21st Century World Definition


Develop descriptors of significant political, economic, social, environmental, and personal health conditions prevalent in a modern global society that affect the personal and professional lives of our graduates.


To SSRC members: As discussed in the 1/6/09 meeting and in the Meeting Summary, please reference the summary of perspectives presented to inform your thoughts on descriptors for the conditions that the 21st Century World presents. This work provides the justification or the "introductory paragraph" for our Vision of a GPS Graduate. You may post your descriptors right on this page, login, click on "edit this page" and feel free to post your feedback on each condition. If you are comfortable, please include your name at the end of each descriptor you post so that we may discuss/clarify if applicable. Alternatively, click the Discussion Board tab above and post your narrative version of what the Definition or Introductory Paragraph should be.

Reference Resources in the Navigation Bar to the left for links to some of the resources used in developing the various perspectives shared in the Exploring the Definition of the 21st Century World document.

21st Century Descriptors/Political Conditions:

Continuous struggles between alternative views of appropriate political structures (e.g., Sharia law vrs. democracy in Islamic countries); jockeying for power/influence between Sunni and Shia-dominant Muslin countries; frequent battles for power/control in developing countries (e.g., civil wars and rebellions in various African countries, Sri Lanka,), militant groups engaging in terrorism to achieve political goals and/or to destabilize governments (e.g., Taliban in Afghanistan, El Qaida in Iraq and other countries, separatists in Chechnya, Hamas in Gaza); dictatorships suppressing/ignoring human rights (e.g., North Korea, Mianmar, Zimbabwe); conflicts between former Soviet countries and Russia (e.g., Russia/Ukraine disagreements over natural gas prices). SSE

Political participation enhanced by technology in developed and developing countries. SSE
Exponentially increasing demand for power sources (natural gas, oil, nuclear energy, coal) will strain relations between countries with abundant power and those who must import some or all of their power. SSE

21st Century Descriptors/Economic Conditions:

example: greater economic divide between "haves" and "have nots"
Rise of China and India as economic powerhouses; greater scarcity of food, water, natural resources; dislocation and hardship as developed countries compete with developing countries for jobs, resources. SSE

21st Century Descriptors/Social Conditions:

Technology (e.g., satellite TV, Internet) brings variety of viewpoints and information to people who were formerly isolated, with the potential to undermine regimes that try to control and censor their citizens' access to what is happening in the rest of the world. Technology also enables the "have-nots" to be more aware of what others "have" and to raise their own expectations, as well as perhaps their sense of the injustice of their situation . SSE

21st Century Descriptors/Environmental Conditions:

example: increased Global Warming (Kim Eves)

Scarcity of clean water. SSE

21st Century Descriptors/Personal Health Conditions:

Increase in bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics result in epidemics--even pandemics--that strain medical resources and decimate some populations. SSE

Other "Conditions" we may want to consider describing are included below. Feel free to add descriptors under each one or add your own:

21st Century Descriptors/Demographic Conditions:

example: increasing minority population becomes majority population

21st Century Descriptors/Technological Conditions:

21st Century Descriptors/Cultural Conditions: