Cultural Events, Student-Run Forum Highlight Week
By Jill Gambon
Learning about the tragedy of international human trafficking, mastering a few meringue steps and sampling ethnic foods are among the activities students can participate in next week -- without leaving campus.
The events are part of International Education Week, Nov. 14 to 19. Launched several years ago by the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Education, the initiative builds support for international educational exchanges. It is now celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide.
UMass Lowell has been participating in the celebration for the past three years. This year’s lineup has expanded, with more activities and a growing number of students involved in the planning, says Maria Conley, director of the International Students and Scholars Office
. This year, for instance, the University’s International Student Ambassadors are planning the forum on international human rights, lining up speakers and coordinating the program. “The students getting involved are building new friendships and interacting with different groups,” Conley says.
The week kicks off on Monday, Nov. 14 with a noontime seminar at O’Leary Library on the political uprisings that unfolded across the Middle East over the past year. Other events include the international human rights forum on Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. at O’Leary Library and a Spanish and Latin dancing celebration on Friday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. in Coburn Hall.
Friday night all cultures will come together for the Third Annual Intercultural Festival. The event will feature food and dance from numerous countries and a parade honoring festivals from several different cultures, including China’s Lantern Festival and the Holi festival, also known as the Festival of Colors, a spring celebration observed by Hindus. The Intercultural Festival gets under way at 8 p.m. in Cumnock Hall.
The events, which are free and open to all, will connect students to the rich cultural diversity on campus, Conley says. “Students will be exposed to various cultures and broaden their experiences.”
“Students may not be doing a study abroad but there’s a real opportunity to learn from this international and very diverse community on campus,” says Jason Rowe, international student services coordinator who helped organize the week’s events.