In light of recent national
and international events, REED magazine invited alumni, faculty
members, and students to share their thoughts about the future.
By Richard Cellarius 58
The past year saw a significant reversal of U.S. governmental policy in
the environmental arena despite the results of poll after poll showing
that the American public strongly supports environmental protection policies.
The centerpiece issue is energy and related concerns: Americas compulsive
addiction to foreign oil; the effect of consumption of fossil fuels on
global warming and climate change; energy-related air pollutionincluding
transboundary and intercontinental spread of pollutantsand resultant
health risks from power plants, inefficient automobiles, and changing
atmospheric chemistry; and energy development proposals in the Rocky Mountain
West and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. At this writing, it is too
soon to say how the energy battles in the Congress will come out, but
environmental organizations will be lobbying as strongly as the energy
lobby, with significantly smaller resources but stronger public support
for renewable energy and greater energy efficiency.
A major event in 2002 will be the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, next August. It follows the United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development or "Earth Summit"
(Rio de Janeiro, 1992). The principal product of the Rio conference was
Agenda 21, a program of action for global sustainable development
in the 21st century. A major focus of international environmental concerns
will be the extent to which corporate globalization sets and controls
the agenda for the meeting in contrast to implementation of Agenda 21s
concept of environmentally sustainable development and development assistance.
Another issue will be the basic tenets of civil society that people must
have free access to information if they are to participate intelligently
in their government and that individuals have the right to speak and act
to protect the environment in which they live and workrights that
are under attack by governments and corporations around the world.
There have been many signs in 2001, such as the protests at the meetings
on the Free Trade Area of the Americas and World Trade Organization and
the scheduling of the WTO meeting in isolated Qatar, that the international
movement of citizens against globalization and for human rights is gaining
strength and effectiveness. WSSD will be a watershed event in this arena.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001, will continue to shape U.S. policies
in two major environmental areas. First, the federal budgets focus
on the military and homeland security will drain needed resources
from federal and state natural resource protection agencies. Second, it
appears that terrorism threats and security will continue to dominate
public policy and debate and distract public attention from the never-ending
attempts to use American and global resources for economic gain at the
cost of ecological sustainability. Again, these are both areas that will
occupy the attention of the nations major environmental protection
organizations, who will be promoting the idea that environmental protection
environmental security for America the Beautiful is a fundamental
component of national security.
|Richard Cellarius 58 is vice president
for international affairs at the Sierra Club and emeritus faculty member
at Evergreen State College.
Living though a bad year, reliving the past
By Victor A. Friedman 70
After the events in September, I received sympathy messages from Muslim
colleagues (Bosnians, Kosovars, and Turks) and now you know what
its like, too messages from Serbian and Greek colleagues.
It had already been a bad year.
On February 16 a Macedonian news team was kidnapped by armed ethnic Albanians
in Tanushevtsi, a village in Macedonia near the Kosovo border, where I
had been when I worked for the UN in 1994. In less than a month Macedonia
was at war. By the end of May, the idea of partition the so-called
realist solution, despite empirical evidence that partition
solves nothinghad gone from the conference rooms of Washington,
D.C., to the front pages of the media in Macedonia. By the time a truce
was signed in August, a country of two million had 140,000 displaced persons.
The Macedonian government tried to tie its war with the Albanian insurgents
(whom they and, at times, have branded terrorists) to the
War on Terrorism, at which local U.S. representatives in Macedonia
I spent a summer in Brezhnevs Russia after my junior year at Reed,
and I see some chilling similarities here: the ludicrous arbitrariness
of airport security (such as the confiscation of an empty milk bottle
as a potential weapon), vapid newspaper headlines (Bush
Urges Nation To Be Vigilant), reports of his high approval ratings,
the doublespeak way in which the CIA was praised while having obviously
failed in its primary mission, the rapidity with which some politicians
called for restrictions on civil rights, the disturbing attack on American
academe titled Defending Civilization, sponsored by a Washington-based
group calling itself the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.
The events of September 11 have resulted in a shift of interest eastward,
but continued attention will depend on whether or not the current focus
can produce more violence to attract news coverage. Meanwhile, the Greeks
are still blocking international recognition of Macedonia under its constitutional
name, and in Macedonia rumors of an ethnic Albanian spring offensive are
being denied while 25 percent of the population is living below the poverty
line (defined as $1.50 per day). I see no reason for optimism.
|Victor A. Friedman 70 is the Andrew
W. Mellon Professor and Chair, department of Slavic languages and literatures,
at the University of Chicago.
Leading Americas colleges into an era of
By Neal Johnson 75
The challenges facing American higher education
are as great today as at any time in our history.
Economic, technological, and demographic changes and evolving views
of the role public and private colleges and universities should play in
promoting the common good are forging new levels of competition
and collaboration between these institutions and the local, state, national,
and global communities of which they are a part.
Just this past year, for example, these institutions were buffeted by
an economic downturn more serious than the early 90s recession.
