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Bringing the world to Lehigh's campus

Sara McIntyre's photo, taken in Tanzania where she taught first grade to orphans this past summer, won first prize in the recent International Week photo contest.

Over 2,000 students participated in 32 academic and cultural events offered during International Week, which was held Nov. 9-15.

Lehigh ranked sixth in the nation for the greatest number of programs offered, according to the Worldwide International Week Web site. The five schools that surpassed Lehigh have an average enrollment of 30,000 students.

“We have done more programs in the past, but this year they were more comprehensive and more collaborative than before,” says Bill Hunter, director of the Global Union.

More than 35 campus groups, including all four of Lehigh’s colleges, participated in this year’s “Celebration of Diversity,” which was presented by the Global Union. Clubs, departments, faculty and students reached across traditional boundaries to create events, such as “Fusion Festival.”

This year, Lehigh’s Asian clubs teamed up with the Black Student Union to transform their annual “Asian Fusion” into “Fusion Festival.” Hundreds of students flooded Lamberton Hall to watch skits, dancing, rap music and demonstrations of the Chinese yo-yo on Saturday, Nov. 15.

The College of Education actively partook in the International Week festivities for the first time this year. Graduate students in the newly-formed Comparative and International Education (CIE) program designed a week-long program on Mountain Top Campus to parallel the one on Asa Packer Campus.

They held daily brown bag lunches that featured a series of Lehigh faculty involved with international projects and a Fulbright student from Peru. They also offered donuts and discussion of international education during two coffee break meetings.

“It was an opportunity to showcase and share the work that we do and create interest for the program among the Lehigh community,” says Iveta Silova, assistant professor of CIE.

“We plan on being involved in International Week next year and every year after that,” says Alex Wiseman, associate professor and program coordinator for the CIE program.

The CIE program also sponsored a screening of “Two Million Minutes,” a documentary about high school education in the U.S., India and China on Thursday, Nov. 13. Yuping Zhang, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, Reetika Gupta, professor of accounting, and Richard Brandt, director of the Iacocca Institute, led a panel discussion after the film.

Just before the screening, Sara MacIntyre ’09 was proclaimed the winner of a photo contest sponsored by the CIE program, the Study Abroad office, COE Diversity Committee, Office of International Programs (COE) and the Global Citizenship program. Lehigh students, faculty and staff submitted over 60 photos that they believed captured "international education." The campus community voted on the best of 24 finalists, which can be viewed online.

The week was a success, says Ilya Khazen ’10, president of the Global Union.

“International Week was our opportunity to celebrate diversity and ‘bring the world to campus,’” Khazen says. “Personally, our ‘kickoff’ event was my favorite with a turnout that beat all expectations.”

Khazen refers to an all-you-can-eat international dinner on Sunday, Nov. 9 that attracted an estimated 500 students.

Other key events included a videoconference with French university students and an all-day meeting with Germany’s ambassador to the UN to be held in New York City on Friday, Nov. 14.

Seven films were shown during the week, including “The Counterfeiters,” a German film that won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film at the 2008 Academy Awards.

International Week concluded at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, in the Zoellner Arts Center with a concert titled “Fusion Fest: Jazz from Brazil.”

--Kurt Pfitzer and Becky Straw

Posted on Tuesday, December 09, 2008

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