Warum ich trotz digitalem Wandels Latein und Griechisch lerne

Here I make available the latest academic statement of my niece, Sarah Czinkota. It is written in German, but translations are welcome. Sarah lives in Bad Soden, Germany, and spent last year at high school  in Hampton, Virginia. Her key objective is to prepare herself for a career as candidate of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) of Germany for the European Parliament.
Right now Sarah’s studies concentrate on ancient Greek and Latin. She is often asked why she spends time on all this old stuff. Here is her answer. If you like it and are impressed, please consider that Sarah is very interested to come back to the US for a summer internship. You can contact her at Info@czinkota.de

By Sarah L. Czinkota


Wie ein Wirbelsturm weht der digitale Wandel durch das Land! Kaum eine Messe ohne Hackathon, MINT orientierte Schulen sprießen wie Pilze aus dem Boden. Laut Manager-Magazin schickt die Elite ihre Kinder sogar auf Hackerschulen. 

Der Aufbruch ist da! Deutschland wird digital! Und ich? Ich lerne Latein und Griechisch an einem altsprachlichen Gymnasium und das auch noch aus Überzeugung – geht’s noch?   

Schlimmer, meine Schule fördert den Umgang mit MINT Bereichen kaum. Eine erfolgreiche Teilnahme am Bundeswettbewerb Informatik wird von meiner Schule geflissentlich ignoriert und als Privatvergnügen abgetan. 

Schule und Schüler leben in unterschiedlichen digitalen Welten

Die Bundesregierung nimmt unter dem Schlagwort ‚Digitalisierung‘ derzeit den Aufbau einer angemessenen Infrastruktur für Schulen in Angriff. Innovative Lehrer praktizieren FacebookWhatsappund drängen auf Threemazur sicheren Kommunikation. Der Lehrplan für Informatik des Landes Hessen sieht vor, den Schülern das Internet zu erklären und das Programmieren mittels der Programmiersprache Delphi näherzubringen. 

Wir Schüler dagegen, treffen uns abends via Internet zur Houseparty, besprechen dort in Gruppen die Hausaufgaben. Alexa,SiriGoogleWikipediaDeepL undWolfram Alphaunterstützen uns hierbei. Über Snapchathabe ich ständig Kontakt mit Freunden in Singapore, Kalifornien und Washington D.C. und informiere mich aus erster Hand über Land, Leute und das aktuelle Geschehen. 

Kurzum, Schule und Schüler leben beim Thema Digitalisierung inhaltlich in verschiedenen Welten. Kann ich hier wirklich auf die schulische Bildungshängematte vertrauen?

Eigeninitiative ist angebracht

Ich denke Nein. Will ich tatsächliche, inhaltliche digitale Kompetenz aufbauen, muss ich selbst initiativ sein. Angebote und Möglichkeiten dazu gibt es zuhauf. Freie Programmierkurse im Internet und Online-Kurse auf YouTube. Auf einem Raspberry Pi stehen mir selbst teure Entwicklungsumgebungen wie Mathematicakostenlos zur Verfügung. Wettbewerbe wie der Bundeswettbewerb für Informatik oder die World Robotik Olympiad (WRO) gestatten es mir, meine so erworbenen Kenntnisse auf verschiedene Weise zu vergleichen und anzuwenden. All dies, kann eine Schule kaum leisten. Was kann Schule dann für mich leisten?  

Digitalisierung und Latein besitzen gemeinsame Bildungsziele

Die Notwendigkeit selbst schon bei der Elementarbildung d.h. im Vorschulalter, Kinder mit dem Computer und dem Programmieren in Berührung zu bringen wird mit wichtigen Bildungszielen begründet. So würde die Beschäftigung mit dem Computer das analytische und logische Denken fördern. Die Kinder lernen Sachverhalte in einen Kontext einzuordnen und Ursache-Wirkungsbeziehungen herzustellen. Sie lernen Aufgaben in ihre Bestandteile zu zerlegen, strukturieren Zusammenhänge zu erkennen und die Teilaspekte zu berücksichtigen. Bei einer Veranstaltung zu diesem Thema im „Haus der kleinen Forscher“ in Berlin brachte es ein Diskussionsteilnehmer es auf den Punkt: „All diese Gründe wurden früher als Argumente genannt, Latein zu lernen.“

Wenn sich allerdings die Bildungsziele nicht verändert haben, sondern lediglich die Methoden diese zu erreichen, dann sollte ich die zuverlässigste Methode wählen, diese Ziele zu erreichen. 

