Willamette University

Managing Editor's Note

As I stood there in climate-controlled semi-darkness, my eyes welled up with tears. It took me a bit by surprise, my reaction, though I don’t really know why it should have. I glanced cautiously at the people around me, wondering if they would notice. That was when I realized that they were dabbing their eyes and sniffling, too.

We were in the Smithsonian Museum of American History, lined up two deep, staring in silence at the American flag that flew over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry on Sept. 14, 1814 — the very flag that prompted Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner” and has been protected and passed down through generations for more than 200 years. Those around me represented several ethnicities, geographic regions and histories. Some were Americans and some were not, but we all stood together paying homage to a piece of history that has shaped our world. For the rest of the day, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we are all much closer to one another than we think.

It struck me that this discussion about globalism is not a new one. It is simply a continuation of one that started a very long time ago. One that will continue well beyond our lifetimes — as it should, because there is no simple answer to how diverse people live together amidst their differences and similarities. But this is a question we should all keep pursuing. We owe it to those who come after us, those who will experience a very different version of the world. Just as the Americans in 1814 probably could not have imagined our world today, it is difficult for us to imagine what will come next. We have to keep peering around the next corner.

This issue of The Scene is devoted to ideas of globalism and the different ways people look at the world. I hope you enjoy the varied perspectives and stories as you learn more about your alma mater’s role in this important conversation — but most importantly, I hope it makes you proud that she has taken an active role in it.

Denise Callahan ’95, MBA’00
Senior Director of Alumni Relations

PS: I'm excited for this issue partly because it features our partnership with Tokyo International University (TIU). I had the good fortune to visit TIU on an administrative trip that coincided with the recent 20th-anniversary celebration of Tokyo International University of America, and I'm very grateful for the hospitality we all received. I hope you enjoy the story and the photo essay on Japan. It really is as beautiful as it seems.

Denise Callahan ‘95, MBA’00 in Kawagoe earlier this year with TIUA alumnus Ichiro Naoe ‘95.