International lecture series boasts high participation

Ewa Wantulok, senior from Wisla, Poland, shows a group of students from several regional elementary, middle and high schools how to make a display from construction paper. There were more than 27 countries represented at the Internation Education Week in total. || Beamer Barron/The News

Ewa Wantulok, senior from Wisla, Poland, shows a group of students from several regional elementary, middle and high schools how to make a display from construction paper. There were more than 27 countries represented at the Internation Education Week in total. || Beamer Barron/The News

International Education Week, an annual lecture series sponsored by the Institute for International Studies at Murray State which aims to educate students and community members on the importance of global education and awareness, ended Thursday night.

The series, hosted by ISS and spanning four days, included a total of 27 presentations on a variety of topics.

The turnout of this year’s events was higher than other similar events hosted in the past.

A large portion of these events were dedicated to promoting the study abroad program and international travel.

The week was kicked off by two lectures: “London 2012: Out of My Comfort Zone and Into My Element” presented by Rachel Isom and “Get the Taste of Life” by Bassel Alhashemi both geared towards giving a student perspective of what studying abroad is like.

“The Arab Spring: Reflections from MSU Students”, a multimedia presentation by four international students from Yemen, Egypt, Syria and Libya respectively focused on the unprecedented number of revolutions, demonstrations and protests across the Arab world beginning in 2010.

Osama Benyaia, an exchange student from Libya, spoke about what it was like to live under the reign of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for 43 years and who didn’t allow any elections to take place.

He said most of Gaddafi’s government was filled with his close friends and family – people who would not question his authority.

Benyaia showed the audience pictures of his hometown, Tripoli, the capital of Libya, which is now in ruins after the intense fighting between pro-Gaddafi soldiers and rebels, and spoke on post-Gaddafi Libya. A country he said is still feeling the impact of violence even after Gaddafi’s death in 2011.

Not all the events of the week were as politically charged as “The Arab Spring”; Jie Wu, assistant professor within the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, in collaboration with the International Cultures and Language Association (ICALA) taught a hands-on workshop on Chinese calligraphy Tuesday night.

An International Bazaar was held in the Curris Center Ballroom Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Approximately 600 students from surrounding elementary, middle and high schools attended the event.

There were 22 countries represented by displays and by flags in the ballroom.

Each arrangement was supervised by a student from their respective country who answered questions and elaborated on their display’s information.

The international students created the displays themselves and chose what information to share about their native country.

Displays were diverse. Some included video presentations, items from the country, informational pamphlets and pictures.

At the Japanese booth people were allowed to make their own origami and those that visited the South Korean display could get their faces painted, dress in traditional clothing and play the popular Korean game Gonggi.

Other events were targeted at faculty specifically.

On Thursday, education professor Lee Kem and assistant education professor Jennifer Wyatt led a panel discussion with international students from Murray State graduate programs and other faculty to discuss the implementing of teaching and advising strategies that are better suited for international students.

At an event geared toward LGBT students studying abroad, faculty, staff and alumnna shared insight into the impact sexual identity may have on a student’s experience travelling abroad.

At the event a key focus was how a student’s identity can enhance experiences in both positive and negative ways in another culture.

Bill McKibben, associate director of international studies, said International Education Week is a good way to share and learn about new cultures.

Said McKibbon: “International Education Week helps to open the eyes of our student body … this is a chance to see that there are other cultures out there and to be a global citizen.”

 Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer.