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David & Glenn on: foreign language study

In their second Forbes magazine blog post, President David Skorton and Glenn Altschuler, professor of American studies, tackle America’s foreign language deficit.

They note millions of college and high school students will not study foreign languages this semester due to cuts. The demand is there, they say: “More and more students and their parents understand the need to communicate with friends and foes in other countries, and not just on our terms.”

They continue: “We should care – a lot – about our foreign language deficit. We need diplomats, intelligence and foreign policy experts, politicians, military leaders, business leaders, scientists, physicians, entrepreneurs, managers, technicians, historians, artists and writers who are proficient in languages other than English.”

Last November Skorton announced a number of actions to strengthen international education at Cornell, including calling for at least half of its undergraduates to study abroad. Currently only 27 percent study internationally, a rate far below Cornell’s peer institutions.

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