By Louis Wolf Goodman

This paper was presented to the President's Commission on Foreign Languages and International Studies. A preliminary draft was discussed at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on April 25, 1979.


Since World War II national needs related to foreign languages and international studies have evolved as the U.S. and other nations have become increasingly interdependent. The creation and diffusion of knowledge about other people and world areas has gained in importance and is being carried out by individuals, scholars, university centers, and other specialized institutions. These efforts have been remarkably successful. To serve future needs a strong structure is required which concentrates resources in a relatively small number of centers and makes them available to universities, other institutions, and scholars throughout the nation. Special attention should be paid to knowledge creation through basic research (when feasible through international scholarly collaboration) and to the diffusion of that knowledge through broad based teaching and citizens education.

Comprehensive recommendations to achieve these ends are proposed throughout the essay. These touch on the structure of support for individuals, universities, and other organizations; the nature of relations between universities and other organizations; the promotion of basic research through international scholarly collaboration; and the nature of federal support. Stress is placed on the distinctive benefits acruing from the study of Latin America and the Caribbean.