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The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

International Education Week encourages students to celebrate and learn about different cultures

California Lutheran University’s Center for Global Engagement participated in International Education Week from Nov. 13-17 by hosting a series of themed events, workshops, information sessions and more across campus.

IEW is an initiative created by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education in an effort to celebrate international education worldwide.

“I believe it’s important for students to be able to understand and have compassion, empathy and awareness of different perspectives,” Provost for the CGE Christina Sanchez said. “And we ask each student to be able to broaden their worldview and to be able to demonstrate that along whatever career path they pursue in the future.” 

During IEW, Cal Lutheran encouraged students to celebrate and commemorate various cultures and traditions that are represented throughout the campus. Sanchez said all the events were open to everyone, and over 80 countries participated in IEW. 

IEW’s website said this year’s theme was ‘International Education is the Future’. In addition to their annual theme, they provided daily themes that campuses, individuals and businesses across the country could celebrate.

“Open Doors to the Future” was the first themed day held on Monday, Nov. 13, according to the IEW’s website. This theme was set up to report on trends in international education and their impact, and the CGE hosted a workshop on faculty-led programs abroad that day. 

The workshop discussed how short-term, study-abroad options work and encouraged faculty to participate in creating proposals for more faculty-led programs in 2025.

Later that day, the Hindu festival of lights holiday, Diwali, was celebrated on the Student Union patio. Students, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the festival of lights and shared traditional Diwali foods.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14 the theme was “You are the Future!”, which focused on the many opportunities available in international education. A non-partisan Peace March was conducted from The Enormous Luther Statue to Richter Hall, and a showing and discussion of the film “The Other Son” was held by the Department of Film and Television in collaboration with the CGE. 

The theme “The Future Is Global” displayed the expansion of international exchange programs on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The CGE, Department of Languages and Culture and Ethnic and Race Studies held a roundtable that included presentations on various areas of interest and education in Columbia. 

Later that day, the World Fair was hosted at the Lundring Events Center, where tables were set up to display various art, cultural artifacts, food and information relating to other countries. Countries represented included China, South Korea, Kenya, Armenia, and Palestine.

“In this event, we have a lot of diversity from different cultures and different countries…something we cannot have in our daily lives. Either different countries’ cultures, different food or even the music, I think it really promotes diversity,” Cal Lutheran Student Zhiyuan Wei said. 

“Innovate the Future” was the theme on Thursday, Nov. 16 and it centered on non-traditional classrooms, including how technological advances as educational options are available in different settings. 

The CGE held an informational session for faculty who were interested in applying for a seminar abroad in Columbia to study the culture, education and sustainability issues. 

The last theme of the week on Friday, Nov. 17 was “Lead the Future”, which celebrated the ways in which international education is changing the world. 

An informational session was held on how to participate in the J-1 visa for international scholars. It aimed to increase understanding and exposure for the people of the U.S. with other countries by sharing educational and cultural exchange. 

Residence halls Thompson Hall and Kramer Court held a Global Friendsgiving later that day with international cuisine and an opportunity to create messages of hope for ICE detention individuals across the U.S.

Sanchez said IEW is a great opportunity for students to get involved with the CGE. Coming together and connecting with each other with an open-minded perspective, Sanchez said, helps others build a strength of character.

“It builds friendships and helps us in our objectives to create a better world, to strive toward awareness and understanding that can help in the promotion of peace; something very much needed in our society,” Sanchez said. 

While this is a week of celebration, Sanchez said, international engagement and opportunities for global understanding and awareness should be every day. Sanchez said people don’t have to wait for the next IEW to celebrate because we all have a chance to come together as a community on a daily basis. 

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