Week builds bridges of unity

By Linda Luk

International Week is not only a celebration of differences but also a celebration of unity.

The fourth-annual International Week starts Monday.

“We have a theme and the theme is ‘Building Bridges,’” said Deborah Pierce, executive director for the division of international programs. “We really see that as a particularly important theme this year. We want to be able to strengthen ties of people within all cultures.”

The annual Study Abroad Fair takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Holmes Student Center’s Duke Ellington Ballroom.

“We really want to encourage all Northern students to come and see what is available,” Pierce said. “We have about 65 programs represented.”

The fair is a part of the week because it promotes overseas programs, said Ines DeRomana, coordinator for the Study Abroad Office. The programs are offered in different parts of the world and help students become internationally oriented while studying with NIU.

“Students can walk through [Ellington Ballroom] and it will take them to all corners of the globe,” Pierce said. “All they need is a half-hour and they can get information on a huge variety of programs, not to mention great door prizes.”

Also part of International Week is the International Recognition Reception from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Holmes Student Center’s Skyroom.

“We recognize students and faculty for international accomplishments,” Pierce said. “Provost [Ivan] Legg will be speaking and we will name the outstanding international educator.”

The closing ceremony of the week is at 11:30 a.m. Friday with the Parade of Flags. It starts at Stadium Drive East and travels to Lucinda Avenue before ending up at the King Memorial Commons, where Legg and First ward Ald. Andy Small will speak.

“We have over 100 school students from DeKalb who will be carrying flags from nations represented at Northern Illinois University,” Pierce said.

Along with activities throughout the week, the residence halls and Holmes Student Center will have special international items on the menus. There also will be a variety of displays throughout campus.

In addition to the activities, Kuo-Huang Han, presidential teaching professor of the School of Music, will have a seminar at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday titled, “Everyone Can Learn World Music: My Approach to World Music Teaching.”

There are so many forms of making beautiful music, Pierce said, and with Han, people can learn to appreciate it.

The week also includes an international film festival all week long on Channel 8 (in the residence halls) and book displays at Founders Memorial Library, University Bookstore and the DeKalb Public Library.

“I hope that many people from the NIU community will participate in the events and develop a greater appreciation for the strong international profile of this university,” Pierce said. “There are so many faculty with international expertise and so many ways for students to gain international perspective. That is something special about NIU.”