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Raising “global children” is, naturally, a global challenge, and very much an Asian challenge
Nikkei Asian Review, a new weekly English language publication that reports stories from across Asia to the world, has recently reported on a global trend that may bring challenges to Asia. This article, on American culture, and how it might be affected by the challenges of raising “global children”, shows that Asia also needs to look closely at this issue as well, especially Southeast Asia. Here is the article which was written by Curtis S. Chin.

Despite its international stature and diversity, the U.S. has paradoxically been called one of the world's most insular nations when it comes to travelling abroad or learning a second language.

The days of America's place at the forefront of status and power are drawing to a close amid dramatic global economic changes, bringing new challenges to educational policymakers, teachers and parents in the U.S. The same could be said for their counterparts in Asia.

In an insightful new book called "Raising Global Children," former corporate executive Stacie Nevadomski Berdan and her husband, Marshall S. Berdan, make clear that nurturing youngsters' ability to learn from and thrive in an increasingly interconnected world is essential to helping them compete and succeed. This begins with parents, though teachers and communities have important roles.

"Instilling a global mindset in the youth of today is now as critical to the long-term economic success of the United States as it has been for years to many smaller and less inherently self-sustainable nations -- ones who realized long ago that they could not go it alone," the authors write. This is equally true for young people in Asia and the rest of the world.

Go forth, young citizens
The Berdans' recipe for success includes greater study of foreign languages -- something many nations have embraced with mixed degrees of success. Even in cosmopolitan countries like Japan, young people are shying away from foreign academic pursuits due to costs and language barriers and, in Hong Kong, English skills have declined as young people are focusing on mastering the local Cantonese dialect as well as the Mandarin Chinese spoken in mainland China.

The need for a global mindset is being felt and changes need to be made. Consider the task facing the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations members that need to prepare their citizens for the increased competition that will come with a proposed integrated economic community, set to become a reality in 2015.

But the Berdans also make clear that achieving a global mindset entails more than mastering a language, or dialect, that is not your mother tongue.

"Of all the traits assessed in our surveys, curiosity and the ability to question things stand out as the most common -- and probably most important -- attributes needed for developing a global mindset," they write. Here too, the book's advice for parents should resonate in Asia and anywhere else where education is characterized by memorization and rote learning.

Ultimately, raising global children is about teaching them to respect others, no matter where they are from. It is, as the Berdans note, about raising awareness of the world beyond one's national borders, minimizing the fear of the unknown and encouraging critical thinking about global issues. It is about educating children that diversity of people and ideas is a strength to be leveraged, not something to be feared.

Raising global children is not just America's responsibility. It is a challenge for Asia and the rest of the world. The global mindset in the youth is somehow developing critically. Is Thailand prepared for such escalated competition?

This article was written by Curtis S. Chin who served as U.S. ambassador to the Asian Development Bank (2007-2010) under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and is managing director of advisory firm RiverPeak Group.

About Nikkei Asian Review

Nikkei Asian Review brings insights from Asia, from the inside out. As part of Nikkei, Asia’s largest independent business media group, with a 135 year history and network of over 1,300 local and international reporters on the ground in 24 bureaus across Asia, Nikkei Asian Review provides credible, comprehensive pan-Asian reporting. Designed for leaders around the world who are shaping the future of Asia, and anyone with an interest in knowing about the real Asia, Nikkei Asian Review has been created to change the way Asia is reported in the global marketplace. We report the facts about what is happening in Asia and offer insights over opinions that dig deeper into the heart of a story. Without editorial or political bias, Nikkei Asian Review tells untold stories about Asia, from Asia. You can find Nikkei Asian Review online, on mobile and tablet devices and as a weekly print edition.







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AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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