Foriegn Languages:Should foreign aid workers know one?

Shannon Goins (
27 Nov 1995 07:11:01 GMT

I am interested in opinions about the ability of foreign aid workers to
speak the language of the people with whom they work. It is my opinion
that this is non-negotiable.

What are your opinions concerning the fact that learning a foreign langauge
shows respect for other cultures, in particular non-western ones, who are
at risk of being overrun by the 'West'?

I believe that in many cases, an ironical phenomenon takes place in that
when we, as western foreign aid workers, show respect for traditionally
non-western cultures, then we are as well conferring a sense of equality
with the western world. And, whether we like it or not, the west is held
as a role model, particularly by youth in these traditionally non-western

I would argue that this sense of pride which they find in their 'acceptance'
by the west will be that which helps to combat the rejection of 'outdated'
and 'backward' traditional cultural values in favor of western ones. I
believe that it is this pride which has the power to safeguard cultural

Would anyone care to comment?

My address is:


Shannon Goins