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UCLA Magazine Winter 2004
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Winter 2004
Acting Local to Think Global
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Since that time, the Department of Education has helped to establish a university-based network of some 200 federally designated National Resource Centers (NRCs) for education and research in area studies, foreign languages and international business. A key goal of this network — which includes five such NRCs based at the UCLA International Institute — is outreach to train teachers to advance the study of global regions in their classrooms.

Postgraduate teacher training is an effective and practical way to address the shortcomings of teacher preparation in the field of international studies. These training programs, ranging from intensive summer workshops to year-round teachers-as-scholars seminars that address issues critical to Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, take advantage of the inherent synergies between formative and higher education, especially in areas where curriculum and coursework intersect — from world history, international relations and global economics to multiculturalism as practiced around the world and in cosmopolitan Los Angeles.

While teachers are conveyors of knowledge about our world, students are the future generation who must interact competitively in a complex global environment. One of the best ways to provide younger students with a clear perspective on international topics is to send advanced graduate students from various global regions into the K-12 classroom.

At Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, for example, a doctoral student affiliated with the Center for Near Eastern Studies recently spoke to sophomores about Ramadan and the tenets of Islam — a topic that clearly is of significant importance at this time. Offering insights from her personal experiences in Afghanistan and the U.S., she was able to demystify Islam and provoke students to question some of their preconceptions of non-Western societies and cultures.

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