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UHCL celebrates cultures, diversity for International Education Week

International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, and is celebrated Nov. 15-19 across the United States. University of Houston-Clear Lake is recognizing its international students, staff, and scholars by showcasing global programs and international opportunities, as well as its cultural diversity.

The week's series of 19 events, entitled, "UHCL Goes Global," will feature visiting scholars, artists, and UHCL's vibrant international community.

Public lecture

Middle East scholar and Army officer Andrew Exum will lead a discussion entitled "The Middle East after America" on Nov. 16 at 10:30 a.m., accessible both via Zoom and in person.

"The recent U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has precipitated great concern from our allies in the region and elsewhere about the sustainability of U.S. commitments," said Diplomacy Institute Assistant Vice President Edmund Herod. "This is problematic for many reasons, especially given the strategic importance of the region to the entire world. Dr. Exum, as both a former military officer in the region, undersecretary of defense, and a published scholar, provides unique perspectives on what will most likely happen next."

Herod added that remaining informed about events in Afghanistan was important for college students in particular. "As future leaders, they will inherit the world which is left to them, inclusive of problems, failures, and opportunities," he said.

Global Expo Cultural Extravaganza

UHCL Goes Global will also feature the annual Global Expo Cultural Extravaganza Nov. 18 from 2-4 p.m. in Atrium II of the Bayou Building.

"The GECE allows representatives from 14 regions share their culture. Everyone who visits will receive a UHCL 'passport,' then check in with each booth and learn about that region," said Firoj Gurung, coordinator of International Programs.

He said that once a person has had their passport stamped at each booth, they will receive a ticket to enjoy a free meal with a special menu chosen specifically for this event.

"The menu includes garlic butter rice, plain naan, chickpea curry, a veggie eggroll with spicy ponzu, and west African lime cake," he said. "The menu incorporates food from all different regions of the world, and we hope everyone will learn something about each country's culture as they try it."

Year of Culture

As part of UHCL Goes Global, UHCL's Diplomacy Institute also joined with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar and Public Art of the University of Houston System in celebrating the Qatar-U.S. 2021 Year of Culture. Muna Al-Bader, a Qatari muralist, unveiled a mural at University of Houston's main campus on Nov. 12.

"The mural is about my childhood, and about protecting the future of Qatar and the U.S.," Al-Bader said. "It's about the urbanization of the two countries. It's about the diversity of cultures — this is what I have noticed here in Houston," she said. "If we learn about other cultures and nations, this is how you get educated," she said.

Gurung said events like International Education Week help to enhance intercultural relationships and help community members understand how to engage and appropriately communicate across cultures.

"We hope this program helps increase a sense of belonging for students from different parts of the world to purse their academic journey at UHCL," he said.

UHCL Goes Global was planned in partnership with 12 departments across the UH-Clear Lake campus, including the Office of Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; the Office of Global Learning and Strategy; and the College of Human Sciences and Humanities.

For a complete schedule of International Education Week events, go online.