Speaker to discuss impact of positive cultural relationships

By Sheryl Cajka

NIU students and faculty can learn about cultural relationships tonight in a presentation titled, “Diversity as a plus for meeting the challenges of a global economy.”

The Golden Key National Honor Society will host Dr. Samuel Betances in the presentation at 7 p.m. in the Montgomery Hall Auditorium.

In addition to fighting for bilingual education and improving race relations, Betances helps people learn how positive cultural relationships can help put America at the top in education, business and society, faculty adviser Fabian DeRozario said.

Strengthening relationships between cultural and racial groups can help people realize America needs to be interdependent with other countries, he said.

“No individual or country can exist on its own. It needs to have relationships with other countries,” DeRozario said.

Although cultural and racial diversity is a major issue on any campus, it also is a primary concern in the working world, he said.

By teaching students what to expect when they enter their careers, they will learn diversity is not just a theory, but a reality everyone will face, he added.

DeRozario also said Betances will provide strong evidence and practical advice on how students can deal with the issue of diversity.

Andrea Wesolowski, president of the honor society, said she decided to bring Betances to NIU because the society wanted to make students aware of diverse cultures on campus.

“We need to understand culture and background of other people, not only within the United States, but overseas,” she said.

Tendaji W. Ganges, director of the Office of Educational Services and Programs, has heard Betances’ lecture many times.

“It’s excellent. He is both a scholar and a researcher, but also an astute observer of human behavior,” he said.

Ganges also said the personalized lecture is humorous and entertaining.

Betances, who is a Harvard graduate, has been a sociology professor at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago for 18 years, DeRozario said. He has published extensively on issues concerning bilingual and multicultural education.