International Week spreads cultural awareness

The International Program and the Multi-Cultural Affairs Committee kicked off its third annual International Awareness Week Monday.

The theme for this year’s event is Hands Across the World: Celebrating Cultures.

On Monday, students gathered around the Eternal Flame for the proclamation of International Awareness.

Dr. LaRae Donnellan, co-chair of the International Awareness Week Committee and co-chair of the Multi-Cultural Affairs Committee, said there are two purposes for the week.

“One purpose is to foster a dialogue of international issues that affect us all,” she said. “The other purpose is to raise money to support international study by FAMU students.”

There have been a variety of activities such as symposiums on international topics such as international health, agriculture and the environment and democracy and governance.

Today there will be an Arab/U.S. relations symposium that will take place in the Coop. Extension Teleconference Center at 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

“We have experts coming to speak on topics that are relevant to today,” she said. “This is an excellent education opportunity.”

There will also be an international fashion show, a spring cultural parade and festival and a Model United Nations conference for students to participate in.

“We are going to have a lot of fun,” Donnellan said. “We will have a free festival party with face painting, silly Olympic games, free samples of international food and a variety of musical entertainment.”

“For our Model United Nations conference, five high schools are participating as well as FAMU students. They will be representing different countries and will have debates and discussions on different issues.”

Simone Levy, a junior public relations student from Willingboro, N.J. said she is happy that there is an International week.

“America has a lot of stereotypes of other cultures. Some people just take one thing they have seen on television and think they know everything about a culture,” said the 21, Jamaican descent.

“I think having an International Awareness Week helps people learn about different cultures and also helps them understand.”

Thomas Adams, a 22, senior mechanical engineering student from Jacksonville, said it is a good idea that FAMU is having a week to celebrate other cultures.

“We get caught up in everyday life that we forget about the world around us,” said the FSU student. “Although, other cultures may do things differently, we need to understand each other’s point of views and celebrate the uniqueness of everyone’s culture.”

To close out the week, there will be an International Scholarship Banquet and a silent auction.

The proceeds will be used for student scholarships. Everyone is also encouraged to come in International attire.

“Our major fund raising is the International Banquet,” Donnellan said.

“Vacation get-aways and gift certificates will be auctioned off in the silent auction. The Honorable Shirley Barnes, former Ambassador to Madagascar, will also be our speaker for the night.”

Everyone is invited to participate in the week’s events.

“I hope people participate in the remaining activities,” Donnellan said.

“We have outstanding events planned and I hope people will take advantage of them.”