REMARKS OF PRESIDENT PAMELA BROOKS GANN TO
TAMMASAT UNIVERSITY, BANGKOK, THAILAND
JUNE 26, 2001
GLOBAL BRIDGES THROUGH HIGHER EDUCATION: UNITED STATES-ASIAN PARTNERSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY>
I am delighted to be with you today in this prestigious university of Thailand. I arrived in Bangkok a few days ago, and I am already enjoying a splendid visit. This morning I met with your Rector, Dr. Naris Chaiyasoot. I also want especially to thank Dr. Corrine Phuangkasem, the Dean of the Faculty of Political Science for her kindly assistance in hosting my visit to Tammasat University.
Claremont McKenna College and Thailand have a long and distinguished history together, largely through the education of a number of Thai students at our College who later returned to Thailand to make significant contributions here. Let me mention a few. Mr. Panas Simasathien graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 1954, and he is now the chairman of the University Council of Tammasat University. Dr. Sombat Chantornvong received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Claremont, and he is one of five members of your political science faculty who received their Ph.D. from Claremont. Dr. Surin Pitsuwin graduated from our College, and he is a member of the Thai Parliament and until recently, he was the Foreign Minister of Thailand.
Our two institutions are also relatively young. Tammasat University was founded in 1934, and Claremont McKenna College in 1946. The missions of our two institutions also share a great deal in common. Initially, Tammasat University was very focused on law and political science, and then business, accounting, and economics. The mission of our College is to educate future leaders in business, the professions, and politics and public affairs. We accomplish our goals through the liberal arts and with an exceptional number of our students majoring in economics, government or international relations. Many of our graduates go on to have distinguished careers in government, including holding elected public office, in heading up businesses, and in becoming distinguished members of the legal profession.
I consider myself fortunate to have been able to visit and work in Asia and Europe many times. I have taught American law and international trade in Denmark, France and China, and also at the superb Salzburg Seminar, in Salzburg, Austria. In an intensive week-long session in Hanoi, Vietnam, I taught international trade to nearly 100 officials of the Vietnam government to help them particularly understand the issues that would be arising in their bilateral trade negotiations with the United States and their broader work with ASEAN and the WTO. I also helped establish an international summer program between Duke University and the University of Hong Kong, where we conduct a month-long session on international and comparative law for participants from many different countries. I also accomplished a bilateral formal agreement between Duke University and Tsinghua University in Beijing.
I am an internationalist by training and by habits of reading and travel. It is a special privilege to be here outside of my home country.
Today, I want to discuss the topic of globalization and higher education in three parts. Since I hail from the state of California, and I am the President of one of the finest Colleges in California, I first want to address the outlook on globalization from the standpoint of California. This quite remarkable state is now the fifth largest economy in the world, and a leader in global trade with Asia and under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Second, I want to address aspects of the global leadership role of U.S. higher education. Last, I want to consider what I view to be the major ways in which colleges and universities in the United States and the distinguished universities in Asia, including Tammasat University, should work to create long-lasting partnerships in higher education. These partnerships can be the foundation for the future prosperity, political stability, and national security of our countries and the Pacific Rim.
CALIFORNIA AND GLOBALIZATION
California often holds a fascination, for better or worse, among Americans and foreigners alike. Some view California as providing a cutting-edge laboratory for many economic and societal issues. For example, how will California work with respect to race relations when no racial or ethnicity group makes up a majority? Or, how will California deal with scarcity of water and energy? California is also the entertainment capital of the world, and it is home to a large portion of the leading edge of the United States economy, including biotechnology, computing, and aerospace and defense. It is also home to a magnificent agricultural industry, as well as many of the finest universities and colleges in the world. On top of all of this, it is a state of dramatic landscapes, with the highest mountain in the lower 48 states, a lengthy Pacific coastline, and miles and miles of deserts.
Without question, California provides a splendid bridge for the United States to the rest of the world, particularly the Pacific Rim. Overall, if California were a nation, it would rank as the world’s fifth economy, after the United States as a whole, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom, but ahead of France. Los Angeles alone would rank as the world’s 16th largest economy among nations.
California is very much a cosmopolitan and global community. One in eight Americans lives in California, making a total of about 34 million people. Among these people, 47% are white, 29% are Hispanic, and 11% are Asian. For the first time ever, no racial or ethnic group forms a majority in California. It is the first big state in which this has occurred, reflecting what will also likely take place in the other big states of Texas, Florida, and New York.
California is very much oriented to Asia. The port of Los Angeles is the second busiest port in the United States. The combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach compose our largest gateway for Asian cargo. 65% of West Coast container volume and 1/3 of all container volume for the United States originates in Asia and comes through these two ports.
California is also the largest export state of the United States, with $130 billion in exports in 2000. $55.2 billion, or 42.6% of these exports went to 10 Asian destinations. Japan in California’s second largest export destination after Mexico.
