As I tell people that I’m pursuing a Global Leadership Certificate, their first questions pertain to what I’m doing and why it’s relevant to my career. Many people don’t understand the need to relate to issues all around the world, and come together as leaders to learn about them as well as from them. Since we are currently studying the Middle East, many people just can’t understand how this affects us. These are some of the biggest reasons why people choose not to study other cultures, especially the Middle East.
I just don’t get it
The conflict in the Middle East is so in depth, dating back thousands of years. It’s almost impossible to learn every single detail about the Middle East from beginning to end and become an expert overnight. As a society, when we don’t know something, we generally just quit altogether in order to avoid failure.
We can still teach ourselves what’s going on piece-by-piece, asking questions as we go. If I was to only learn one thing during my time in the GLC, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that it’s OK not to know, in fact, it’s encouraged. It’s OK to say, “I saw this piece of information, and I just have no idea what they’re talking about.” It’s important to recognize the lack of knowledge, ask questions, and then do what you can to learn about it.
It’s too distant of information
When we hear about a car bombing or air strike, we’re not there to experience the pain, the agony and the loss. We don’t have to live in fear of bombing or air raids, we’re sitting far away in the comfort of our own homes watching this on the news.
My response to this mindset is that although we are distanced, we can still bring ourselves closer to the situation. I like to imagine myself in the situation as if I was there as I digest the information. Being far away from an issue doesn’t make it any less important. As we’ve seen this semester, issues that are going on thousands and thousands of miles away can still be brought to campus and made relevant.
It doesn’t matter to me
Well to this, I simply say you’re wrong. I used to think this way too, but it does matter and it is important. Personally, I think that people who think like this generally think one of two things. One, they don’t want to learn about it because everything they see in the news is so violent. Two, they don’t understand the information and push it off. We need to look past the negative news stories and do our own research. There are so many interesting stories and discoveries in the Middle East that most people don’t know. With the good then comes the bad. Once we begin to realize through the good information that the Middle East does matter to us, we become more likely to find interest in the negative news as well.
In a way, as the uninformed students in America, we have an advantage. There’s a beauty in not knowing. The questions and uncertainty help you to dive in to each situation, learning about current events with a whole new perspective than someone who’s been following the history of the Middle East. Being uninformed is never a bad thing; it’s what you choose to do with the lack of knowledge that really matters.
Sources: ‘Blood’ bucket challenge