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Four Roads of Asia
An Institute in Asian Studies at Bangor High School

This program, designed by Bangor history teachers, Ryan Bradeen and Bill Ames, examines the geographic, chronological and cultural scope Asia through four perspectives or roads: by examining geography and cultural diversity, by investigating cultural contacts via the Silk Road trade, by looking at Asian philosophy and faith and by considering Euro-american interaction with Asia over the last two centuries. This study focuses on China. By comparing China with other major cultures of Asia and Euro-American culture, the program establishes a cultural spectrum of Eurasia. In essays, discussions, presentations, lectures, textual materials and multi-media documents, students explore this spectrum and apply knowledge gained to fundamental and vital questions concerning the role of Asia in the world and the relationship of Asian nations to the United States.

In our changing times, Asia has emerged as a region of paramount importance. Through our widely inter-connected economic and political systems, the problems of Asia are becoming, increasingly, our problems. Also, as the face of the nation comes to include rising numbers of citizens of Asian descent, it is our responsibility to educate all about the heritage of these peoples so as to facilitate informed dialogue and understanding among our population.

Four Roads of Asia engages students in a wide variety of learning experiences designed to broaden their historical knowledge, deepen their analytical skills, foster independent learning and initiative, and develop technical skills to evaluate and present information in organized, concise and powerful ways. The program requires of students significant commitment outside of the classroom, particularly in the acquisition of fact-level knowledge through reading and completion of assignments. Students are expected to participate as junior contributors and researchers of the Institute, building Institute resources with their research materials and their own products.

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The 2000 – 2001 4Roads students at Bangor High School are an excellent cross-section of Bangor's students. These fourteen students come from a variety of backgrounds and interests, but work together with a collegiality and good spirit born of life in northern Maine. I consider it an honor and pleasure to work with this group of students each year.