California is also very much a Pacific state because of its Asian population. California is home to the largest number of Asian-Americans. Moreover, the recent 2000 census showed the Asian population in California grew 38% since 1990, most of it as a result of immigration.
California is also very much a Latino state. 1/3 of the U.S. Latino population lives in California, and 1/3 of this state-wide Latino population lives in Los Angeles County. The single largest export market for California is Mexico. Analyzing trade by regions, after Asia, NAFTA is the second largest export market for California.
Thus, California is global and inextricably linked in economic, societal, and cultural terms with many countries around the Pacific Rim.
Higher education in the United States is going through one of the most challenging periods in its history, and California is confronting the most serious challenges in higher education. Today, about 14 million students attend over 3,400 institutions of higher education. In this decade, 1.5 million more students will enroll in institutions of higher education in the United States, and 750,000, or one-half, of these new students will be in California. Can you imagine finding 750,000 new places for enrollment within 10 years? In the prestigious University of California system, plans are being implemented to increase the number of students from 147,000 to 210,000, a growth of 63,000 students, or 43%. Much of this growth will be absorbed in building one new campus in the central valley of California, and in rapid growth in the southern California locations of UC-Riverside and UC-Irvine.
California has long distinguished itself for the quality of the higher education system that it has created, housing both superb public and private institutions. One need look no farther that the private institutions of Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Southern California, and The Claremont Colleges, including Claremont McKenna College. The public University of California system is considered to be one of the most distinguished groups of public institutions of higher education in the world.
The State of California has also distinguished itself in the amount of financial support that it provides to California students who attend private institutions. The State provides a California student up to $10,000 in a scholarship grant that the student can use for an undergraduate education at any of the private colleges and universities in California. The amount of the grant is determined by the financial need of the student's family. No other state of the United States provides such generous government grants to its students. This program, called “California grants,” accomplishes two objectives. First, the state is being certain that students from families who need financial help to attend college will have the financial support to do so. Second, the state has also determined that it is cheaper for the state to give students grants to attend private institutions than to build public institutions to house all of these students.
The cosmopolitan state of California is very much a Pacific state. It has also shown extraordinarily leadership in the United States in the area of higher education, both in the quality of its institutions and in the financial support that it provides its residents to attend College. This state, and its institutions of higher education, should be at the forefront of providing bridges with higher education institutions in Asia and the Pacific Rim.
GLOBALIZATION AND HIGHER EDUCATION
In the United States, educators understand that they have a responsibility to educate our students in the context of our external environment in the world of the 21st century. What are some of the key characteristics of that environment?
- Knowledge is growing exponentially;
- the new economy places a premium on education, including analytical skills and problem solving, as well as good judgment, communication skills, teamwork and leadership;
- people will change jobs many times over a lifetime, with health improvements increasing life longevity;
- science and technology continue to be the driving force of competitive advantage, economic growth and prosperity, and quality of life and health;
- globalization means increased cross border capital flows and trade in goods and services, rapid technology transfers, real time communications and information flows, all causing more economic integration and interdependence;
- global population continues to increase rapidly, and pressures on movements of people will continue to increase due to the failure of some nations to treat their citizens well, the divide between rich and poor countries, and global communications and transportation;
- electoral democracies represent 119 of 192 nations, covering 58% of the world’s population, and liberal democracies represent 85 nations and 38% of the world’s population.
In the world that I have just described, U.S. higher education carries a tremendous responsibility for the future prosperity, political stability, and national security of the United States and for other parts of the world. I want to mention just four dimensions of U.S. higher education that contribute to these goals.
First, US institutions of higher education are committed to preparing their students for global responsibilities. Because US domestic and foreign policy must reflect the fact of globalization, students are being educated to make public policy decisions as voters and participants in a civil society that is both local and global. For example, US higher education supports globalization in preserving some of our most important core values, such as fundamental freedoms of liberty and democracy, which are reinforced by open economies and open trade. Personal liberty and democracy are important values for both moral and pragmatic reasons. Human capital is the most important asset of any country. In a modern state in a global economy, if you do not treat people well, the smartest will leave for a place that provides a tolerant and open society and equal economic opportunity.
In addition to educating persons about freedoms of liberty and democracy, U.S. higher education plays an important role in educating US students and its future voters about the benefits of open economies and free international trade. These benefits are based on the principle of comparative advantage. This proposition is true, but it is not obvious to most people. Under comparative advantage, even if one understands the importance of specialization, the costs to specialization are very specific and the benefits across society are very diffuse. Education and political leadership and courage must work together to continue to assure that foreign policy supports a global trading system.
