International Education Week helps in ‘promoting global understanding’


Photo by Carrollyne Aasen- Reporter

The African Student Association table at the World Fair on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Carrollyne Aasen, Reporter

California Lutheran University’s Center for Global Engagement organized International Education Week at Cal Lutheran starting with the celebration of Diwali on Saturday, Nov. 13 and ending with International Friendsgiving on Friday, Nov. 19. 

“I think promoting global understanding through these events has students more open and exposed to other cultures and that’s how they start learning and, you know, caring for others,” said Mandavi Chattopadhyay, a CGE graduate assistant.

According to the CGE’s event page, IEW is a national opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Additionally, the page said this is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education.

“Every higher ed institutions do celebrate International Education Week in some way,” said Lara Raynaud, assistant director of the CGE and the Office of International Students and Scholars. “Some of them choose to do lecture series, some of them will be just watching international movies throughout the week.” 

She said IEW is always the third week of November, but there have been times Cal Lutheran celebrated the week at a different time. Last year, the celebration was pushed back to spring 2021 in hopes of having more outdoor events, but only one event was outdoors according to Raynaud.

However, she said this year’s celebration was a hybrid celebration with indoor, outdoor and Zoom events such as the World Fair, a movie night, international chapel and a photo contest.

“Regardless of when it happens, we are always happy to bring a little bit more of a perspective around the good work that is being done at Cal Lutheran and our communities and opportunities for us to come together,” said Associate Provost for Global Engagement Christina Sanchez.

Raynuad said something new this year was having IEW kick-off on Saturday instead of Monday. She said Cal Lutheran’s Club India wanted to celebrate Diwali on another day, so while brainstorming dates to celebrate, it was getting close to IEW. 

“We combined the celebrations of Diwali and International Education Week because our Club India wanted to actually celebrate Diwali like they do every year, but they didn’t want to do it on Diwali because they wanted to celebrate it with friends and family,” Raynaud said.  

Sanchez and Raynaud said the biggest event of the week is the World Fair. Raynuad said this event always falls on a Wednesday and is the most attended event. 

“It’s even more important to remind our community at our local level that, in Cal Lutheran, there are 49 different nationalities, there is multicultural diversity on campus, so it’s important for some people to know it, to understand it, to discover it,” Raynaud said.  

On Nov. 15, the Francophone club and the French program held a virtual movie watch party as part of International Education Week. The movie was “The Wolf’s Call” on Netflix in French. 

President of the Francophone Club Ariana Godinez said the club was hoping to have an in-person event, but the event ended up being virtual and gave out complimentary snacks before the movie party in Swenson 213.

“We need to appreciate and to be open to learning a little bit about the other people around us,” Godinez said. 

Godinez said there were about 15 attendees and the event overall went well. She said the club enjoyed doing something again this year for International Education Week, and she hopes to do another event next year.

“I hoped they enjoyed the movie first of all, and maybe they were able to practice a little bit of their French, their listening,” Godinez said. “To those who didn’t come from Professor Fortune’s French class, for those who just registered…thank you for being open to watching a movie from a different culture.”