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A Multi-Polar World.

December 6th, 2008

Globalization, a force that has been shaping the political and


commercial world for most of our working lives, is entering a new
and more complex phase. It is no longer a concept exported to the
emerging world by the traditionally dominant economies of the
West. Emerging economies have grasped globalization, packaged it
up, and are, every day, sending new versions of it back to the West.
(William D. Green, Chairman § CEO, Accenture)

This is a typical statement of the business community. This


community has realized the changes that have come upon our world
because companies are more integrated and involved into the
changes brought up by globalization than other parts of society.
Schools and universities are not as quick to get along with the
changes. Many schools and universities and their academic teachers
are still more integrated into their communities, so they do not see
the changes as they can be experienced in the business
communities. History for example is mainly taught, In particular in
schools, on a national basis. Germans learn German history, French
learn French history and so on. The world has changed but not the
way students learn about the world. The new term to characterize
the changes of the past twenty years is: Multi-Polar World. It means
that the West is no more the center of this world and that Western
countries don’t dominate world politics any longer. With the rise of
Asian countries beginning with Japan at the end of the 19th century,
South-Korea, Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapur during the 1960s and
70s, then China since 20 years and nowadays India, world economy
slowly begins to change. Asia becomes more and more important.
But why should it matter to students in Europe?

There is a simple fact, we all know from our life experience. If I want
to understand another person, I have to know something about his
history. I will ask such a person many things about where he is from,
what he likes most, why his character is shaped the way it is. There
is no difference when it comes to other countries and cultures. With
no knowledge about the history of another country/culture I am like
an empty bottle. I just have no idea how to understand what is
particular or different or what we have in common. Learning about
other countries in a new Multi-Polar World means that I am better
prepared for the new world I am living in.

Many Websites promote exchanges on the basis of individuals in the


sense that they share personal values like music, films etc. But
there is another site to each of us. We are also part of a country and
a culture and we can reflect about what we learn who we are.
Opening up to other students, to become curious about what they
learn and study, read their papers bring us closer to each other.
Knowledge exchange does not start in school or university or is
limited to that. Internet technology gives us the opportunity to
exchange directly our knowledge with the knowledge of others. We
don’t have to wait for government instruction or new teachers to get
involved in our new world. It depends on us and our curiosity.