International Week connects campus to the world

At a university where 11 per cent of first-year students come from abroad, it’s no wonder International Week is among the most diverse and celebratory events happening this term.

“This week-long event celebrates diversity and intercultural learning across our campus while raising awareness about the opportunities for students, faculty and staff to participate in international learning experiences at home and abroad.”

These were President Amit Chakma’s words from his email update last week, a sentiment which International Week Coordinator, Nassisse Solomon says addresses exactly why the event is so important for the Western Community.

Solomon has been involved in planning the fourth annual International Week since May. During that time, she has worked with partners across the community, including the International Week Committee, comprised of members from across the university and affiliated colleges, as well as in the greater London community.

“This has made the planning process far more collaborative and enabled us to explore new events and partnerships across campuses,” Solomon said.

Among these new events are open houses and lectures happening at both the Ivey Business School and Brescia University College, highlighting a couple of the ways this year’s International Week will incorporate the faculties and affiliates. Also new this year is the Passport Contest, which offers a grand prize of $500 to students who participate in International Week events. Along with the additional 60-70 events listed to date, International Week has something for everyone, organizers said.

For Solomon, the Opening Celebrations have her most excited. They will be happening between 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21, throughout various locations across campus, including the Talbot College Atrium, University Community Centre, D.B. Weldon Library, Taylor Library and King’s University College, to name a few.

“We have partnered with various campus and community organizations to have several different musical, dance and other cultural performances in these spaces,” Solomon said. “The objective of these performances is to increase awareness of International Week and engage the campus audiences in spaces that they are already in.”

Initiatives like this increase the likelihood of an impressive turn out this year – what with the 122 registered volunteers, who have dedicated their time and effort thus far promoting upcoming events through social media, and promotional blitzes across residences and affiliates, Solomon said.

“We are working hard to bring shows to the campus community,” she continued.

Among the staple events this year is the annual Africa-Western Collaboration Day, featuring keynote speaker Maimuna Kanyamala, who will share her story about founding Mikono Yetu (Joining Our Hands), an organization committed to addressing gender inequality in land ownership and economically empowering women and girls. The event is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22, in the International and Graduate Affairs building.

With this year’s main planning objective of creating partnerships across faculties and affiliates, International Week stands as an opportunity to connect the university community to the world and each other, Solomon said.

TAKE ON THE WORLD

For more information, including a full schedule of events, visit the International Week website at internationalweek.uwo.ca/.