International Week 2015 to celebrate OHIO’s global family

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As seen in Compass and The Athens Messenger:

International Week 2015 to celebrate OHIO’s global family

Events planned for April 12-19

Apr 8, 2015

By McKenzie Powell

O hio University will kick off its annual International Week this coming weekend and is planning a week of activities all centered around the theme, “Our Global Family Celebration.”

One of the most highly-anticipated celebrations of spring semester, International Week kicks off Sunday, April 12, and runs through Sunday, April 19, with globally focused events and activities planned throughout the Athens Campus and in the city of Athens. All events are open to the public.

“International Week is about celebrating all the different cultures here on campus,” explained Krista McCallum Beatty, director of OHIO’s International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS), one of several University offices sponsoring this year’s festivities. “It’s also about increasing awareness and having distinct conversations that change perspectives.”

Celebrated as early as 1969, OHIO’s International Week became an annual, weeklong affair in 1979 and has evolved into a rich tradition of engaging and facilitating international awareness and diversity among Bobcat Nation and the surrounding community.

This year’s festivities will include some standard favorites from past International Weeks, some international themes woven into traditional weekly events held on campus, as well as some new features.

One of the highlights of this year’s International Week will be a keynote speech from Derreck Kayango, who was named a Top 10 CNN Hero in 2011. Kayango founded the non-profit Global Soap Project, which repurposes soap from hotels to produce 30,000 bars of soap per week and donates them to people in more than 20 countries. Kayango’s family fled civil war in Uganda in 1979 when he was 10 years old, and his keynote speech, which will be delivered at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, will focus on empowerment, social entrepreneurship and our international community.

OHIO students have an extra incentive for attending the keynote speech, courtesy of Ohio University Residential Housing.

According to Ellie Koewler, an ISFS student worker who helped plan International Week, students who attend the keynote address will be eligible for a chance to win placement in a suite in the new residence halls that will open in August across from the Ping Center on the Athens Campus. The student who wins that placement will be able to bring along up to three friends to live with them in that suite – one as a roommate, the other two as suitemates in the adjoining room. The contest is offering placement only in the residence halls; housing fees will still apply.

Another highlight of the week will be the screening of “The Missing Picture,” a 2013 documentary that tells the story of the Khmer Rouge occupation of Cambodia. The film, which will be shown at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 17, at the Athena Cinema, commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge occupation and will be followed by commentary from award-winning journalist and author Elizabeth Becker, who wrote about the occupation in her novel, “When the War was Over.”

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of OHIO’s Center for International Studies, which seeks to educate globally engaged citizens, promote sustainable and responsible development, and contribute to peace and justice throughout the world. In honor of this milestone, the center will host an open house during International Week from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Friday, April 17, at the Yamada International House.

International Week also coincides with OHIO’s International Alumni Reunion, which is being sponsored by the Ohio University Alumni Association and the Center for International Studies. Celebrating 120 years of international connections and the Center for International Studies’ 50th anniversary, the reunion is designed to welcome back to campus OHIO’s international alumni and friends with international ties. For more information, visit http://www.ohio.edu/advancement/international/reunion/.

One of International Week’s signature events, the International Street Fair, will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 18, on Court Street in uptown Athens. A celebration of town and gown, the event will feature the parade of flags and welcoming remarks followed by an afternoon of performances, food, activities and cultural exchange. The International Street Fair is made possible through a partnership involving the city of the Athens and the Athens City-County Health Department.

“International Week means friends from around the world. It brings together people who don’t necessarily see each other regularly, or who get to see each other in a different context. It’s so, so cool to see our students from other countries have a public venue where they can showcase where they come from,” McCallum Beatty said. “It’s about changing your perspective of how you look at things and think about things. It doesn’t mean giving up where you come from; it means expanding your perspective on the world.”

International Week 2015 is sponsored by OHIO’s International Student Union, International Student and Faculty Services, the Center for International Studies, the Student Activities Commission, the Public Relations Student Society of America, Event Services, Undergraduate and Graduate Student Senates, the Office of Global Opportunities, the Black Student Cultural Programming Board, the Campus Involvement Center, the University Program Council, Residential Housing, and Culinary Services, which will be serving international dishes during the week at the University’s dining halls.

For a complete schedule of International Week activities, see the sidebar to this article or visit http://www.ohio.edu/internationalweek/.

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