13. Phi Beta Delta: After September 2001

The awful tragedy of September 2001 should make all of us think deeply about the world in which we want to live. Certainly without more efforts to bridge the gap between cultures, we are set on a stormy and dangerous course. There are too many prejudices and mistaken judgments, and too few efforts to break down the walls.

We need to ask ourselves what kind of thinking and would despair would motivate young people, some of whom studied in the United States, to embark on suicide missions against innocents. Confronted by other countries and other cultures, we can sense that for some of our friends and neighbors that the chances of misunderstanding grow by the day. The exotic foods become poisonous and the strange music becomes bedlam -- we demonize and all kinds of suspicions crowd out good will.

Phi Beta Delta is about understanding. Its mission is to set education on an international course, and goodness knows such a course is needed in these times. The foreign student at your college whom is befriended may be tomorrow's leader who will remember your kindness and avoid stereotyping an entire nation because you showed a human side. If more evidence of the value of international programs, international methods, and international studies were needed, then the tragedy of September 2001 should have convinced even the most doubtful that we cannot afford to live in a world where appreciation of other societies is an also ran in the curriculum. Every campus needs an active chapter of our society, and all of us need to reflect on what the alternative to international understanding could be.

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