International Days Nov. 14-15 at UTPA to highlight global challenges
Posted: 11/01/2011
Share |

Awareness of and ways to address worldwide challenges is the focus of this year's International Days Nov. 14-15 at The University of Texas-Pan American.

Dances from India were featured at last year's Culture Night during International Days at UT Pan American.
The public is invited to participate in the annual event designated by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State as an opportunity to promote the benefits of international education and exchange and awareness of global cultural issues.

"Faced with global problems in 2011 and thinking about possible collective University-wide efforts and participation in attempting to solve them, the International Events Committee came up with this year's theme 'