Southeast Highlighting Cultural Diversity with International Education Week Events


CL-ActivitiesCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 13, 2014 – Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate the cultural diversity of the campus where more than 1,000 international students representing more than 55 countries are studying this fall during International Education Week Nov. 17-21.

Officials with the Office of International Education and Services say Southeast’s growing diverse campus population exemplifies the range of ethnicity, race and origin that Americans continue to see increasingly represented in the United States.

International Education Week (IEW) will be celebrated with 10 events throughout the week at multiple locations across the campus in conjunction with the efforts of several Southeast offices and academic departments.

IEW is a joint initiative by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education which began in 2000 and takes places in more than 100 countries worldwide. The celebration focuses on the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide, according to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The activities hosted during this week aim to facilitate cross-cultural understanding and prepare Americans for the interconnected world of today.

“Southeast believes students’ growth and success goes beyond the classroom,” said Suzanne Omran, assistant director of International Programming at the Office of International Education and Services. “Experiential learning and co-curricular activities, including cultural activities like those presented during International Education Week, can engage our student body and promote awareness, understanding and unity among our students and the entire campus community.”

IEW will address different aspects of cultural diversity and provide sessions specifically tailored to American students, such as “Market your International Experiences in the Job Search” co-sponsored by Career Services and a “Study Abroad Fair” co-sponsored by the Donald L. Harrison College of Business, College of Education, Department of Global Cultures and Languages, and Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation.

The week will include two film screenings, “Crossing Borders” at 6 p.m. Nov. 18, shining light on Muslim stereotypes, and “Girl Rising” at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20, sharing the stories of nine girls coming from different developing countries who all have one thing in common: overcoming the challenge and pushing cultural boundaries to pursue an education and their dreams.

“‘Crossing Borders’ shows us that stereotypes, across and among cultures, can lead to misunderstandings and lost opportunities to learn and grow,” Omran said. “It brings out some of the basic misconceptions students from the United States have about people in the Middle East and vice versa. For me, ‘Crossing Borders’ shows us that making assumptions about a person or group of people, regardless of their background, can cause unfounded resentment, anger and frustration.”

Omran said that the office is screening “Girl Rising” as a result of Malala Yousafzai’s recent Nobel Peace Prize.

“Everyone has encountered some kind of obstacle to their education; but, some women in other countries must overcome incredible odds to be educated,” she said.

An International Café will be hosted Nov. 19 and will provide international students the opportunity to share with the community different types of coffee, tea and other beverages which are typically drunk in their home countries.

Other events include an International Trivia Night; an Optional Practical Training Informational Workshop for those international students seeking to work in the United States in their field of study after graduation; an International Celebration of Festivities co-sponsored by Campus Life and Event Services; an International Thanksgiving Dinner co-sponsored by the Baptist Student Center; and the Office of International Education and Services’ Open House.

A complete schedule of the week’s events is below.


Monday, Nov. 17

Market your International Experiences in the Job Search

Co-sponsored by Career Services
2 p.m., University Center Redhawks Room

International Trivia Night
6 p.m., University Center Tribute Room


Tuesday, Nov. 18
OPT Informational Workshop
11 a.m., University Center Heritage Room

International Celebration of Festivals
Co-sponsored by Campus Life and Event Services
Noon, University Center Redhawks Room

Film Screening: Crossing Borders
6 p.m., University Center Heritage Room


Wednesday, Nov. 19

Study Abroad Fair
Co-sponsored by Harrison College of Business, College of Education, Department of Global Cultures and Languages and Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation
11 a.m., University Center Program Lounge

International Café
4 p.m., University Center Program Lounge and Pit


Thursday, Nov. 20

International Thanksgiving Dinner
Co-sponsored by the Baptist Student Center
5 p.m., Baptist Student Center

Film Screening: Girl Rising
6:30 p.m., Dempster Hall, Room 125


Friday, Nov. 21

Office of International Education and Services Open House
1 p.m., International Center