As a child growing up, we had rigorous training in Geography and History. I still remember how every major river and key dates in history had to be learnt, and all this had to be repeated over and over again. For some reason, the only river that still sticks in my mind, in spite of all that rote learning, is the one that flows through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan called Amu Darya.
Thirty five years ago, the “privilege” of a “good education” was to allow children to know where certain countries and strange named geographical bodies were located. This was sufficient to make a child “international”. And given that most of our parents stayed in the same town their entire lives, it likely was.
How the world has changed today! Globalization is the norm! I am reminded of this everyday at home where my Eastern Slavic husband loves to eat Congee and Chapatis (flat Indian whole wheat bread). Or when I get to work at ExplorerHop.com where my team works from Russia, Philippines, South Africa and Pakistan. It would be a unique story if it wasn’t a norm all over the world.
Globalization is here and it is staying. Any kind of isolationist policies are being shelved as quickly as they arise. It is impossible to walk into Walmart and not realize that well over 80% of the goods there are made somewhere else. Children today eat everything from Tacos, to Dim Sum at school and at any large company, you will certainly be working with people from different parts of the world.
So why are our kids not prepared? Lack of Global Understanding and Awareness is the largest factor hindering the growth of our companies. Most companies simply cannot get enough staff who can manage large international projects. This translates as lost revenues for the company and lost opportunities for our kids. To put this in another way, it means our kids will earn less than they could.
In our increasingly interconnected and globalized world, global awareness should not only be a benefit but a requirement. Global Awareness sets our kids one step ahead. It allows them to make deals much easier by knowing the cultural aspects of the other person.
While earning money is certainly one of the incentives for raising global awareness, there is a more altruistic one as well. Peace. We live in a world where in spite of being so connected and dependent on each other, warning drums of war ring with alarming regularity. Global Awareness brings our diversity out front. It highlights not only what we have different but also our similarity. In doing so, it creates an understanding how all of us on earth are analogous and complementary.
Someone asked me today, why I quit working at the top of my game as a consultant to open up ExplorerHop.com. The reason is pretty straightforward. Children today, as no other point in history, need to have a solid global awareness. If we want our kids to succeed, then the best thing we can do is invest our dollars and our time to create a person who is more aware, more interested in different cultures and more likely to contribute to a peaceful and prosperous world.
Our education system focuses on Maths and Science. These are no doubt very vital skills, but without balancing our kids with a sound global awareness and international understanding, we are severely restricting their future capabilities.