Studying the world is a daunting prospect. Not long ago, Mexican director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu created a critically-acclaimed film entitled Babel. The movie took the Biblical story of the world's confused languages (featured in Genesis 11:1-9) as a touchstone for a story about the interconnected tragedies of four different families in different parts of the world, each speaking a different language.
As any film, this one could be interpreted in many ways. But to me it underscores three things. First is that the world is ceaselessly complex. The experiences of families in far-flung regions could be multiplied by the millions and indeed billions of people and cultures that occupy the world. Second is that in spite of all this complexity and difference, we are all linked. Actions taken by governments in Canada and the United States can have an effect as far away as Tibet, Darfur, or Kandahar. The lives of people in Ethiopia or Amsterdam can have an impact on people they have never met in Shanghai or Syria. Third is that there is something profound about the way God has provided for both our diversity and our connections. Call it an ethical responsibility or a spiritual connection, but we all need to take time and think about why these differences and these connections are important.
Trinity Western University's International Studies program takes all three of these challenges seriously. We have ample opportunity to know the world in its complexity - through the study of languages, cultures, area study, foreign policy analysis, travel study, and study abroad. We seek to understand the ways in which the world is linked - through studies in international development, economics, international institutions of global governance, and through methods of communication. And finally, we take seriously the fact that there is an ethical and spiritual component by exposing students to thinking through their own ethical and spiritual call to the world through classes in philosophy, religion, and throughout our curriculum.
I recently enjoyed eating dinner with two of our graduates in a restaurant overlooking the Nile River. They were both involved in professional activities in different parts of Africa. Others are found in various places in government here in Canada. Still others are furthering their studies in Europe and North America. There is nothing more rewarding than following the careers of gifted and motivated young leaders as they seek to apply their studies - in getting to know other cultures, in bringing the people of the world together, and in reflecting upon the importance of our differences and our connections. I hope you can be a part of that too.
International Studies Coordinator