WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --
"Unlike the stories so often portrayed in the news about CI programs, my education was about building bridges with language and not as a political tool." Douglas McDonald, retired administrative judge.
In a recent opinion piece, former Boston judge Douglas McDonald responded to arm-waving assertions that global educational exchange programs serve as nothing more than fronts for foreign powers political machinations- a narrative that often plays out in concerns raised about Confucius Institute programs. In the piece, McDonald speaks to the key role language played in his time teaching at Al-Hikma University in Baghdad shortly after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
"For me, language is a key that opens the door to another culture and is a way to understand other people, to become aware of similarities, as well as differences," said McDonald, who has been studying Chinese language at both the Confucius Institute at University of Massachusetts Boston and the Confucius Institute at Tufts University since 2018, before turning his attention towards this new climate of hostility towards global and cultural exchange programs as more and more Americans flirt with "America first" isolationism.
In an open letter to editors nationwide, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center opened up about the often one-sided discourse that surrounds Confucius Institute programs in the United States.
"We live in a time where innuendo is reported as fact, and the burden of proving one's innocence often only serves to generate proof of one's guilt. It's a Catch-22," said Erik Eging, a communications associate at the Center. "After a year-long investigation of CI programs, the Government Accountability Office did not find any evidence to substantiate these claims, but instead found locally controlled, autonomous programs committed to academic freedom, and American universities who controlled their Institute's curriculum. Before parroting loaded or misinformed talking points, we hope more people would take the time to talk to students-such as Judge McDonald along with many others-who have actually participated in Confucius Institute programs."
To learn more about the GAO report, click here.
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The Confucius Institute U.S. Center is a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes the value of mutual understanding between the US and China through language education and cultural exchanges. Confucius Institute programs are operated independently by host colleges and universities to prepare the next generation of leaders through language, arts, culture, and educational travel experiences. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CIUSCenter.
SOURCE Confucius Institute U.S. Center