Around the world in seven days

One event for International Education Week explores different holidays celebrated around the world.

By Taylor Williams – Staff Writer

The rhythmic sounds of the authentic African beat blare as the wild dancers flail their arms in celebration of the Kwanzaa holiday. The enticing scents of the buffet and the colorful posters and performances drew a crowd to Monday’s Multicultural Holiday Celebration, hosted by the Office of Multicultural Activities, which took place at Martin Luther King Plaza.

Stacy Koshko, a graduate assistant with the Office of Multicultural Activities, said the major objective of the Office of Multicultural Activities is to establish relationships with those unfamiliar with other cultural backgrounds.

Groups with holiday exhibitions collaborated to form displays. Koshko said the experience was supposed to be educational and follow the mission statement of the Office of Multicultural Activities, which is “… to educate and inspire all students at (USF) to discover and experience the value of cultivating culturally diverse interpersonal relationships.”

“What we’re trying to do is incorporate our vision into all that we do, and that is evident in this event,” Koshko said.

The event displayed several holidays that are celebrated by different cultures around the world. MLK Plaza was covered with posters and exhibitions telling stories of different holidays. For example, the Students of India Association hosted a demonstration for Diwali, a major Hindu religious festival.

Arun Karpur, a representative from the association, told the story of Rama (a Hindu god) killing a demon called Ravana.

“The holiday is a celebration of lights, where the inside and outside of houses are decorated with lamps, and temples are decorated in a similar fashion,” Karpur said.

Aside from the booths and displays, a buffet table and live performances were offered. The food at the tables represented an array of holidays, from turkey for Thanksgiving to potato latkes for Hanukkah.

In addition, the variety on stage was just as impressive. The live performances included poetry readings, the One Accord Dance Troupe, skits and songs.

Among the holidays represented were the Colombian Noche Buena, the Jewish festival Hanukkah, the Muslim Ramadan, the multicultural Thanksgiving and the Mexican Dia de los Muertos.

However, Thanksgiving is not a holiday only celebrated in the United States. Greece, China and Egypt, to name a few, have their own versions of the holiday, according to Karon Montgomery of the One Accord Dance Troupe.

“Thanksgiving is one holiday often overlooked at cultural presentations. Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday, is a form of a Thanksgiving as well, but many do not know this,” Montgomery said.

The festival drew students, such as freshman Areeba Johnson, who said she was eager to learn about the different holidays celebrated worldwide.

“It is nice to see that different organizations can come together to share their knowledge of their holidays with each other,” Johnson said. ” I celebrate Christmas, but I think it is interesting to see all the other holidays that other cultures celebrate.”

USF student Ryan Bornemann said because USF is a diverse campus it is important to understand the many cultures students encounter.

“Every culture intertwines within each other, and a thorough understanding of even the religious holidays will make for a more peaceful and accepting environment,” Bornemann said.

USF educates students about different cultures across the world during International Education Week.

By Sandra Serrano – Staff Writer

International Education Week, a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, began Monday at USF and nationwide.

The initiative strives to advocate programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States. The week is filled with celebrations open to the public emphasizing various cultural and educational activities at USF.

The week kicked off with the 2003 Holiday Celebration at the Martin Luther King Plaza with a focus on linking cultures through celebration.

“Basically, the community tries to incorporate the vision of our office to educate and inspire others to try and build interpersonal relationships with cultures other than their own,” said Stacy Koshko, a graduate assistant in the OMA.

The kickoff festivities continued with an awards reception to present winning images from the 2003 International Photo Competition.

The event was held at the William and Nancy Oliver Gallery in the Fine Arts Studio, and the winning images will remain on display at the gallery all week from 11 a.m.– 3 p.m.

In the late afternoon, the Library hosted readings in English and Spanish of works by Pablo Neruda, the 1971 Nobel Prize winner for literature.

“Neruda was an international poet who combined a number of literary styles including modernism, symbolism, and surrealism,” said Jorge Nef, director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies.Nef added that the World Languages Department helped sponsored the event.

