Worldwide Significance: While many Americans last week were focused on the great uncertainty surrounding the presidential election, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley sought to highlight another reason the week was significant.
"I think we can all agree that this has been one of the most stirring and remarkable weeks in America in our memory," he said at the National Press Club in Washington last Thursday.
"The same subject is talked about at every office water cooler. Yes, it's safe to say that this big event—the excitement of International Education Week—has really gotten the nation talking," the secretary joked.
While International Education Week and American Education Week, which also was celebrated Nov. 13-17, may have been overshadowed by the election controversy, that did not stop Mr. Riley and many others from engaging in activities to heighten student awareness about different languages, nations, and cultures.
In fact, nearly 100 ambassadors or their senior staff members visited U.S. schools last week, Mr. Riley said, and American ambassadors did the same in other countries. En route to Brunei, President Clinton issued a proclamation Nov. 13 declaring International Education Week.
That same day, Koichuro Matsuura, the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, emphasized the need for more global education.
"The world must learn how to live and work and exist together in peace, with an appreciation for the diverse cultures and perspectives and wonderful creativity of mankind," he said at an event at the Canadian Embassy in Washington that was co-sponsored by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the American Forum for Global Education.
"Such learning is key to prosperity, opportunity, productivity, and human progress," Mr. Matsuura said.
—Erik W. Robelen
Vol. 20, Issue 12, Page 23