Public Papers - 1991 - December
Proclamation 6384 -- Geography Awareness Week, 1991 and 1992
By the President of the United States
Coaches know that, before a winning team can prove itself on the field, each of its members must master the ``fundamentals.'' The same principle applies to education; thus, our efforts to restore excellence in our schools include renewed emphasis on the basics. One of the key aims of AMERICA 2000, our strategy to achieve our National Education Goals, is to ensure that this country's students demonstrate competence in five core subject areas: mathematics, science, English, history, and geography. The study of geography, which focuses on people and their physical surroundings, not only goes hand in hand with the study of history and science but also gives us a better understanding of current world events.
Geography has been a determining factor in the social, economic, and political development of every nation on Earth; indeed, it is impossible to understand history without taking into account the location, natural resources, and other geographic characteristics of nations. When we study the geography of our 50 States, as well as the relationship of America to the world as a whole, we gain a better understanding of our Nation's history and development -- and a deeper appreciation of its diversity and splendor.
While most geographic features of our Nation and the planet have taken shape over thousands of years, the study of geography gives us more than insight into the past; it also equips us with knowledge that we need to understand and to participate in the world of today. As advances in technology bring the world closer together, and as democratic reforms in many nations create new opportunities for international trade and travel, the mastery of geography becomes increasingly important. If the United States is to remain a leader in our rapidly changing world, then our citizens must be able to recognize the location and the significance of events abroad. If we are to continue to enjoy success in the complex realms of foreign policy and international commerce, then we must also be familiar with the languages, customs, and physical circumstances of our neighbors around the globe.
Despite the importance of geography, and despite the fact that it can be both fascinating and fun for students, too many Americans do not have basic knowledge in this field. Too many schoolchildren -- and too many adults -- are unable to locate major cities, countries, or even entire continents on a globe. Many are unaware of the advantages of seaports and rivers to a nation's security and commerce, and some Americans are even unable to locate their own communities on a map.
By working together to achieve our National Education Goals, we can change this intolerable situation. During Geography Awareness Week, let us reaffirm our determination to make the United States a Nation of students. As parents and as teachers, let us help our children to recognize the importance of geography and other basic subjects, and by word, deed, and example, let us introduce them to the joys of lifelong learning.
In recognition of the importance of the study and mastery of geography, the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 201, has designated the week of December 1 through December 7, 1991, and the week of November 15 through November 21, 1992, each as ``Geography Awareness Week'' and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of these occasions.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning December 1, 1991, and the week beginning November 15, 1992, as Geography Awareness Week. I call upon all Americans to observe these occasions with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of December, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 1:43 p.m., December 2, 1991]
Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on December 4.