More than ever, our students must be educated to be competent to function professionally in an international environment. One may think that such competency depends upon a focus on technocratic skills. To the contrary, in a “knowledge-based” economy, students must be better and better educated in the core areas of a liberal education. They must learn to think critically; to work through lots of information and to analyze data and texts; to formulate arguments and counterarguments; and to write and communicate well. They must be educated to move across cultures with ease, to possess social and teamwork competencies, to possess science and technology literacy, and to develop exceptional leadership skills. These are the core student learning outcomes from an undergraduate education.
Third, higher education plays a tremendous role in globalization through the conduct of soft diplomacy. One of the most effective means of assuring peace and prosperity is through what I call the “soft diplomacy” of higher education, by which faculty and students freely travel to study in other countries. The significant importation of international students into the United States is one of the most important techniques in our foreign policy toolkit. This year, over 514,000 international students studied in the United States, and well over 255,000 of these were from Asia. China had about 54,000 students, Japan about 47,000, India about 42,000, Korea about 42,000 students, and Thailand about 11,000 students studying in the United States. California had the largest number of international students, with 66,000 studying in its universities and colleges.
Many come for education in engineering and science, and many receive graduate level financial support. Much of this support is financed by U.S. government research grants, which include support for graduate students. At wealthier institutions, graduate level support is also provided from institutional sources.
Recruiting and matriculating international students is now viewed as so important to highly selective private colleges and universities, that scholarships are increasingly provided from institutional funds. For example, the very best law schools in the United States provide partial or full tuition scholarships to a limited number of international students. At the undergraduate level, private universities such as Princeton, Yale, Harvard and MIT have committed themselves to admit the best students from anywhere in the world and to provide the financial aid to enable them to attend. My own college, Claremont McKenna College, provides every year several scholarships to outstanding Asian students. Our grants for the 2001-02 academic year will be $36,500, covering all the costs of attending our college, including tuition, fees, room, board, and even health insurance.
One of the primary methods by which American undergraduate colleges and universities seek to broaden the global outlook and education of their students is through the so-called “study abroad” programs. This year, more than 130,000 US undergraduates studied outside the United States. This number is still small, because it composes less than 10% of the 1.4 million students in US institutions of higher education. Moreover, these students come disproportionately from the very highly selective colleges and universities. At Claremont McKenna College, nearly 50% of our junior class will study abroad next year, and at some of the nation’s best colleges and universities, the percentage will be as high as 70% to 80%.
It should also be noted that fewer than 10% of those who study abroad do so in Asia. Many Americans feel more comfortable in English-language speaking countries, or in countries in which Spanish or French is spoken. This reflects the general lack of education in Asian languages among American students. Although US colleges and universities have greatly strengthened the resources devoted to Asian studies over the years, we still possess a serious shortfall in the number of students being reached compared to the importance of Asia to the United States. These gaps need to be closed to pursue successfully the soft diplomacy side of US foreign policy with our Asian neighbors.
Last, U.S. higher education has a significant role to play in the U.S. and world prosperity, national security, and globalization through its superb research and teaching in science, technology, and engineering. American research universities are world leaders in these fields, which is one of the primary reasons that so many foreign students study in the United States. American liberal arts colleges also play a very important role, for we prepare a very high number of undergraduates who go on to pursue Ph.D. degrees in science because of the tremendous amount of individual attention and opportunities that they provide for undergraduates to pursue research with a faculty member.
Nevertheless, a great sense of urgency exists in the United States about the current trends in both science and technology teaching and research. We are not producing enough excellent teachers in science and mathematics to support the needs of K-12 educational levels. Studies show a gap in educational attainment in the United States relative to other wealthy nations in the fields of science and mathematics.
U.S. federal government funding for basic> scientific research has been declining, while increases are occurring in applied scientific research. A recent national bipartisan government commission concluded that if the U.S. government did not double the amount of funding for basic research, U.S. national security would be impacted negatively.
In the four ways that I have described, U.S. institutions of higher education are contributing to globalization in positive ways. I have also noted some of the challenges that lie ahead, including better funding and education in science and mathematics, and also more attention to the education of Americans about Asia and sending more American students to study in Asia. A positive future with Asia depends a very great deal on appropriately meeting these challenges.
BUILDING BRIDGES WITH ASIA
Institutions of higher education play an essential role in securing prosperity and peace in the world through taking into account the globalization of our world in the 21st century. I want to close by suggesting the tactical ways in which colleges and universities in both the United States and Asia ought to respond to globalization. We are already pursuing most of them, but our commitments must be reinforced and deepened. Our mission must be interpreted broadly to include these objectives.
