Shaping Minds, Bridging Cultures
As of this writing, there are 195 countries in the world. I’ve been fortunate to visit over 60 of them, yet there are entire continents I have not yet visited. Africa, Asia, and Europe have high concentrations of independent countries. Americans often think of Africa as one place or a continent with only a few countries—there are over 50.
Evolution of Postgraduate Education
Last week, I had the occasion to attend the graduation of our daughter Jillian from her Master’s program. The student population drew from over 100 countries. What do these students know about advanced education in the United States? I observe a few takeaways:
- Delivery methods of postgraduate education are highly advanced and no longer require physical presence in a classroom.
- Over the past 100 years, education delivery for adults has evolved through night classes, correspondence courses, executive weekend formats, large classrooms via conference calls, remote video transmission, remote video conferences (2-way and multi-way), and hybrids of all of the above.
- The desire to improve oneself continues to burn no matter where you call home; lifelong learning is not just a tagline.
- An advanced degree from a US school still signifies intangibles that once enhance one’s knowledge, influence, and marketability.
During the graduation ceremony, I was impressed by the professional narrator’s ability to pronounce even the most unfamiliar names. Many African names combine letters in ways that are uncommon to an American, and we often need to hear it more than once for our brains to process the combinations. There were many graduates of African descent.
Global Perspectives: China’s Influence in Africa
China has understood the rise of Africa for decades and has made significant investments to secure land, mineral rights, and influence throughout the continent. The United States has primarily paid lip service to the rise of Africa, notably establishing a Combatant Command called United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and locating its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany!
We are living in a tumultuous time, or at least it appears as such. I contend the world has always been turbulent; we just have access to more (not better) information that moves faster than ever. “News” is amplified at the speed of social media. In many of my recent comments to news outlets and podcasts, I observe that the United States faces a new choice to confirm its place globally. Countless challenges are testing our national resolve on the international stage.
Back to graduation. The ceremony felt like a bit of a renewal. It is a touchstone of the accomplishments of the graduates but also a reminder that with advanced education comes a responsibility to fully participate in the world’s challenges.
Super Tuesday and Engaging with the Politics
The United States is racing toward Super Tuesday, March 5th, a time when the presidential election will officially clarify for some. Recall in 2020, Super Tuesday is when then-candidate Biden broke through the pack after a very weak start to the race. The idea of Super Tuesday is to consolidate votes to the degree that subsequent campaign and funding activities focus on one candidate, ideally strengthening the impact of limited resources within a party.
Given the clarifying moment upon us, most are still largely disengaged except in a superficial way. How engaged are you right now? Do you believe it matters?
I’m concerned that voters’ concrete opinions of the moment are based on too little information that has moved too quickly without their independent confirmation. Education in all forms is a way to learn how to frame and evaluate challenges and facts.
For a copy of my book, Pitching the Big Top: How to Master the 3-Ring® Circus of Federal Sales, and more information on federal sales, visit Capitol Integration.