Thursday, June 12, 2008

A global conversation


Welcome to World to the Wise -- a place for international dialogue in an age of globalization.

It's a new day...as the world shrinks, there are ever-emerging dynamics that create hope, discovery, excitement -- but also enormous challenges and questions. This is a place to exchange ideas and opinions on all aspects of the global experience: travel, culture, business, etc., with a view of promoting cultural understanding and awareness in the 21st century.

I am an American. I have spent 17 years outside the United States, during which time I developed a fascination with the beauty and diversity of the nations of the world. I personally believe that each culture is endowed with God-given uniqueness and strengths, which, when brought to the international table, provide a sumptuous banquet we have only begun to experience.

Rules of Engagement:

Our purpose is not to bash any one country, ethnic group or religion. We welcome your comments -- and you are encouraged to be honest and forthright -- but remember that our end goal is increased awareness as we learn from each other -- both from our mistakes and our successes.
FIRST QUESTION:
For non-Americans: What is the biggest thing you wish Americans knew or understood in the global arena?
For Americans: What is the single richest lesson you have learned from the international community?
Let the conversation begin!

5 comments:

Drew Sanford said...

I would say that the richest lesson I have learned from other cultures in my travels, is that the glasses we view the world through from our American viewpoint often falsely taint our perceptions. We often view other cultures as moving too slow or not caring enough about what is happening in the world, where the truth is that in many cases we in America care too little about the people and family around us and too often only for the goal ahead. We would accomplish our goals and lose our famiies and our lives in the process.

Dave, I love this blog...keep it up and belssings on you and your family.

Lori said...

YAY! I'm so glad you're blogging! I can't wait to read more.

After my first trip to Uganda, I was surprised to discover that on a global scale, even the American poor are rich.

I believe that as a culture (HUGE generalization here), we don't do enough international travel--we aren't purposefully engaging in conversation outside of our largely homogenous circles.

So many of our decisions are based on what we believe to be "normal," when "normal" varies from region to region. For example, a friend from New Zealand says that women there only have their babies in hospitals if there's a medical emergency. Here in the U.S., if you don't have your baby in a hospital, you're abnormal.

Keep the dialogue going. It's necessary and beneficial for all of us! Oh, and I loved Velvet Elvis, too!

tfrank said...

Dave,
As I'm surrounded by baby gear and paraphernalia I am reminded how simply the rest of the world lives. As Americans we tend to collect so much in our lives and become almost chained to our possessions and our comfort. When visiting other countries, poor & not, I see that they're much more conservative in the way they live and I'm challenged by this way of life.

Good to see you doing what you love! Blessings!
Tim

Rob Higginbotham said...

I think the richest lesson I've learned was the question I was asked by two Serbian young men: "Do you know why your country bombed our country?"

I knew some of the reasons behind it, but none of the complexities of the issues beyond what CNN would soundbyte with catch-phrases like 'ethnic cleansing' and 'genocide.'

Sometimes it seems easier for us to bomb a country than to understand what's really going on in it.

James said...

Good questions. One of the things I have discovered is that cultural diversity is almost unending. In my many trips to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Bhutan, Cambodia, Myanmar, etc., I have seen much of that diversity and it is beautiful.

God is the one who designed the different cultures and He is actively at work in each of them. Each is significant and has something to add to the whole. I suppose that's the reason God says that in eternity there will be people from every tribe, nation, tongue and people.

Each culture has good points and bad, including the USA, of course. Each needs to be celebrated and redeemed at the same time. How boring it would be if everyone in the world was from the USA.

Jim