Global engagement requires more than a glance at the day’s top headline

As a news junkie, I like to feel up-to-date. While my classmates click Facebook ritually, I click CNN, The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY, NPR, ESPN and The New York Times ritually. I even click Al Jazeera or BBC occasionally.

However, scanning the daily headlines doesn’t make me the up-to-date gal I claim to be, at times.

Global citizenship requires more than a glance at the day's top headline

Photo courtesy of Central Intelligence Agency

In just eight months, I’ll take a plane to Istanbul for three weeks of intense study. I’ll explore Islam’s evolving role in the world alongside 19 fellow Drake University students.

As I cracked “What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam” by John L. Esposito last week, I (mistakenly) expected to discover nothing new. I was an avid news junkie, one familiar with the Middle East. I was a global citizen, one who sought non-American news outlets.

I’m now 122 pages into the book, and my views of Islam and the Middle East have evolved noticeably.

I now see both sides of the hijab debate. I now see the likenesses among Islam, Christianity and Judaism. I now see the tough decision facing Muslims today — follow ancient religious laws or adapt those laws in the developing global society of 2013.

Likewise, Esposito’s book taught me that the news, while I love it, isn’t enough. As a news junkie, I have a responsibility to seek knowledge beyond the media discipline. I need to watch movies, watch documentaries, read academic essays, read fiction and read academic books.

Global engagement takes more than a glance at today’s top headline.

Until I land in Istanbul in eight months, I await a new discipline. While I discover new things about Islam on each page of Esposito’s book, I’m eager to jump into a discipline all my own: experience.

Like my responsibility to seek knowledge beyond the media discipline, I have a responsibility to experience the world — my world — beyond the pages of a book or the scenes of a movie.

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