Publication Date

Spring 5-24-2017

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Ray Young

Abstract

Since the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the ensuing degradation of relations between the Arab world and the West, tensions between these two regions have escalated on nearly every level of society. Popular cultural and media in the United States is flooded with references to radical Islamic terrorism, and the entertainment industry has reinforced the more prejudicial sentiments of Americans through a constant stream of television programs and feature films glorifying American military involvement in the region and those at home who combat this apparent plague on daily American life. Likewise across the Middle East and North Africa, students who take in Western and local media have become disillusioned with the West. They are trapped between an destabilizing region and a region that seems to fear them.

The Summer of Culture: Jordan program is a joint initiative between the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), King’s Academy in Jordan, and several public school districts in rural Pennsylvania. Through a hybrid curriculum that combines numerous theories on individual and group development with a use of communications technology and group dialogue facilitation, the program aims to address cultural prejudice and provide students with a safe space in which to explore their own stereotypes and misconceptions of their international peers.

This pilot program will challenge students to learn about another culture, process that learning through first-hand experience, and then share their conclusions with others through guided reflection and dialogue. Upon completion of the program, students will engage their communities to become advocates for cultural learning and openness. Through the experiences of these students, communities will start the slow process of becoming more aware of cultural reality in the face of global alarmism, and eventually, these global citizens may guide their countries towards renewed friendship.

Disciplines

International and Comparative Education

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