International Week 2007 goes "green"
Posted: 11/05/2007
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International Week 2007 at The University of Texas-Pan American will be "going green" this year as experts, educators and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. come to the campus Nov. 12-16 to discuss what is happening to the planet and what can be done to save it.

Marilu Salazar, Office of International Programs (OIP) director, said the theme for the seventh annual International Week, "Earth Matters," came about because the topic of the environment seems to be on everyone's minds lately. She said this year, International Week will address a myriad of topics from global warming to environmentally friendly alternatives.

"The changes in the global environment are becoming everyone's concern because of the dramatic and drastic changes that are going on not only in the environment, but also in the global economy, politics, health and other areas," Salazar said.

International Week was created by the Office of International Programs to promote awareness, knowledge and the understanding of cultures, languages, societies, economies, politics and issues of other countries in the world Salazar said.

"One strategic goal of UTPA is to 'infuse inter-American and global perspectives throughout the University community,' and International Week is definitely an event that leads the University community in achieving this goal," she said.

Named one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet," Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will serve as a keynote speaker Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m. at the Fine Arts Auditorium, where he is expected to discuss the topic of "Our Environmental Destiny." The event is sponsored by the OIP and UTPA Distinguished Speaker Series. Doors will open at 7 p.m. for UTPA students, faculty and staff while the general public will be allowed in at 7:20 p.m.

"Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was chosen as International Week's main speaker because he is one of the most resolute defenders of the environment on an international level," Salazar said.

Kennedy earned the Time magazine honor for his success in helping Riverkeeper, an advocacy group that monitors and protects the nation's water, lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. In addition, he has worked on environmental issues across the Americas and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands.

Kennedy serves as chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and is president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law's Environmental Litigation Clinic and is co-host of "Ring of Fire" on Air America Radio. He has also written numerous bestsellers and award-winning articles.

- Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Invited guests, UTPA professors and student organizations will also present special lectures, debates and panel discussions at various locations on the UTPA campus throughout the week. Some of the featured topics include "Going Green: Options and Alternatives," "Global Environmental and Economic Outlook," "Issues in Environmental Conservation Along the U.S.-Mexican Border," "Environmental Justice Literature," and much more.

The University community and the general public are invited to enjoy an evening of free food sampling and entertainment at International Night set for Nov. 12, 5:30 p.m. at the University Library Media Courtyard. The event is a kick off for the weeklong activities.

For those interested in learning about the opportunity to study abroad, the Office of International Programs will be hosting a Study Abroad Fair Nov. 15, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Library Media Courtyard. Free refreshments, entertainment and prizes will be offered.

Throughout the week, the following art exhibits will be displayed: "Earth Matters: International Art Exhibit," a juried art competition, at the University Gallery; "Environmental Landscape of Mexico," courtesy of the Consulate of Mexico in McAllen, Library Annex Gallery; and "Heaven on Earth: Divinity of Nature in the Far East," a collection by UTPA professor Dr. Andrew McDonald, Library Lobby.

An International Film Series, sponsored by the UTPA Library and Department of Modern Languages and Literature, featuring films dealing with the environment and cultures around the world will be screened throughout the week for free at the Student Union Palmetto Room.

Salazar said International Week has a little something for everyone - UTPA community and general public - who are looking to open their minds to different cultures and at the same time, learn how they can help save the planet.

"This event is an eye opener to the world and it teaches us that we are not alone in this world. The theme this year will also teach us to be more conscious of the Earth, and how we can have a positive and sustainable relationship with the Earth's nature and all of its inhabitants," she said.

For more information or a complete schedule of events and speakers, visit or call the Office of International Programs at 956/381-3572.