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The Carletonian

International Education Week: Carleton to host informative events in recognition of diversity

<rs ago, there were two international students in Carleton’s graduating class. At the moment, 117 students from 32 countries are enrolled in the College.

In honor of this global diversity, International Student Programs is hosting a week of festivities beginning Oct. 22. Sponsored by the U.S. State and Education Departments, “International Education Week” is an annual worldwide event in its eighth year, and is meant to promote understanding through international education and exchange. The official designated week is in November, but Carleton has planned its own observance for the last seven years due to its 10-week term.

“It’s basically a celebration,” said Petra Crosby, Director of International Student Programs. “We’ve tried to infuse a little bit of education into it, highlighting the different regions of the world.”

This year’s activities are centered on the Middle East – a theme inspired by the creation of the Middle East Mosaics study abroad program this winter and the advent of the Arabic progam at Carleton.

An Algerian/French film screening on Monday night will kick off the week, followed by the Twin Cities-based Jawaahir Dance Company’s performance on Tuesday.

International student leaders said they were especially excited about Wednesday’s Chili/Curry
Night, with its topic of “cultural competence.”

“I feel when living in an environment including students from across the globe, it is desirable for all students to be well-informed about world events,” said Aparna Dua ’09. “Events like International Education Week help touch base with some of the burning issues that other countries face today.”

An invitation-only dinner featuring Hebrew professor Stacy Beckwith as keynote speaker will be held Thursday night, and on Saturday afternoon students are welcome to sample foreign teas in Stimson House.Crosby said she hopes the week will help increase awareness of Carleton’s increasing internationalization, and continue the cultural exchange that already occurs between international students on campus.

“If you bring people into a neutral environment, it does foster some kind of dialogue and respect,” she said, explaining how exchange students from countries with political differences have a unique opportunity to connect when they come to the United States.

International Education Week is a chance for community outreach as well. The week will conclude with a potluck amongst international students and their host families – Carleton has a program that matches interested students with local residents. An ambassador program also sends students into area schools to share their backgrounds.

“International Education needs to be a life-long endeavor, not just a week-long ‘fun thing,’” said Jini Rao ’09. “Why? Because there’s a world out there – it’s vibrant, dynamic, and awe-inspiring.”

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