Viewed from outer space, most of the earth's surface is covered by water. No lines mark national or political boundaries and weather patterns shift without regard for religion, language or race. Yet, on earth, the perspective is altered. People tend to view "their" country as the center of the universe. (Tiedt & Tiedt, 1990). For most people in the world, direct experience with other countries and cultures is infrequent or nonexistent. Even in the U.S., with its geographically mobile society, there is a tendency to stay within our own communities and circle of acquaintances. America 2000 (1990) targets the need for an educated citizenry having the knowledge and skills to compete in a global economy. It states "all our people, not just a few, must be able to think for a living, adapt to changing environments, and to understand the world around them... We must realize that education is a lifelong pursuit" (U.S. Department of Education, pg. 35).
A study of Extension Director's in 1990 by Poston and O'Rourke indicated that clientele attitude was a key factor acting as a barrier to the globalization of Cooperative Extension programs and activities. The study identified the need for educational programs, especially those provided to clientele groups, as being necessary for globalization. Results of a 1989 Ohio State University study of Extension faculty and staff (Ludwig, 1991) produced similar results. Ohio personnel indicated a desire for in-service education related to increasing global understanding, global marketing and development, but identified one of the major barriers to internationalizing Extension in Ohio as the attitude of local clientele.
Extension prides itself on developing educational programs in response to the needs and interest of people. Skinner (1991), in an address to the American Home Economics Association, noted that in a world which is increasingly interdependent, we do ourselves and our clients a disservice if we do not prepare them for an increasingly internationalized society and economy. Skinner reaffirmed concepts outlined in Global Perspectives for Extension (U.S.D.A., 1989).
A review of literature revealed little was known about the attitudes of leaders in Ohio which help to shape their global perspectives. A need to study citizen attitudes toward other cultures, the global market place and development issues was identified. Surveying leaders from both traditional agricultural constituency and Extension's growing metropolitan clientele was identified as one way to better understand citizen attitudes towards global issues. Now that this information has been gathered, curriculum development and staff in-service education can be based on identified needs rather than assumptions.