International Awareness Week celebrates diverse cultures, informs campus

3 03 2009
Posted: 3 Mar 2009
Deaf people from different countries are diverse in their world views, in their sign languages, and in their communities. The purpose of Gallaudet’s International Awareness Week (IAW), held February 23 to 27, was to inform the community about the many cultures, languages, and traditions that enrich the University and the world. 
A student demonstrates a dance from her home country.

A student demonstrates a dance from her home country.

 
Activities that take place each year during IAW promote interaction between deaf people. The English Language Institute Student Organization (ELISO) is involved with many of the activities, such as preparing and selling international foods to give the campus community a taste of the world’s many cuisines and to raise funds for the organization. The Center for International Programs and Services (CIPS) works with ELISO to present the week’s activities.
 
IAW activities showed many aspects of Gallaudet’s international community. A visual representation of its diversity appeared along Lincoln Circle in the form of dozens of flags from different countries waving in the wind, and international dance demonstrations in the Jordan Student Academic Center’s Marketplace showed many means of expression through movement. In addition, international students gave presentations about their countries and unique aspects of their cultures, demonstrated their countries’ sign languages, and performed cultural skits.
International students carry flags from their countries up the stairs of the the Jordan Student Academic Center

International students carry flags from their countries up the stairs of the the Jordan Student Academic Center

 
As in past years, CIPS and ELISO invited dance troupes from off campus to entertain the crowd with Chinese dragon dance and African dance forms. Each day, lunch crowds—and on Friday, the dinner crowd as well—had a chance to learn and experience a little more.
 
While IAW is a celebration of difference, it also encourages the community to embrace the ideals of international cooperation and teamwork. This is an effort that CIPS is involved with year-round, as a facilitator for international events at the University and partner institutions around the world.
 
-By Dr. Asiah Mason, director of CIPS
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