On a Happier Note

We attended the annual spring picnic at Whitman College for foreign students and their local host families.  We are the host family for a freshman student from Bulgaria, and he is one among a hundred or so from every part of the globe.  Tonight we heard remarks from graduating seniors representing Sierra Leon, Japan, Mongolia, Latvia, Spain, Germany, Laos and France.  What strikes me is how sophisticated they are, how well versed not only in their native languages and American English, but usually a couple of others as well, and how self confidently well spoken they are.  Their four years here will have engaged them with a fine education at a top liberal arts college, but also in a small and somewhat rural town where they are brought into an intimate relationship with America at its roots.  Some of them are going on to graduate school right away.  Others are off to other adventures.  Our graduating Latvian friend, for instance, with his degree in environmental studies, is going to China to help American students at a Chinese university because he is also fluent in Mandarin.  If these students, and others like them at other colleges and universities, represent the future of world leadership then I am quite optimistic about what their generation can achieve toward a more cooperative and less combative community of nations. 

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