What’s Happening Where? And Who Cares?

 Whenever I visit or write about countries in the far reaches of the world, I am always amazed about how pervasive American culture is. That if, you moved a rock, the lizard would ask, “Do you know Michael Jackson (Or Jordan)?” The other thing that strikes me is that in life and death political affairs – matters of who eats or starve, who dies, who is imprisoned because of their beliefs or what they’ve published – there is no luxury of buffer in developing countries.  What happens in the West – particularly in the US – matters hugely and impacts individuals and circumstances.   If for no other reason that this, international communication matters and its role will continue to evolve a grow larger in the ensuing years.

Undoubtedly, international communication has evolved in international relations over the past 50 years.  In fact, as the world changes rapidly as a result of mass immigration, technological innovation, ecological changes, food availaibility etc. conflict and displacements, cross-cultural communication has taken a seminal role.  Why are wars fought? How do we mitigate disasters that render borders obsolete? How do we negotiate and sustain peace? How are actors and nation states As a journalist, I am increasingly aware of how events and circumstances in far flung countries  – Nigeria, Malayasia, Ghana, India, Mexico – are intricable linked and  impacted by what happens in the US and vice versa.  Consequently, international relations and international communications are interconnected and the latter is essential in enabling international development, sustainability, public policy and other essential areas. From the 1960s through the Cold war to present day, communication is teh conduitthrough which numerous international relations disciplines intertwine and play out in real world terms.  It remains, as Weaver states, tehonly discipline through which many of the above questions can be answered.

As Weaver discusses, many of the early international communication theorists posited that “dominant paradigm” of Westernizing emerging nations is teh best and only realy solution. We are quickly realizing that development assistance and western dominationst does not mean sanitizing “ethnic culture” and stripping them of valuable local industries to say nothing of their dignity and economic autonomy and certainly does not mean globalization (wait, isn’t that the same thing, really?) Smaller nations are slowly realizing that the western paradign doesn’t necessary work for the West (failing banks, deregulation, anyone?) and want no parts of it.  Meaningful. This will instance, help heads of governments and multinational players comprehend the inherent worries of using areas in Ghana and the Congo as a dumping ground for technological waste, that these nations teh flavor of the month bubble gum for the US and other nations to chew, use up and discard.  There are myriad ways in which teh domino effects of whathappens in border towns and obscure villages and urban areas affects the US. But first, in order to understant each other, we must first start the conversation.

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About inteltakeover

This blog is written and maintained by of a group of graduate students in the International Communication program at American University's School of International Service.
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