But in contrast to that slump, a number of states higher education
systems have been experiencing a double-whammy of sharply rising enrollments
especially in the fast-growing West and Southwest. At the same
time, these institutions, the nation and the world have
been gripped by new uncertainties driven by the attacks on New York and
the Pentagon, and their aftermath.
Policymakers and the public expect the most of urban campuses. They are
supposed to save public schools, clean up pollution, jump-start
new technologies, deliver improved health care, diversify the arts and
culture, and provide the engine for economic growth, argues Gregory
Jay, director of the Cultures and Communities Program at the University
of WisconsinMilwaukee. And, oh, by the way, Jay adds,
educate students from every background, age group, and preparation
level through dozens of degree programs using all media at all hours of
the day and night.
Are this countrys colleges and universities ready to navigate these
storms as well as waters yet uncharted?
An encouraging sign: schools and systems in a number of states from Kentucky
to North Dakota have begun to move aggressively to partner with policymakers
and the business community to craft a shared agenda to pin down
precisely how higher education can contribute to statewide policy goals.
After three years during which Texas colleges and universities built the
case for change, last year the states legislature adopted a comprehensive
investment package. The effort included millions of new dollars for a
public awareness campaign to promote the value of higher education, student
grants, and research and teaching programs. At the same time the state
more closely aligned its high school curriculum with college-readiness
recommendations from the postsecondary sector.
Just last January I was honored to help facilitate the Mississippi Leadership
Summit on Higher Education. The summit was the capstone to an agenda-setting
process led by Governor Ronnie Musgrove and Aubrey Patterson, chairman
and CEO of BancorpSouth. A steering committee representing the top leadership
of public and private higher education, the legislature, and the business
community worked for more than a year to develop a blueprint for jumpstarting
the states struggling educational and economic performance. This
is a great start, said the summits keynote speaker, former
Netscape president and CEO Jim Barksdale. But were going to
need a lot of leadership to accomplish these noble goals.
In Oregon and other states there has been strong leadership from system
chancellors, presidents, and public-spirited trustees from the private
sector buttressed by service learning initiatives at Reed and other
private institutions that have laid a solid foundation for breakthrough
contributions to come. As a native Northwesterner, I am quite hopeful
that a new generation of city, county, and state leaders, in partnership
with new and emerging public and private higher education leaders, will
forge a coalition that will open the doors and rewards of
world-class higher education to all of Oregons citizens.
A rising chorus of voices argues that the nation has a historic opportunity
to harness the surge of patriotism and new sense of connection between
Americans and their public institutions in support of a new commitment
to public service. Judith Ramaley, former president of Portland State
University, has gone so far as to suggest that the traditional categories
of teaching, research, and service should be recast into learning, discovery,
Who knows? Perhaps this century or even this decade could
witness a truly revolutionary new system of public and corporate incentives
designed to usher in a new era of service.
|Neal Johnson 75 is deputy executive
director of the Center for Public Higher Education Trusteeship and Governance
at the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Governing Boards of Universities
and Colleges, and edits the web-based news bulletin centerforgovernance.net.
Educating about multiculturalism
By Skip Bassford 64
I grew up in the mountains of southern Oregon
and there learned the values of rugged individualism and of neighborliness.
So it was natural that from my time at Reed onward through my career as
a philosopher I would struggle with reconciling Isaiah Berlin's two concepts
of liberty. On the one hand, individuals have the right to be free from
government interference. On the other hand, government has the obligation
to provide individuals with a social safety net sufficient for them to
develop their human potential.
The conundrum became more complex in Canada (where I now live), which
is the world's most ethnically diverse country. In Toronto more than half
the population was not born in Canada, and there are 80 different first
languages. In adopting an official multiculturalism, and embedding it
into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada has opted for the belief
that the maintenance of significant cultural diversity within a single
nation state can enrich the lives of all citizens. Of course this is only
possible if, to use David Hume's term, the sympathy we feel for friends
and neighbors can be extended to those who lead very different lives from
us. In Canada this has been achieved, at least to a significant degree,
by massive social programs, including education at all levels.
In many ways the world has come to be the same. At the same time, one
doesn't have to look far to see that there are many who are threatened
economically or culturally by globalization, and whose sense of self is
warped and diminished in response. We in North America now know intimately
how violent and grotesque their reaction can be. And while self-protection
is a moral imperative, so too is it crucial that we do our part to alleviate
the root causes.
This year's events bring home to the world the need for a proper multiculturalism,
as we have found in Canada. In higher education we must play a role by
ensuring that our students develop a critical understanding of the individual,
of culture, and of political society. This is a plea for ongoing and intensified
liberal arts education as a significant component of all undergraduate
education. But it is also a plea that that liberal arts education be relevant.
Our students need skills that will allow them to improve their economic
lot. At the university where I am president, students are most interested
in work, and we must show them the relevance of a liberal education to
that work. We in the liberal arts must recognize that the critical perspective
we seek to instill should inform all aspects of our students' lives, both
personal and professional.
And we shall have to keep our fingers crossed.
|Skip Bassford 64 has been president
of the University College of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada,
since 1988. He researches and teaches medical ethics, political theory,
and the philosophy of law.