Southeast Celebrating Cultural Diversity in November with Carpe Diem, International Education Week

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Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate Carpe Diem and International Education Week (IEW) with a variety of in-person and virtual events to showcase the countries and cultures represented in the campus community.

Campus Life and Event Services and the Office of International Education and Services have partnered with several organizations on campus to offer a number of virtual and in-person activities for cultural sharing and learning.

The 2020 Carpe Diem and IEW celebrations are designed to feature the heritage of students, faculty and staff from nearly 60 countries who enrich the fabric of the campus, said Dr. Kevin Timlin, executive director of International Education and Services at Southeast.

“We are living in an increasingly globalized environment, and Southeast strives for our graduates to be competitive in their careers and to understand how people from other places think and act so they know how to collaborate,” he said. “Collaboration happens in every industry. Carpe Diem and IEW give everyone an opportunity to come together in person and virtually to learn more about those who are represented in faculty, staff and students.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Southeast’s traditional Carpe Diem and IEW will be celebrated through a series of events and activities throughout November.

IEW is a nationwide event co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of State to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide, and to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences.

Throughout the month on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Chartwells Dining Services will host Cultural Food Days. The University’s dining facilities will serve Chinese, Bangladeshi, Japanese, Vietnamese, Nepalese and Indian foods.

“We chose those particular cultures to highlight during the month because of the large number of students from those countries at Southeast,” said Tiffany Comfort, coordinator of leadership and involvement for Campus Life and Event Services.

Highlighting the month’s celebration will be an International Trivia Night on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. This unique event allows participants to play virtually live via Zoom or in person in the University Center Ballroom, said Comfort. Participants can compete for prizes while enjoying international snacks and drinks.

To promote the exchange of ideas and discussion, an International Film Festival will host film screenings and panel presentations every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Forrest H. Rose Theatre in Grauel Building. The films are also available online, and the panel discussions will be recorded and available at semo.edu/campuslife/carpediem. The films to be screened are:

  • Nov. 5: “The King of Masks” (China), panel hosted by Dr. Shu-Chuan Wang-McGrath, International Education and Services advisor and instructor of Chinese language, culture and history
  • Nov. 12: “Un Traductor” (Cuba), panel hosted by Dr. Kim Louie, assistant professor of Spanish
  • Nov. 19: “Searching for Nepal,” panel hosted by Dr. Kevin Timlin

“Each film was chosen for the series for its ability to teach viewers something about the culture presented,” Timlin said. “The panel presentation will be hosted by members of the Southeast community who are from one of the regions represented or have expertise in a topic presented.”

Cooking Tutorial: Dr. Shu-Chuan Wang-McGrath, Southeast instructor of Chinese language, culture and history demonstrates how to make dumplings with pork and cabbage.

Additional events and activities include a “Nailed It” baking competition, cooking tutorials, TikTok cultural dance challenge, international clothing day, “Open Doors” data release and a faculty and staff training about supporting multilingual students.

Comfort said, “These events and activities allow our international students to shine and share with everyone here at the University about their cultures, languages and religions through food, music, dance and education.”

This year events are particularly important to allow the campus community to connect and interact with others through various opportunities, Timlin said.

“Some of our international students may be feeling more isolated than at other times,” he said. “Supporting them is an important part of demonstrating our commitment to recognizing the value that they bring to campus.”

The events offer great experiences and opportunity for Southeast students, faculty and staff to interact with international students, and share ideas and broaden the understanding of different counties and cultures, Timlin said.

“We recognize that a lot of Southeast students have never traveled abroad, and interacting with an international student may be the first time they have met someone from another country,” he said. “During Carpe Diem and IEW, we put international students front and center as ambassadors to domestic students and the community. The goal is to help people develop a more nuanced understanding of people and cultures around the world.”

To see a full list of scheduled events, visit semo.edu/campuslife/carpediem.

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