~I would like to establish a non-profit organization to create Citizens of the World out of today’s youth via linguistic, cultural, and artistic Creative Education.
We live in a world of globalization full of multicultural societies and crossing boundaries. English is the international language, the internet is the main form of communication and the sharing of information, and there are many who have access to both in Israel, as in the rest of the world.
Yet, for Israeli youth, English instruction is of low quality, as well as the study of other languages, and exposure to other cultures. Despite mandatory English instruction in schools, Israelis either struggle with the language or have learned to pass examinations but not to communicate. Only those who can afford it will supplement the deficiencies of the Israeli education system via private lessons, attending language schools, university studies, or traveling abroad. Living in the heart of the Middle East and among Arabic speakers, most Israelis do not know Arabic and likewise, many Arab-Israelis do not know Hebrew. In this immigrant society, many never learn the language of the other, be it Russian or Amharic. Finally, for a country in the international spotlight- Jerusalem in particular, a hub of tourists, pilgrims, and international students- Israelis are surprisingly unknowledgeable, in general, of other cultures.
Worldly creative education is the solution. I propose establishing an after-school program, as part of a non-profit organization, that would create Citizens of the World out of today’s youth and opportunities for intercultural interaction via linguistic, cultural, and artistic Creative Education. If the next generation of Israelis is the one to bring about coexistence and tolerance, they must acquire understanding outside the bubble of the conflicts of this region. If they are to be academically competitive and potential international leaders they must not only communicate in English well, but learn other pertinent languages of the world such as Arabic, Russian, and Korean or Chinese. The time has come to not focus on English only, for the greatest ideas of the world do not lie in only one language. Only interactive knowledge, particularly cultural and linguistic, can simultaneously break down the imagined barriers of separation and celebrate diversity.
In Jerusalem initially, such a program would require the study of a minimum of two ‘other’ languages of the region, such as Russian and Arabic, in addition to English as necessary. Students would learn of various cultures in language courses and from artistic courses including but not limited to: music, dance, photography, film, painting, sculpture, jewelry making. Advanced language students would learn literature, poetry, and song. Geography would be sprinkled with history and older students would be taught leadership and mediation skills. This creative education aspires to include field trips, summer/vacation programs and study abroad programs.
In the short-term, this program would create well-educated, multilingual, knowledgeable, culturally aware, cultivated, informed, creative, young citizens of the world with a unique edge for getting accepted into prestigious universities and internships worldwide. In the long-term, the graduates of such a program would become leaders who promote peaceful conflict resolution, participants of tolerant societies, and advocates of coexistence.
It really should start from here, the ‘center’ of the world.