in technical skills, problem-solving skills and in strategic brokerage – not in commodities. Wherever I live and work, I will certainly be mixing with others in a multi-national, multi-faith, multi-cultural setting. In this new world without borders, knowledge will be the medium of trade and knowledge of Languages the currency of exchange.

I will probably work for a multi-national firm – working across national borders, working interculturally and speaking more than one language.

By the time I am 35, more people will live in Shanghai that in the whole of the South Pacific. The Asia-Pacific will be a strong focus of my world. A Hong Kong Bank currently advertises, ‘There are three billion people in Asia. Half of them are under 25.’ They are my contemporaries. They will be my partners, as well as my competitors.