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Project Syndicate: Bringing the World to Your Classroom

posted: 8.17.11 by Nick Carbone

I was reading a piece in Slate by Simon Johnson titled “The Tea Party’s Circular Logic: Its revolt undermines the private sector more than it reins in “big government.”” and saw that the piece came from a site new to me called Project Syndicate. So I checked it out.

It’s a site you might find useful. And addictive.

Here’s something from their about page:

Project Syndicate: the world’s pre-eminent source of original op-ed commentaries. A unique collaboration of distinguished opinion makers from every corner of the globe, Project Syndicate provides incisive perspectives on our changing world by those who are shaping its politics, economics, science, and culture. Exclusive, trenchant, unparalleled in scope and depth: Project Syndicate is truly A World of Ideas.

As of August 2011, Project Syndicate membership included 468 leading newspapers in 151 countries. Financial contributions from member papers in advanced countries support the services provided by Project Syndicate free of charge or at reduced rates to members in developing countries. Additional support comes from the Open Society Institute.

Project Syndicate provides the world’s foremost newspapers with exclusive commentaries by prominent leaders and opinion makers. It currently offers 54 monthly series and one weekly series of columns on topics ranging from economics to international affairs to science and philosophy.

Project Syndicate is committed to maintaining the broad intellectual scope and global reach that readers need to understand the issues and choices shaping their lives. As a result, Project Syndicate’s commentators reflect the world in all its variety of professions, national and cultural backgrounds, and political perspectives.

The pieces are  op-ed length, making them useful for just-in-time teaching, shorter pieces that are good for impromptu discussions or for more recent pieces that might complement issues covered in your readers if you use those types of textbooks.

You can sort by contributors and their themes. For example, Peter Singer, a bioethicist from Princeton has a series of pieces on “the ethics of life.”

One very cool series is called “The World in Words,” whose rationale is thus:

Although terms like “globalization” are invoked regularly by political leaders, public discussion about their meaning and the values they imply is mostly unsystematic and uncoordinated. Countries with common interests and concerns too often talk past each other.

That need not be so. Project Syndicate’s weekly The World in Words commentaries inform general audiences around the world of the best and most influential ideas in politics, economics, and society. They establish a vehicle for broadening debate and exchanging ideas between East and West, North and South.

I like that goal, of helping our students to not see past one another, past their fellow citizens. We know from this current recession that our fates and well beings, our economy and our cultural, our ethics and our understanding of life is tied inextricably to the world. So a site that can help bring the world to our students feels more important now than ever.

There’s really just so much in Project Syndicate to look through and work with.

Have fun exploring.

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