a series of exchanges between high school and college students from
different countries (although adults may conduct dialogues as well).
Connected via the Internet, young men and women talk about international
and local issues facing people in different countries. The exchange
is facilitated by civic culture and social science educators who
identify discussion topics, help students formulate their positions,
and teach them to look critically at the pressing issues of the
day. One should bear in mind that, in many countries, logging on
the Internet is not easy. Ideological constraints, time zone differences,
and various logistical problems complicate the task. Still, opportunities
in this area are bound to increase. CDC is looking to expand its
web site capabilities and create a global classroom environment
that would allow students and adults to engage in crosscultural
dialogues. If you or your learning institution would like to join
the crosscultural dialogues, please contact CDC
director and John Murtagh,
program coordinator overseeing crosscultural dialogues.
& 10/23: Dialogue on Terrorism took place in
the Fall of 2002. It linked students at UNLV with their counterparts
in the European University of St. Petersburg. This Internet
exchange revolved around the recent terrorist attacks in the
U.S. and Russia. Participants formulated, exchanged, and compared
their positions, following these questions:
are the motives behind the World Trade Center and Nord-Ost
are the similarities and differences between the 9/11
and 10/23 attacks?
the U.S. and Russian government responses adequate?
we go after terrorists, knowing that innocent civilians
are likely to be killed or hurt in the process?
you favor a different course of action if your loved ones
were among the hostages?
individual nations seek the U.N. approval before striking
their enemies across national borders?
if anything, can private citizens do to decrease the likelihood
you detect any differences in the way people from different
countries approach the subject of terrorism?
the dialogue change your views in any way?
students worked out a consensus position, with the dissenting
voices duly noted, after which the class opinions were posted
on the web board. The Russian students came up with a reply. Both
sides then compared and contrasted their positions, with individuals
placing their opinions directly on the web. The Dialogue
on Terrorism is posted on the web site of the European University
at St. Petersburg and the UNLV WebCT server.
United States, and the United Nations
is the topic of a crosscultural dialogue planned for the Fall
of 2003. This exchange will link U.S. students with their
coutnerparts in Germany and Russia. Participants will join
issues on the following questions:
What are the conditions under which the United Nations
authorizes one country to attack another?
Could you give examples when such an attack was consistent
with the U.N. regulations and when it was not?
Did the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council
always follow international laws when they send their
troops to other countries?
Do you think five members of the U.N. Security Council
with the veto power would have ever agreed to start a
military operation against Iraq?
What were the reasons the U.S. gave for invading Iraq,
do any of these reasons have merit, was the U.S. justified
to take military actions?
Should the U.S. have secured the NATO approval before
going to war in Iraq, can the rift between NATO members
Do you think that in the long run, the Iraqi people will
be better off with Saddam Hussein removed from power?
Some people say that the U.S., the only superpower left
in the world, is a modern-day empire -- do you agree?
If the U.S. can start war without the U.N. approval, do
other countries have the right to do the same?
Do you envision a situation when the U.S. withdraws from
the United Nations and conducts its foreign policy without
regard for international laws?
Ethics of Nuclear War and Nuclear Waste Disposal
is the subject of an exchange that will link students in Las Vegas
with the residents of Hiroshima, Japan. This
dialogue is planned for Spring of 2003.
and the Iimage of America Abroad
is another dialogue topic under consideration, and it may link
students in Las Vegas and St. Petersburg, Russia.