I am Global Week celebrates campus diversity through multicultural events

November 17, 2017

I am Global Week kicked off Saturday, Nov. 11 with a variety of events aimed at international and American students alike. The week coincides with International Education Week, a joint initiative by the U.S. Department of Education and The U.S. Department of State.

International Education Week and I am global week run from Nov. 13-17, aimed at promoting global awareness and cultural exchange. This is the 17th year of the week-long celebration, and Brandeis is hosting 28 events throughout the week.

I am Global Week is sponsored by the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) which collaborates with the International Student Experience Project (INSTEP), student clubs and other organizations on campus to plan each day’s events. The week-long function is headed by Jingwen Yan, the International Student Advisor for Community Integration.

I am Global Week began with a kick-off celebration in the SCC, where students received free t-shirts and made buttons celebrating their global identity. The global fellows, students who volunteer to help organize the events, promoted I am Global week through the Brandeis Instagram account and introduced most of the events.

Following the kick-off event, on Tuesday, students attended a language lunch where they could practice speaking a variety of languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, German and Portuguese, and an international candy tasting event in the ISSO office.

According to Izabella Nickel, a Global Fellow, some of the most popular events in the past have been Nyumbani Night for Africa, which took place Saturday evening, and MELA, a charity show including dance performances, spoken word, music by students around campus, and an Indian meal after the performances. MELA will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 6-8 p.m. in Levin Ballroom.

“One of the awesome events for the year is MELA and Night for Africa,” Nickel said. “Year after year those are always really successful.” Yan echoed this sentiment, saying “MELA is absolutely something that everyone should go check out.”

One of the largest events of I am Global week was the Global Bazaar, which took place Thursday at 4 p.m. A variety of tables were assembled from student clubs and organizations all across campus, including language clubs, study abroad, and graduate student affairs.

This year, the Bazaar was held in the Shapiro Campus Center rather than Levin ballroom as in previous years to attract more students. The Bazaar also placed more responsibility on students to orchestrate the event. The changes were implemented by Yan, who is new to Brandeis as of 2016.

“ISSO used to take a lot of responsibilities in the planning…This year I want students to do the work…We’re not just planning a Bazaar…We’re educators. And I think the entire process for students is a really good experience for [all] of them.”

Another change this year is the involvement of the global fellows. As opposed to previous years, the global fellows focused mainly on social media and introducing events rather than the planning process, according to Nickel.

“The role of the global fellow this year was just significantly different than it was last year… So last year…our first meeting was in the spring… so we started the semester before the fall and this year we met like a month and a half ago… But I think that going forward it will probably start to again have more emphasis again on the students,” Nickel said.

I am Global week also focuses on the international aspects of the Waltham community. Lauren Shortall, the community service specialist under the department of community service, worked to involve community service organizations on campus with the Global Bazaar, such as the Waltham group.

Shortall was excited about what the week will bring to Brandeis. “I hope that it opens up minds in terms of the different opportunities that are available at Brandeis related to the global community…I think…[it’s] just wonderful to be able to see all of the different cultural perspectives that are here on campus from students, staff and faculty and to really explore that in a more intentional way.”

I am Global week will end Saturday, Nov. 18 with four final events. The entire events list can be found on the Brandeis Events calendar, or the I am Global week website.

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