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WKU to celebrate International Education Week

WKU will celebrate International Education Week (IEW) Nov. 16-20 with a series of events highlighting the benefits of international education and exchange.

International Education Week 2015 ad 740x330Founded in 2000 as a joint initiative by the U.S. Departments of State and Education, International Education Week’s purpose is to recognize and celebrate the value of international education worldwide. At WKU, the objective is to provide campus and the surrounding community with opportunities to engage in intercultural dialogue and experience firsthand diverse cultures and perspectives.

Coordinated by the Office of International Programs and the IEW Planning Committee, this year’s calendar reflects the breadth of international interests across campus and beyond. The 2015 IEW schedule features more than 20 events organized and co-sponsored by nearly 30 WKU academic departments and units and 10 external organizations and community partners, including the local US Bank branch and numerous local businesses. Local restaurants featured on the International Education Week discount card (free to IEW event participants) include Taj Palace, Taste of Europe, Mex Out, Tropix and WKU’s Fresh Food Company. (More: International Education Week featured events list)

Plugging into existing series with an international dimension has shaped the IEW 2015 calendar. On Nov. 20, WKU’s established Faraway Flix film series will show The Way He Looks, a Brazilian film about a blind teenager searching for independence. On Nov. 17, the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility will host their Third Tuesday Tea (T3) series featuring Dr. Christina Noel, who will give a talk on Disability & Society: Perspectives from South Africa and the U.S.

Additionally, IEW is an opportunity for faculty to organize co-curricular events that enhance their own courses. Professors Kumi Ishii, Jieyoung Kong, Heather Strode and Cecile Garmon from the Department of Communication have organized two intercultural workshops, one on intercultural encounters on Nov. 17 and the other on diversity management on Nov. 18.

Senior students in the Corporate/Organizational Communication program will take lead on educating participants about the importance of intercultural sensitivity in the diverse workplace. In preparation for this event, the seniors met with City of Bowling Green staff to learn how the city conducts diversity training for their own employees.

“We can easily talk to people who look and sound like us, but it is challenging to approach those who are different,” Dr. Ishii said. “As communication specialists, we want all WKU students (and the community) to understand the importance of intercultural sensitivity and how this makes them effective communicators in the workplace and beyond.”

Events organized by registered student organizations have also filled this year’s calendar. WKU’s Kentucky Public Health Association in partnership with the Department of Public Health is organizing The Bigger Picture: Public Health from Global Perspectives on Nov. 19. International Public Health students will share their culture and perspectives regarding some of the leading public health concerns today. Booths highlighting countries such as Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the United States and Saudi Arabia will feature student research, international foods, clothing and music from each country.

Other student organization driven events include Africa Night on Nov. 21 by the African Student Union and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Meet the Pengyous on Nov. 19 by Project Pengyou: WKU Chapter, and the African Dance Workshop on Nov. 20 by the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) WKU Student Chapter and WKU Dance Program.

“Dance is one of the most universal forms of communication, and people all over the world can relate to movement as dance plays some role in their lives, whether it be social, religious, artistic, or otherwise,” said WKU senior and NDEO President Sara Pecina. “Hosting the African Dance Workshop not only facilities the IEW objective of helping participants encounter new cultures but also fulfills our own mission of enriching lives through dance and creating opportunities for people to experience and learn about this global art form.”

Other recurring IEW events include I Wish Someone Had Told Me… organized by the Offices of Study Abroad & Global Learning (SAGL) and Scholar Development. Student returnee panelists will share their overseas experiences and tips for students interested in studying abroad with audience members. GlobeTrot, where select residence halls transform into various countries, is a multi-unit collaboration between International Programs, Housing and Residence Life, SAGL, the Office of Study Away, ESLi, Navitas, the Kentucky Institute for International Studies, and the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad. This year’s iteration will feature: Brazil, India, South Africa, Ireland, Iceland, Greece and Saudi Arabia.

With more than 20 unique events, International Education Week provides the WKU community an array of opportunities to explore the globe, embrace other cultures, and celebrate WKU’s vision to be a leading American university with international reach.

For information on IEW events, visit: http://www.wku.edu/oip/iew/iew2015.php

About the Office of International Programs: The Office of International Programs supports the internationalization agenda of the university by creating opportunities for faculty and staff development in a global context and supporting the development of meaningful co-curricular programming for student, campus and community audiences.

Contact: Anna Yacovone, (270) 745-3975.

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