My name is Tessie Catsambas and I am Chair of the AEA International Working Group. My contribution to this Memorial Day series is to call attention to the demise of the designation “Third World.” The term Third World arose in the Cold War to refer to the group of developing nations mostly in Asia and Africa with a colonialist past, which were not aligned either with the United States (the first world) nor with the Communist Block (the second world). Third World referred to underdeveloped nations, especially those with widespread poverty. The world is now more varied economically and politically: with globalization, we have seen a growing number of middle-income countries, especially in Asia, and the rise of the BRIC countries, an acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, seen as emerging economics. The term Third World implied political divisions and hierarchy that are misleading and irrelevant in the current political and economic state of the world. We now speak about the “Global South,” “developing countries,” and “less developed countries.”
Hot Tip: Ask people in different places in the world how they prefer to be identified. Language matters. Being culturally sensitive and responsive includes being attentive to language.
Rad Resource: American Evaluation Association Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation
Hot Tip: Language is dynamic. Terms that have been appropriate at one time become dated, even offensive at other times.
National Public Radio series Goats and Soda: Life in a Changing World
- International/cross-cultural AEA Topical Interest Group
- International evaluation blogs:
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