International Education Week Features Numerous Events to Celebrate Cultural Diversity
Students from a multitude of countries across the world will share in their experiences, heritage and customs during ODU’s International Education week. ODU honors International Education week from Nov. 12 through Nov.17, and will hold events sponsored by several cultural and ethnic student associations and groups.
International Education week is described as a nationwide celebration of international exchange across all cultures around the globe. All events are open to the public and traverse a variety of activities and speakers. International Education week gives students and staff a fun and easily accessible view into other cultures, and seeks to enlighten and broaden understandings of the many traditions, and beliefs, that make up the ODU community.
International Education week commenced on Monday with the Diwali “Festival of Lights” at the Ted Constant Convocation center. India’s largest and most celebrated national holiday features the lighting of lamps and decorating of houses. Many Indians partake in a feast and bond together with close family and neighbors during the annual five day Diwali celebration.
Traditionally, lanterns and candles are lit up in homes and fireworks set off, to honor the holiday. The Diwali celebration at the Ted featured a variety of games and shows including bingo, raffles, an Indian themed fashion show, and cultural performances by both international and Indian students. Sponsored by the Indian Students Association the event was held as a celebration of Indian heritage, and a didactic for sharing cultural awareness.
“We would like to give out knowledge about India, the festivals, the cultural diversity, promoting international integrity and intercultural engagement among several nationalities,” Indian Student Association’s Public Relations Officer Sai Tirumerla said.
Additionally, the Muslim Student Association will sponsor two events including the Islam Fair and the upcoming Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet Documentary and Panel. This will feature a documentary on the life of the Prophet, and a question and answer segment with the audience. Both events will seek to educate students about Islam and the Qura’an. President of the MSA Mazin Abuharaz addressed what they hope to accomplish through their events.
“[We] hope to spread the sourced knowledge about the biography of the Prophet Muhammad and clear misconceptions about Islam, and enhance international students experience at ODU,” Abuharez said.
Events for International Education week also include Emerging Issues in International Student and Scholar Exchange panel, Global Café: Austria, Soirée Poésie-An Evening of Poetry with the French club. Café 1201 will also host the annual International Night on Wednesday, where cuisine dishes from around the world will be available inside the cafeteria.
In addition, an International Education Country Fair will take place on Wednesday in the North Mall of the Webb Center. This will showcase and allow students to “tour the world” by visiting each of the booths hosted by international students. Giving students an easy and accessible opportunity to talk to students from other countries and gain an understanding of different cultural backgrounds.
Saturday will conclude the International Education week festivities with International Children’s Day, sponsored by the African Caribbean Association and the Office of Intercultural Relations. Children’s Day will feature performances by ODU’s very own Ya Gamila!, Belly Dancing organization, and feature prominent author Asadah Kirkland.
By: Andrew Tompkins