By Mariam Murphy
In 2000, the US Department of State along with the US Department of Education began its initiative to educate students about the global community we live in. International Education Week, or IEW, is celebrated in over 100 countries all over the world. Held annually in November, IEW helps students learn to appreciate the diverse society that each of us is apart of. Every individual contributes a piece to the interconnected puzzle that makes our global society so unique. Representatives from across the United States, Ireland, Australia, and Italy have expressed their support of the continuous efforts that different groups have shown to incorporate multicultural awareness. One of the main objectives of IEW is to educate students not only about our own values and viewpoints, but also those of neighboring nations. The foundation for learning about these cultural difference starts in the classroom, but this does not mean that only educators can get evolved. While the foundation may begin in a school setting, it continues to grow with the interactions people have on a daily basis.
Here on campus, we as students are encouraged to express our own cultural uniqueness as well as become aware of different cultures around us. Throughout the week faculty, staff, and students were able to participate in a variety of activities on campus. Every afternoon students would anxiously wait to see what the Question of the Day was and who would be first to respond to with the correct answer. Also throughout the week, different organizations sponsored events on campus encouraging students to learn about different cultures.
International Education Week was a way to help students along their individual paths of becoming global citizens. As we end our festivities of International Education Week for the year we must remember that international awareness does not end here, on the contrary it has only begun!
Many students are looking for opportunities to continue learning about the cultural diversity in the world around us. Whether it is taking a multicultural course, introducing yourself to a culture that is new to you or even studying abroad, there are many opportunities students can take to continue learning about the world we live in and more importantly, the school that we go to. BenU prides itself on being a diverse university and we have all been a witness to that. In order to better understand the students around us, it is important that we understand the backgrounds they come from. International Education Week serves as the hammer to break down the walls we have built as ethnic barriers from one another. Learning about different cultures is a long-lasting journey, and whatever direction you chose, your local inspiration should enable you to succeed globally.
To find out more information visit http://iew.state.gov/press.cfm