Schule weiß die Bildungsziele zu unterrichten

Digitales verändert sich ständig. Unter dem Schlagwort ‚Disruption‘ werden selbst die bisherigen Paradigmen in Frage gestellt. Gestern galt die Berechnung eines Computers als determiniert und unveränderbar. Heute erscheint es uns heute als selbstverständlich, dass Alexa und Siri auf das gleiche Kommando immer neue Empfehlungen geben. Gibt man sich der Digitalisierung hin, fällt man in einen Wirbel von Aktualität und Vergangenem. Es wird zunehmend schwierig, das Beständige vom Unbeständigen zu trennen. Nicht von ungefähr wirbeln die Begriffe und Inhalte von Medienkompetenz, Digitalkompetenz und Was-Weiß-Ich-Kompetenz durcheinander. Wo ist der Anfang, wo ist das Ende? Schulen und Lehrer stehen dem chancenlos gegenüber. Wie soll das unterrichtet werden?

Dagegen wissen Schulen und Lehrer wie sie Latein unterrichten sollen. Latein als Sprache ist abgeschlossen, die Texte sind didaktisch aufbereitet, der Lehrplan ist seit vielen Dekaden erprobt. Zusätzlich wird mit Latein, durch die geschichtlichen, philosophischen und mythologischen Themen, ein historisches Basiswissen vermittelt. Es werden unsere europäischen Wurzeln aufgezeigt und es findet eine Werte-Vermittlung statt. Dieser Aspekt der Bildung findet bei einem MINT-Unterricht in der Regel nicht statt.

Schule kann zusätzlich die Vermittlung von Werten leisten

Dabei sind es gerade die ethischen und gesellschaftswissenschaftlichen Fragen, die sich in Verbindung mit dem Computer, immer stärker in den Vordergrund drängen. War Künstliche Intelligenz bis vor Kurzem noch nahezu eine Geheimwissenschaft so ist es heute möglich, mit wenigen Programmzeilen ein eigenes Neuronales-Netz zu bauen. Die technischen Probleme treten gegenüber den gesellschaftlichen und sozialen Fragestellungen in den Hintergrund. 

Die Vermittlung von Digitalem kann Schule weder inhaltlich, noch methodisch wirklich leisten. Dagegen die Vermittlung von Werten und Bildung jedoch sehr wohl. Die Schule ist der richtige Zeitraum und der richtige Ort mir bedeutungsvolle und nachhaltige Dinge zu lehren, zu denen ich später im zielorientierten Studium oder im konkurrenzbetonten Beruf kaum noch die Gelegenheit bekommen werde.     

Und deshalb lerne ich Latein und Griechisch an einem altsprachlichen Gymnasium. Nicht weil ich mich dem digitalen Wandel verweigere, sondern weil ich bestmöglich auf ihn vorbereitet sein will.         


Fish and Chips, all the time?

Michael R. Czinkota

Applicants for British citizenship face a rigorous test with some questions too obscure even for natives. According to a mock test for its British staff, the Wall Street Journal found that many couldn’t answer the questions correctly.

The compulsory citizenship test was first announced in 2002. Lord David Blunkett, home secretary at the time, initiated the test. Originally, it aimed to help people know things which make local life easy and safe. Tony Blair’s government also wanted to show encouragement and welcome immigrants via the test. Now, the test is up for review. What does it mean to be British? Here are some examples.

Where did the people of the Bronze Age bury their dead? Who first introduced “shampooing” to the U.K.? Does “having the ability to laugh at oneself” represent an important part of the British character? Do the British eat fish and chips for every lunch?

Immigrants must pass such mandatory questions in order to obtain British citizenship. The test has become harder in reaction to the surge of aspiring Britons from emerging nations. Given Brexit and Britain’s possible drop-out from the EU, more Europeans are also taking the test to ensure their right to remain in the U.K.

By comparison, Switzerland also has a naturalization test based on acculturation. The State Secretariat for Migration examines whether applicants are integrated in the Swiss way of life, familiar and accepting of Swiss customs and traditions, able to comply with the Swiss rule of law, and not threatening to Switzerland’s internal or external security.

The Swiss government also makes its naturalization test harder as of 2018. Swiss migration regulations seem stricter than the U.K.’s. A non-EU citizen can apply for a Swiss permanent residence permit after living in Switzerland for 10 years. Naturalization as a Swiss citizen takes 12 years, while in the UK it takes only 5 years. Passing the test is only the start of a process rather than a guarantee of citizenship. 

The oral test for language assessment seems to be a particular obstacle for many applicants. But yodeling is not required. “What would you say is typically Swiss?”  is a question on the Swiss citizenship test. Swiss women with a gold lace cap preparing the Cheese Fondue for her family might be the first image to pop out your head. But is that always true?

It’s interesting that when you search the term of “British citizenship test” or “Swiss citizenship test” on Google, the first page results will mainly offer test preparation services. The cottage industry coaching applicants for the citizenship test has become increasingly popular.  Due to harder tests and stricter application processes, this industry will likely expand substantially in the near future.

Is it time to rethink the concept of a citizenship test? Should there be only one version of a country’s culture? How can governments identify different characteristics of citizens and translate those into behavioral norms, especially in the diverse European environment? Diversity makes life more interesting but also more unexpected. There is much enjoyment nowadays with many different foods, fashions and habits in the UK and Switzerland. What is the value and price of homogeneity? 

There might well be a need to insist on a common spirituality supporting national underpinnings. Some criteria may need to be adjusted and individual support of them affirmed for citizenship to work! Otherwise people are visitors, a fine and useful role, but different from citizens. Not everyone needs fish and chips for lunch. How about dumplings? Or hot dry noodles?

Professor Czinkota (czinkotm@georgetown.edu) teaches international marketing and trade at Georgetown University and the University of Kent in Canterbury. His latest book is “In Search For The Soul of International Business”, (Businessexpertptress.com) 2019

Shiying Wang (sw1115@georgetown.edu) of McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University contributed to this commentary.

For Want of a Plane

Michael R. Czinkota

High hopes were placed into the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires. After all, many policy leaders with different voices were present. In particular, German Chancellor Merkel’s role as a seeker of compromise was fully scripted. She was to assure low tariff levels for cars with President Trump, broach new approaches for debt management with Argentina and discuss issues on Ukraine with President Putin. Alas, the expected discussions were disrupted. The Chancellor’s ride did not get there.

When Mrs. Merkel departed Germany, all plans seemed to be on track. Cabinet members, the German Foreign Service team and a gaggle of journalists had moderately filled the Chancellor’s official airplane. But after only one of thirteen hours of flight time the machine had to turn around for an unplanned landing. Communication was on the fritz, gas could not be ditched and the subsequent landing back in Cologne/Bonn was heavy. Harsh as it sounds, parked planes don’t fly.

Minor the inconvenience say you. In an era when the CEO of a declining U.S. multinational firm like GE’s Jeff Immelt always had a back-up plane accompany him, surely all the German Air Force had to do was roll out the spare and fly on. Perish the thought! There was a back-up plane. But it had taken off homeward bound for budget reasons once the main trip seemed on track. Also, the spare crew could not perform within regulation time limits.

The German airline Lufthansa was all out of planes for trips to Argentina. Only the Spanish airline Iberia had a direct hop out of Madrid. Not all passengers were excited when their quite empty cabin was suddenly filled up by bureaucrats and guards. Yet others reported that Mrs. Merkel was quiet, focused and smiling at Selfies.

Wagging tongues have suggested that, in light of the harsh electoral decline of her party, Mrs. Merkel wanted to get re-acquainted with more popular forms of transportation. Others wonder what Germany’s founding Chancellor Bismarck or, worse yet, what President Trump would have said to this failure. Perhaps the lack of a plane tosses Germany, or even the entire European Union into political turmoil.

The problem is not the short-term direct effects, but rather the long-term repercussion which paints reality. How effective are international marketing slogans and expectation emphasizing progress and technology, when the country leader’s plane won’t fly and airports won’t operate? What happens to the brand value of time when a key leader arrives half a day late? How can one be a useful arbiter while not on location? And all this happened just when CEBIT, one of Germany’s largest trade fairs for technology and communication had to close down. Is all this witness to a transition away from leadership struts to execution missteps?

The German aircraft debacle is of major import and impact. Mrs. Merkel may have become more forgiving to her staff. But even though she nods and smiles more, her partners in international discussions take delays very seriously. For them, late is late, which greatly undermines efficiency.

As to President Trump’s perspective on these events, he may worry less than expected. First, the problems reaffirm his demand for a substantial increase in European spending on defense. Of equal importance: why should he care about the quality of German planes – he has his own and they fly.

