Primer on Raising Your International Literacy
Rather than just complaining about the lack of literacy among Americans when it comes to international issues, I’ve decided to provide a short list of ways people can learn more about what’s going on in the world beyond our borders. Not only is it crucial to understand what’s going on around the world, but it’s also pretty interesting. Why follow the 100th day of 24 hour Gary Condit coverage when you can read about things like the Prime Minister of Papua-New Guinea being deposed because he hired South African mercenaries to put down a rebellion on the island of Bougainville? Here’s the list:

  • Subscribe to National Geographic and read it.
  • Listen to the BBC World Service or The World on your local public radio station or streamed over the Internet.
  • Read a non-US newspaper of your choosing on the Web. If you’re at a loss, The Times (of London) is well respected. If you’re interested in Asia, the South China Morning Post has a good reputation, too.
  • The Economist is always a good choice, either online or on dead trees.
  • Check out Dangerous Places Web site, or buy the book online. The book, which masquerades as a travel guide, is a great primer on developing countries around the world. The chapter on the US is not to be missed, either.
  • Take a stroll through the CIA World Factbook. It’s always worth a look when you’re reading a news article about a country you’re not familiar with.
  • Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have lots of reports on how people are really doing around the world. It never hurts to look up the countries that the US government befriends.