This paper draws upon doctoral dissertation research focused on transformative campus/community partnerships as well as first-hand experience as an officer in the United States Navy serving as an advisor on strategic educational initiatives in Kabul, Afghanistan. Today, military action alone cannot achieve long-term strategic goals. I believe educational partnerships are a viable, peaceful strategy to benefit both affluent and struggling countries throughout the world. This paper proposes developing a consortium of globally-minded, creative, international educational partnerships designed to share resources, assets, research, and goals for the benefit of the shared (global) community. Current trends in higher education support such an initiative. McCarthy (2007) of the University of Pennsylvania proposed strategies for pursuing “bold visions” to align institutional interests and expertise with partners throughout the world. Power (2007) of Harvard University argued that the United States needs to find new, innovative ways to relate to the rest of the world. Beebe (2007) of Washington State University directs Afghan eQuality Alliances which links institutions in Afghanistan with virtual educational mentors and partners from institutions in more affluent countries. Finally, the One Laptop Per Child program of MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte aims to virtually connect every child in the world to the internet. These trends indicate that now is a perfect time to pursue creative, sustainable, long-term educational partnerships designed to establish a communal partnership identity (Phillips, 2007) across international boundaries. The world today is engaged in an endless war on terror through perpetual military conflict. We need to begin innovatively creating an international community of educational partners collaborating to improve the quality of life of the shared international community if there is any hope of an end to the perpetual War on Terror. Establishing a network of international educational partnerships between economically challenged countries and more affluent institutions focused on promoting education, economic, and humanitarian initiatives is a worthy, achievable goal for our time.
|Keywords:||Education, Partnerships, Service-Learning, Campus-Community|
Senior Academic Advisor, Strategic Academic Initiatives, Senior Command and Staff Course (Defense Leadership College of Afghanistan), Kabul, Afghanistan
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