Professor Czinkota (czinkotm@georgetown.edu) teaches international marketing and trade at Georgetown University and the University of Kent in Canterbury. His latest book is In Search For The Soul of International Business, (Businessexpertptress.com) 2019

No Hostilities Yet

When nations declare adversity onto each other, there is a lapse of time between the declaration of intention and commencement of hostilities. Implementation can take anywhere from months to years. The Brexit discussions are a major example of such conditions.  Code yellow conditions are now in place between Europe and Britain. My wife and I visited England to explore the current and future status.

Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral, seat of the archbishop, is very British, well attended, firm, strong and uplifting. There are definite advantages to singing one’s prayers. The British production of Jersey Boys was another listening adventure, packed house, lots of fun, energetic singing done well. In London no signs of fear or concern.  St. Martins in the Field did not disappoint with renditions of Mozart at candlelight by a Russian pianist. Trafalgar square was humming and buzzing late into the night as usual. Sticking together while exercising simple precautions is the watch-word.

High tea at Harrods was a pleasant experience- but with a twist! Queen Victoria era tea strainers still capture leaves and uplift the taste. The servers in the tea room are sons and daughters of EU nationality, hailing from Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Albania, and Bulgaria. The clientele is mostly Asian.

Vast sums from abroad are being spent at the store- often supported by personal shoppers so that the customer can rapidly move from Hermes to Gucci. That many prices doubled in the past three years seems not to matter. Newspapers report that some of the more intense shoppers purchase more than $2 million of goods per month in one department store alone, supported by the appropriate credit cards Bank Al-Ahly from Egypt, or Union Pay from China. Support also offers inside Mosques for prayer services.

All local spenders can forget about the doorman calling a taxi for them! The crowds are massive, all walking on the right- which is the wrong- side, indicating that hardly anyone is British. Multilingual store staff tells us that China is the main country of origin. Russians are left in the wake. Maybe the sanctions are working!

The diversity of restaurants has greatly increased. No longer are there just simple choices between British kidney pies and Indian basmati rice. Still, a shame that the Chinese chain HaiDiLao, with all its hype on quality and service, has yet to open in the UK.

Uber is very active so one is no longer dependent on the famous and often not appearing taxi.

Drivers are not happy because their income decreased. Still they do not go to places where customers might naturally congregate, like evening performance conclusions at the Royal Albert Hall. Their argument: what if there are no customers? Hard to argue!

Universities, particularly the mid-grade ones, experience enrollment declines. Costs for non– EU students have skyrocketed. The many students from abroad are mostly bonding and banding among their own nationalities and encounter limited social linkages with Britons. Though internationally oriented it is quite difficult at many institutions to study or write dissertations in a non-English language.

News and discussions have become less interested in the US or Europe. On October 3rd there was more highlight of the Day of the Open Mosque, than of German reunification day.

There are many changes, some subtle, some not so much. The English gardens hidden from the street are still beautifully tended and restful. And when eating, there are still vast pots of delicious clotted cream. Faucets, newly installed, still separate hot and cold water, no mixing allowed!

So much for flexibility, adjustment, and stability. Conditions are not grim. Historically one may think of Hannibal’s closing onto Italy, with Roman defeat highly likely. But it did not happen in 216 B,C. and may well not happen in 2019. In spite of signed documents and grim postulations, there is no commencement of hostilities yet. One could label the current conditions as that of the head burying ostrich, but for now, the feeling is good and the living is easy.

Michael Czinkota (czinkotm@georgetown.edu) teaches International Business at Georgetown University in Washington D.”C. and the University of Kent in Canterbury. His latest book “Searching for the Soul of International Business (BEP) appeared this October.
Ilona Czinkota (iczinkota@gmail.com) is an architect and president of Czinkota AIA LLC

Visit From Ms. Lawless and Ms. Laurence Battaille

It was a great pleasure to have Martha Lawless (left side), chief of the Services Industry Research Division at the U.S. International Trade Commission, return to my seminar.   Ms. Lawless focused on the latest global regulatory and policy measures in digital trade. She particularly highlighted the rapid emergence of digitally enabled services and manufacturing.

We had a surprise visit from Ms.Laurence Battaille, the Managing Partner of IPAC in Brussels. She shared her work in managing public relations for global firms and explained her firm’s growth in global consulting!