A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, a filmmaker, and representatives from the American Red Cross will converge on the campus of Northern Kentucky University to join in a celebration featuring authentic international cuisine, music, art and martial arts.
Important international issues will also be addressed during International Education Awareness Week on Nov. 15-19, including the impact of wars, natural disaster and immigration policy on families throughout the world. The event is sponsored by 24 campus and local organizations.
NKU will join people around the world in recognizing the annual event, which was brought together though a partnership with the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Education, in an effort to promote international understanding and build support for international educational exchanges.
“We are trying to expand students’ horizons and to help increase awareness of global issues,” said Beth Lorenz, study abroad adviser. “It is important to look at all issues of the world, and not just at a local level. Global events have the potential to impact everyone, whether students realize this or not. We wish students to become global citizens and to continue to expand their knowledge of world events, issues and problems.”
A keynote address from a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and activist Dr. V. Mohini Giri is the featured event of the week.
Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, is a social activist, scholar and writer who has worked more than four decades on women’s issues and has helped the victims of wars, riots and natural disasters focusing much of her efforts on the plight of widows in places like the war-torn Kashmir region. She comes from a family of activists and is the daughter-in-law of a former President of India, Shri V.V. Giri.
She will give a lecture to the NKU community at 2 p.m., Nov. 16, in the University Center’s Otto Budig Theater.
“We are very honored to have her speak at NKU,” said Lorenz, adding that a friendship formed between Giri and an NKU professor who did a photography project featuring widows in India prompted the invitation. Barbara Houghton’s photographs will also be on display during the week.
Responding to international crises like those that Giri works will also be discussed during a session about the humanitarian efforts of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent at 1 p.m., Nov. 18, in Student Union 108.
The Japanese Culture Festival will take place Nov. 18 in the Student Union as part of international week, and will include a karate demonstration, Sakura chorus, calligraphy, Japanese games and an opportunity to try on traditional Japanese clothing.
International films are also being featured during the week, including one about the keynote speaker.
On Monday, Nov. 15, organizers will present “White Rainbow,” a film featuring the story behind the keynote speaker and activist Dr. V. Mohini Giri as well as others fighting for the rights of women in India. As a special bonus, the filmmaker, Linda Mandrayer, will be present for a post film discussion. The event starts at 1 p.m. in Fine Arts 416.
“Watching the film is both educational and emotional. It is an eye-opening experience,” Mandrayer said about “White Rainbow.”
Through her personal appearance, Mandrayer said she hopes to do more than talk about the film.
“It is important for more and more people to learn of the widows’ plight so that positive change can take place,” she said. “I want to answer the many questions that viewers have after viewing this touching film. I also want to share with them how they can personally make a difference by helping to sponsor widows or by traveling to India on short term service trips.”
Repeats of the movie “White Rainbow” will be shown at 4:30 p.m., Nov. 15, and 4 p.m., Nov. 18.
Two other films will be shown; “7 Soles,” about the tragic suffering of a group of illegal immigrants who tried to cross the United States through the Sonoran Desert, and “Bon Voyage,” a French film about people escaping Paris during the Nazi invasion in 1940. “7 Soles” will be shown at 7 p.m.. Nov. 17, in the Otto Budig Theater, and “Bon Voyage” will be shown at 5 p.m., Nov. 19, in Landrum 506.
Chartwell’s, NKU’s campus food provider, will be serving up special lunches in Norse Commons to celebrate the week. Monday will feature Indian cuisine, Tuesday will feature Asian, Wednesday will feature Caribbean, Thursday will feature African and Friday will feature Italian.
The week will wrap up with an International Culture Festival on Friday night, Nov. 19, which will feature a ”mini-potluck” and entertainment at 6 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.
Information sessions and booths will be held for both faculty and students to learn about opportunities to study abroad. For more information and a schedule, visit http://studyabroad.nku.edu/iew.php.
Story by Jesse Call