Events aim to teach international awareness

by Courtney Lewis

Students have been able to increase their global IQs by taking Chinese background quizzes, hearing about group homes in Australia or learning how pharmacists deal with the restrictions of the Islamic faith.

For its second year, the nationally supported International Education Week is running from Nov. 12-16. Several colleges are sponsoring a wide array of events, from academic discussions over brown bag lunches to awards ceremonies.

The departments of State and Education established International Education Week in 2000 to help Americans become more globally aware.

“There’s been a blurring between domestic and international issues,” said Carol Byrne, executive director of the Minnesota International Center. “It’s in our best interest to learn about the world, but it’s also extremely enriching.”

Jennifer Schulz, senior editor at the Office of International Programs, said the goal of the week is to highlight the University’s support of international education.

Professors and students who have studied abroad will speak about their experiences to help people gain an understanding of international education, Schulz said.

Joan Brzezinski, assistant director of the China Center said, “I think that it’s our mission at the University to foster students’ awareness of the world and get our message out. International Education Week is a focus point to reach a number of students.”

She said events this week have been well received, and several students have “stopped by to take quizzes and meet the faculty.”

Schulz said she expected high turnout for an interfaith panel discussion at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs’ Cowles Auditorium.

The OIP also organized a reception recognizing 1,300 international scholars at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Humphrey Center. A coffee hour in the atrium at 4 p.m. Friday will draw the events of the week to a close.

The finale will include a performance by the winners of the 2001 Twin Cities International Citizen Award: the Pangea World Theater, which created its performance especially for International Education Week. Food, discussions, dancing and a balloon drop will be featured in the Humphrey Center’s atrium during the finale.

Byrne said International Education Week is valuable because it exposes the general public to international issues.

“Everything that we do is international education,” Byrne said. “It’s not just limited to one week.”

Courtney Lewis welcomes comments at [email protected]