“The Nobel Prize was awarded to him because of his very vast and profound literary commitments,” Nef said.

Nef said many of Neruda’s works are considered universal, which is partly attributed to Walt Whitman. Neruda was inspired by Whitman’s ability to appeal to the common man and showcased this inspiration with poems like “Ode to the Artichoke” and “Ode to the Tomato.”

The Chilean-born author wrote more cosmic pieces dealing with historical, archeological and political topics, Nef said. Neruda also wrote love poems.

“Neruda is to poetry what Picasso is to painting,” Nef said.

For those who missed Monday’s festivities, there is still a chance to take part in the week.

Today, Kent Calder from Princeton University will give a lecture on Globalization, the World Trade Organization and Asia at 6 p.m. in the Social Sciences Building, Room 160.

Calder, who is considered one of the most prominent scholars on East Asia in the nation, has had his focus on the role of the WTO in East Asia, placing special emphasis on the changing role of the WTO under globalization. Calder’s lecture will address topics such as the opportunities and challenges globalization presents to the WTO in East Asia and will offer a personal analysis on how the WTO should take advantages of opportunities and deal with challenges.

“We’re bringing (Dr. Calder) in because our mission is to educate people on globalization issues, and this is a very hot topic right now,” said Rebecca Harris, research director for the Globalization Research Center, who with International Affairs is sponsoring the event.

On Thursday, the English Language Institute’s fourth annual International Festival will start with an event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the MLK Plaza. The re will be 26 tables featuring countries from all over the world, including Turkey, Taiwan and Brazil, and have exhibits that will offer food, posters and arts and crafts. The event will also feature a myriad of performers that include belly dancers, martial artists, Japanese dancers and salsa dancers from the USF Salsa Club. A henna artist will also be on hand, and a bake sale will profit STELLAR, the scholarship fund for international students.

“This is a great opportunity to get to know the ELI and a great chance to get to meet people from other cultures,” said Ariadne Miranda, coordinator of student activities and language teacher at the ELI. “In one day you can learn about Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and more, and then meet people from these countries. When are you able to do that unless you travel all over the world?”

Later in the evening at 8 p.m., there will be a performance and lecture by Puerto-Rican artist Teó Castellanos in Theatre I.

“Castellanos addresses the questions of the boundaries of cultures, and focuses on the differences of oneness and otherness,” Nef said.

Castellanos is known for his street theatre and one-man plays. The piece he will perform Friday, “N.E. 2nd Avenue,” reflects on the experiences of immigrants and other multicultural experiences in diverse cities such as Miami.

“He deals with a question of identity,” Nef said. “Not only the Latino identity, but the American identity and the connectedness between the two.”

On Friday, the week of festivities will wrap up starting with an international conference on U.S. — Africa Relations: The Role of the African Union at the TECO Conference Hall in the College of Education.

“The conference is good for anyone interested in foreign affairs,” said Patrick Sandji, program coordinator for the event sponsor, the Institute on Black Life & Center for Africa and the Diaspora.

The conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will allow scholars, researchers and practitioners to explore past, present, and future relationships between these two entities.

“Since Sept. 11, there has been a strong emphasis on learning things about other cultures and other places. Here people will learn how the United States interacts with the rest of the world.”

Shortly after the conference, there will be a lecture by Dr. Kiran Bedi, police adviser to the United Nations on U.N.’s Role in Global Peacekeeping in room 296 of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center. The lecture will take place from 2 p.m. — 3 p.m.

Bedi, who was the first woman to join the Indian Police Service in 1972, as well as the highest-ranking woman in the service, is known for her assistance for uplifting the role of women in India.

In addition to these events, Afghan Portfolio, a photographic exhibit by Luke Powell, will be on exhibit for the month of November in the Grace Allen room on the fourth floor of the Library before moving downtown to the offices of Fowler White Boggs and Banker.