Secretary Arne Duncan on “International Engagement through Education”

On May 26, 2010,  U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations on “International Engagement through Education.” Read his speech and/or watch the video and Q&A online.

Sec. Duncan notes two important trends that “inform our drive to transform education in America”–international competition and international collaboration.  He also highlights the importance of international and foreign language education for American students, from K-12 through postsecondary education, “an issue that will affect our ability to compete and collaborate on the world stage.”


“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that our children receive the world-class education they deserve. We are dedicated to providing a complete education to our students—one that covers reading, writing, mathematics and science, and one that is well-rounded with the arts, history, civics, and financial literacy. One place where American schools and the rest of American society fall short is in foreign languages.

“The great Nelson Mandela has said, ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.’

“Right now, we aren’t teaching our students how to speak to the hearts of our neighbors around the globe.

“We must improve language learning and international education at all levels if our nation is to continue to lead in the global economy; to help bring security and stability to the world; and to build stronger and more productive ties with our neighbors.”

Read the entire speech: