|Dan, Ambassador Kmiec and Mark Bielang at reception.|
Valletta, Malta – AASA’s 36th Invitational International Seminar on Schooling was comprised of 28 administrators and school board members from all corners of the United States. This year’s trip included visits to schools in Sicily and the nation island of Malta. For years the seminar has provided American educators with a look at educational systems around the world. My first trip with the group was in 1998, the year that I was president of AASA. Last year, as AASA executive director, we traveled to Peru. In previous days I have been reporting on our experiences this year in Sicily and Malta. Today the group was invited to a reception at the home of the newly appointed ambassador to Malta, Douglas Kmiec. In addition to the AASA group, the ambassador invited prominent officials from the Malta education system.
The ambassador is keen to facilitate the introduction of comparative religion in school curricula as a means to encourage understanding between faiths. He indicated that this is a goal he has been charged with by President Obama.
There is no question that education can be a powerful tool in bridging differences arising out of dissimilarities in culture and religion. The educators participating in the IISS can attest to that and are willing to support the administration in that undertaking.
AASA President Mark Bieling delivered remarks at the reception and earlier in the evening he and I were interviewed by the local print media for an article to be published in the Sunday edition. It was a memorable moment for AASA and its members, in Malta as education ambassadors advocating for world peace through books rather than bullets.