Recently moving from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, I’ve found that the conversation regarding a “rising Southeast Asia” is just as lively and engaging in Thailand as it was in Malaysia. One of the key drivers of this buzz is the much-anticipated launch of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of this year (more on that below). In the following post I’ll dig a little deeper into some of the unique features of the region, which I hope those unfamiliar with Southeast Asia will find useful, interesting, and perhaps a prompt for if or how to be invested in this unique area of the world.
It was a real lesson in globalization. The airplane announcement went something like this:
"The local authorities have asked us to spray the cabin to prevent the spread of disease by mosquitos. Please do not breathe in if you are allergic to spraying. And due to the recent outbreaks of Ebola, MERS, H1N1, and bird flu, please report to local authorities upon landing if you have any of the following symptoms: ..." You can imagine the list.
A recent episode of NPR’s popular broadcast Morning Edition, deplored the fact that 5.8 million young Americans are neither in school nor work. What’s more, according to the show, in some parts of the United States, “the unemployment rate among 16 to 24 year-olds is more than twice the national unemployment rate, which is currently 6.3 percent.” However, youth unemployment is not only a U.S. problem.
Htoo Htoo Wah is the head of the English Department at the Myanmar Institute of Theology, a leading Christian higher education institution in Myanmar. After spending four intense weeks as a visiting scholar at Northern Arizona University, he had a moment to reflect on his experience of U.S. higher education.
The Verizon Innovative Learning Program (VILP) has achieved yet another milestone! Forty Verizon volunteers—women employees at the Chennai and Hyderabad offices in South India—went through a kick-start workshop to begin the mentoring process for VILP girls. Through interactive, back-to-back workshops at two locations, mentors were briefed about the program, and they discussed their hopes and fears for the mentoring process. In order to develop a deeper understanding about their role as mentors, participants reflected upon occasions when they themselves had been mentored. Finally the group discussed the nuts and bolts of the mentoring process under VILP.
Trinidad and Tobago is a Caribbean nation of contrasts. A thriving oil industry and recent investments in natural gas production ensure that the twin island nation doesn't depend on sun, sand, and sea tourism to maintain its status as a developed nation. Yet, despite great wealth, significant poverty exists, with recent reports revealing that more than 20 percent of the population is living below the poverty line.
We stand now at approximately 500 days from the initial target date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals set in 1990. These goals represent the most ambitious shared aspirations of humanity the modern world ever assembled. As we take measure now of the successes and shortfalls of this global effort, redouble our efforts for real, sustained progress in these final 500 days, and establish the framework for beyond 2015, I am inspired by what has been achieved and worried about what comes next.
With the Millennium Development Goals nearing their deadline, the development sector has been rife with speculation about what the post-2015 development agenda will look like and what role, if any, higher education should play in this future outlook. So it is only appropriate that the United Nations is asking whether Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)—with their focus on offering tertiary-level courses for mass consumption—are a panacea for increasing access to tertiary education in the developing world, or whether they will instead widen the gap between those with access to higher education and those without.
Are we preparing today’s youth to be successful in the workplace? I think that is a question that we as educators should be constantly asking ourselves. Getting a good (and hopefully international) education is not enough. We need to make sure that today’s youth are getting the skills and experience to create their own futures and be successful globally. This is one of the reasons I am so proud that IIE is partnering with the Alcoa Foundation to manage their 125th anniversary initiative to support internships for youth from around the Globe.
When the current Education for All (EFA) goals expire in 2015, the pendulum of global funding for education may swing in the direction of higher education. The EFA movement—supported for over a decade by more than 160 countries and coordinated by UNESCO—has a lofty goal to “provide quality basic education for all children, youths and adults by 2015.” EFA is aligned with the educational components of the Millennium Development Goals, which include universal primary education and gender parity and empowerment of women. Higher education has not been a target of these development goals.