International Education Week (IEW) is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. IEW was first organized in 2000 in the United States as a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences. Today it’s celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide.
IEW 2016 was celebrated during the week of November 14-18. Throughout IEW, events and activities were devoted to celebrating world regions and cultures, raising awareness of international and global issues, developing cross-cultural environmental skills, and promoting respect and concern for other cultures and peoples.
In line with the worldwide occasion, the Center for Student Success similarly carried out a number of events during the annual celebration of IEW at the American University of Armenia (AUA). This year, the theme was “Cultural Coexistence”. To culturally coexist, is to create a long-term positive impact within and across international communities. It involves learning to accept and be at peace with diverse cultures despite racial or religious differences. The Center for Student Success felt it was important to provide all events with a message central to this theme. Thus, the events hosted by the Center complemented the theme through film screenings, a global food festival, performances, language exchange and coffee hour, folktale hour, a Peace Corps presentation, as well as a presentation of students’ home countries.
One of the most popular events was the presentations of students’ home countries. These discussions on the United States, Afghanistan, Cuba, China, Lebanon, India, and Syria, were well attended due to students’ curiosity for a deeper understanding about what life is like in each country highlighted.
Another favorite event was the Cultural Chaos Concert presented by AUA’s Silhouette club. Students gathered to enjoy a night of international music. The performances mesmerized the audience with remarkable talent from piano solos to duets. There was even a surprise performance of National Armenian dance.
Sophomore, Nareg Soussani mentioned, “The Peace Corps presentation was my favorite. The presenter spoke in great detail about what it is like to be a Peace Corps volunteer and how living in Armenia has given her a new perspective about the world.”
Gevorg Keshishian and Alex Mikayelyan, who presented on living in the United States, said, “We had the best presentation. It was fun presenting to everyone and we had a great time. Side note, the food festival was delicious, I didn’t think that I could trust Sushi here, but I changed my mind.”
Freshmen Grace Hossepian added, “I really liked the country presentations that gave us an opportunity to ask questions directly to natives. The internet can sometimes be misleading and gives us a wrong image about the country, so I enjoyed hearing from a native person.”
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.