Exhibits bring global culture, community members together

Ed Swaray

Amid posters and cultural artifacts, 75 international students from more than 20 countries presented exhibits from their native countries Wednesday at the Nolte Center as part of International Education Week.

The event aimed to bring international students to the community and the community to them, said Andrea Poulos, a University instructor and event organizer.

Poulos said this year’s education week is particularly important because the events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the circumstances of international students forever.

“There is a growing urgency since Sept. 11 to have a positive connection between international and American students,” she said.

Poulos said this year’s theme -“What I’d like others to know about my country” – helps enhance communication between cultures.

The event – organized by the Minnesota English Center – included posters and artifacts from the Holy Mosque of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Nazca Lines in Peru, shrines in Japan and a poster depicting Taiwanese night markets.

Luisa Ugarte, a University student from Peru, said she was excited to share information about the Nazca Lines, located in southern Peru.

The lines – figures on the land resembling people and geometric shapes – can only be seen from the sky and are enigmatic because no one knows who built them or why.

Badr Al-Shibani, a pharmacy student from Saudi Arabia, shared his knowledge of Muslim worship.

The Holy Mosque of Mecca is the most revered place of worship for Muslims, Al-Shibani said. He said that at the center of the Holy Mosque is the Ka’aba, which all Muslims are required to face five times every day when they offer prayers.

Saori Someya, a student from Japan, said shrines play important roles in Japanese lives. She said people visit shrines for many reasons, including praying to pass an exam and getting rid of bad spells.

French student Cecile Ferrouillet, who attended the event, said International Education Week gave her the opportunity to share her cultural values with others as well as learn important facts about other people’s cultures. Ferrouillet said learning about other cultures prevents misconceptions and misunderstandings.