The Dittmann article cited elsewhere credits Dittmann and Ansgar Sovik as being the cofounders of the International Studies Program at St. Olaf. However, the article also mentions that Bill Narum, along with Walter Stromseth, were "important contributors" to the Program. This statement, combined with some comments I've found in my journal, gives some insight on the design of the original Global Semester and what its intended purpose was. We can also contrast that design with that of the later Global Semesters.

My September 12, 1971, journal entry (in Addis Ababa) includes:

"In the evening we discussed Rome, Athens, and Jerusalem, as well as Ethiopia. We can think of Rome as the legal-judicial foundation of the West, Athens as the philosophical-intellectual foundation, and Jerusalem as the spiritual foundation. As Christianity developed and fed Rome and Athens, we had the developing of the Western Christianity -- R.C. and Protestantism -- from Rome and Eastern {Christian} religions developing primarily from Greece. Certainly though, we are influenced by such things as Greek logic.

"In discussing Ethiopia we learned of the situation of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Originally it held the country together but now it is holding it back with all its traditional ways -- fasting days are over 50%, etc."

This discussion was clearly one led by Bill Narum, probably a gathering during dinner. This suggests to me that Bill Narum was instrumental in designing those first Global Semesters. (Although we were the fourth trip, the itineraries were all basically the same up to that point.) The Global design was perfectly reflective of the religious philosopher:

1) Start with a brief grounding in Western and Christian thought by visiting Rome, Athens, and Jerusalem. Introduce a little of Islam with Jerusalem.

2) Allow for an interlude in Ethiopia that presents (extreme) third-world poverty while introducing the transition from Western thought to Eastern thought.

3) In India, revel in the complexity of Hinduism. Explain its interaction with Islam and the Moghuls. Explain the off-shoot of Buddhism. Draw meaning from the important sites in northern India (e.g., the Taj, and especially Benares and Sarnath).

4) In Taiwan, illustrate Taoism and Confucianism and the mingling with Buddhism.

5) In Japan, show the culmination of Buddhist culture and thought in Kyoto and Nara.

Although #2 above is a stretch, it was probably suggested by Dittmann who still had vital contacts in Ethiopia where he had once taught. Elsewhere in my journal I note that Bill Narum said that "Ethiopia is to Africa as the Philippines are to Asia." I suspect that Bill N. wasn't as enthusiastic about including Ethiopia as Dittmann was. Bill probably would have preferred something like Istanbul or Cairo or even a more mainline African city. I recall that he also suggested once that Taiwan was a poor substitute for China. Politics and practicalities certainly intervened on that one. However, in this original vision of the Global Semester, a) Rome-Athens-Jerusalem, b) northern India, and c) Japan, were essential and probably non-negotiable.

We can also imagine how much Bill Narum would have wanted to teach the Global Semester based upon this (probably his) religion-philosophy vision. Fortunately for all of us, circumstances came together in 1971 with Bill's 1972 appointment to the East-West Center. The boys would have to be taken out of school anyway for the stay in Honolulu. Paul wasn't yet, but soon would be, in high school. David was now old enough to carry his weight. Time to go for it.

Over the years the original design evolved. By 1978, according to Mark Fihn's site, Ethiopia had been replaced by Cairo and Allahabad had been replaced by Bangalore. There were a few days allotted for New Delhi to get to the Taj but it doesn't look like Benares was included. By 1993, according to Jeff Hellmer's site, Geneva had replaced Rome and Hong Kong and mainland China had replaced Taiwan. Also, by 1993, the group was staying at a different kaikan in Kyoto. By 2001, Korea had replaced Japan. The 2004 Global did include Rome.

The overthrow of Selassie and the civil war in Ethiopia ended the stay there. If the 1974-75 Global group was still stopping in Ethiopia, they would have witnessed the overthrow and almost certainly would have been the last Global group to stay in Addis. I'm guessing that our bad health experiences in Allahabad may have led to the move to Bangalore and the deletion of Benares. With mainland China open, Taiwan was no longer necessary as a substitute. And perhaps economics led to the abandonment of Japan. (That one is the hardest to understand.)

Things change. It's a testament to the college that it has maintained its commitment to the Global Semester, the overall spirit of which has not changed. But our version of the Global experience was a special one: the implementation of the design by its designer.