The paper explores the function, purpose and responsibility of foreign language colleges in a globalizing world. Entry point of the reflection is the widely shared consensus on the ambiguous nature of globalization. If remaining on its present course, the negative effects of globalization could easily turn out disastrous for the project as a whole. The repetition of a bang as the one bringing to an end an extensively interconnected world early in the last century is not impossible. Globalization has to be managed better. Educating those professionally facing this task, institutions of higher learning have to cultivate the competence or competences required. The paper describes as one of the negative effects of globalization the shrinking of spaces of unrestricted responsibility and the atrophy of spaces of restricted responsibility. International language, understood here as a practice that technically could be embodied by any language but at present is embodied by English, is considered the language of restricted responsibility. Foreign language colleges do have to teach the international language, but they have to teach other foreign languages- the second foreign language- as well. Teaching and studying the second foreign language cultivates a competence that goes beyond the competence of mastering just one more foreign language. Doing so cultivates awareness of the unsaid in any discourse, above all the discourse produced by international language. Making use and extending a distinction as introduced by Levinas, the paper characterizes the picture of the world as produced by international language as mask of the world. The face hidden behind this maskor frozen into it- is the dimension of emerging possibilities. The competence cultivated by the teaching and study of a foreign language facilitates the step from the mask of the world towards its face . Any attempt of managing globalization better has to start from the face of the world. The competence of proceeding from the mask to the face, therefore, is vital. Managers lacking this competence, no matter how well equipped otherwise, will always come too late. Cultivating a competence vital for the task of managing globalization better, the responsibility of foreign language colleges is a considerable one.
淡江大學全球化、教育及語言國際研討會論文集=Proceedings of Tamkang International Conference on Globalization, Education and Language,pp.189-216