- A Liberal Education. One of the most important ways in which we should address globalization is to be sure that our students are well educated in the fundamental ways of the liberal arts. Globalization demands not just a technocratic education, but instead one that takes into account history, philosophy, religious studies, and the humanities more generally. We need to have our students address the most fundamental questions of human kind and the lessons from history. They must also possess the life-long skills and habits of mind that come with such an education. These educational outcomes are based on writing and communications, critical thinking, and formulating arguments and counterarguments. It also means being educated to move across cultures with ease, to possess social and teamwork competencies, to possess science and technology literacy, and to acquire exceptional leadership skills that include a sound education in ethics. Claremont McKenna College is a liberal arts college, and our primary mission is exactly to provide such a liberal arts education. Tammasat University also focuses on the liberal arts, and you possess a fine Faculty of Liberal Arts. We both are pursuing this important educational task. It will be critical that we bridge our liberal arts efforts through joint activities of the type that I describe further below.
- More Investments in International and Area Studies. We must prepare our students for global citizenship. This educational outcome depends not only upon a liberal arts education, but it also depends upon our deepening our commitment to international studies and geographical area studies. Earlier in my remarks, I used the example of international trade. The benefits of globalization and international trade are not obvious, and it is important that we do a superb job in educating our students about their benefits. I also mentioned the inadequate investment by U.S. institutions of higher education in Asian studies. We need to do better. Similarly, Asian universities should be sure to invest adequately in American studies, particularly American government and history and western political philosophy.
- More Movement of Students and Faculty among Our Institutions. Studying globalization seriously cannot solely be done through abstract reading and conversations. We will better address the needs of our students if they can address globalization first hand by moving both students and faculty across our institutions. We are performing reasonably well with respect to the movement of Asian students to the United States. The United States is performing inadequately in getting our students to Asia. We need to raise significantly the number of students studying in Asia. We also must accomplish a great deal more with respect to moving our faculties across our institutions. Herein lies our real shortfall. The primary way to achieve this is to develop regular visiting appointments of foreign faculty to our universities. For example, visiting faculty from the United States can deepen programs here in American studies, while visiting faculty from Asia can deepen our programs in Asian studies. Through regular, repeated visits faculty can develop professional working relationships for teaching and research. For example, they can work together to develop courses that can be jointly taught, thus creating more comparative subjects for our students. We also need funding for more travel programs, in which faculty and students from a visiting university come together to study with faculty and students at the host institutions.
- Application of Information Technology.
Although I still believe
that the finest education comes through having faculty and students work
together inside and outside the classroom, we also need to learn how to use
effectively the new tools of information technology. These tools are going to permit us to perform the following
Increased amounts of information to be used for teaching and research are becoming available through the Internet. Our colleges and universities will need the information technology infrastructure by which we will deliver these digital resources to our faculty and students. One example from the United States is a project called Journal Storage or JSTOR. Through this project, the top academic journals in many disciplines are being digitized from their initial volumes through their current volumes. Universities inside and outside the United States are subscribing to the contents of these digital libraries. We are going to experience many new digital ways to share scholarship and teaching information and materials, which will greatly expand our abilities to pursue international and area studies through the increased access of important information.
We will also see the increased production of high quality courseware. This courseware will include items focused on the liberal arts and on international, comparative, and area studies. We can use this courseware to enrich our ability to teach our students about globalization and its effects.
Last, we will also see the development of teaching platforms for distance education that will be of higher quality and lower price. We are in the very early stages of the development of these platforms, but within the next five years or so, the enhanced capabilities at more affordable prices, will enable us to bridge our classes between the United States and Asia in both synchronous and asynchronous learning methodologies.
The initial work in this area has largely been focused on business and executive business education, targeting businesses and their employees. This attention has been driven by a viewpoint that business management is genuinely global and that education providers have a global market to capture. Both for-profit education companies and top-notch business schools in the United States and elsewhere are aggressively pursuing these efforts. It has been assumed in the United States that undergraduate education and the liberal arts would be last in line to be impacted by these endeavors. Perhaps these areas of higher education will come last but that does not make them less important. The opportunities for genuine liberal education aimed at the preparation of our students for global citizenship may well be one of the most laudatory goals of the application of information technology to global higher education.
A CLOSING OBSERVATION
I have tried in these remarks to set forth the following scenarios. First, that the state of California, which is now the fifth largest economy in the world is a very cosmopolitan state, and indeed is a very Asian and Pacific Rim state. Those of us in higher education working in California have every reason to deepen our relationships with our sister institutions in Asia.
Second, globalization requires all of us to address the educational needs of our students to prepare them for a global civic society. I have set forth a few basic ways in which we may build more bridges among our higher education institutions in the United States and Asia. These efforts should be a priority on both sides of the Pacific.
Indeed, I would argue that this task is one of the most important before us. It is so important that it should become a core part of our mission. Higher education, that focuses on greater student learning outcomes about globalization and our respective histories, economies, governments, and cultures, will do a very great deal to help us all pursue the goals of prosperity and human dignity.
We share these values and educational goals in common. I look forward to working with you to continue to build the important bridges between our two countries and around the Pacific Rim of which we are both a part.