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Elian Gonzalez could become the new poster boy for the “global education” movement if he and his entourage are moved from the Wye Plantation in Maryland to a Washington housing facility run by
Youth For Understanding.
The Miami Herald reports today that the 6-year-old Cuban refugee, his parents and entourage of guests may leave the secluded estate where they have lived for a month – and the YFU center is a leading contender.
Government sources told the Herald that one reason behind the move would be to skirt a rule that forces Cuban diplomats to report to the State Department every time they travel anywhere 25 miles outside of Washington.
“Since Juan Miguel and Elian’s move to Wye last month, diplomats have logged dozens of trips to Wye — each one reported to unfriendly Republican lawmakers,” the newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Youth For Understanding bills itself as a student exchange program and promoter of “global educaton” in “today’s multicultural, interconnected world.”
“Youth For Understanding (YFU) International Exchange prepares young people for their responsibilities and opportunities in a changing, interdependent world,” reads the group’s mission statement. “YFU exemplifies excellence through leadership in the field of exchange. Our national organizations share a common mission and vision for the future. Fully autonomous, we embrace our interdependence.”
What is Global Education? YFU defines it as following: “Global education is known as the set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that prepare individuals to live and compete in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected, and fast changing global society.”
The group cites the controversial U.S. national education plan, “Goals 2000,” as evidence of global education’s important role for the future. The plan, parts of which have been repealed by Congress, remains under attack by some groups, which say it endorses a broad array of social spending initiatives well beyond education and promotes a one-size-fits-all federal bureaucratic approach to schooling in America.
“Global education is central to the national educational goals as specifically addressed in three of the eight items outlined in the objectives of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act,” states FYU literature.
YFU claims its brand of global education offers the following benefits to participants:
- improves cross-cultural attitudes, reduces prejudice, and corrects stereotypes;
- develops personal traits which enhance appreciation and respect for other cultures;
- enhances cross-cultural skills;
- develops leadership skills and international involvement;
YFU was honored last October for “furthering the ideals of the United Nations.”
The Gonzalez family went to Wye shortly after Elian was taken by force from his Miami relatives.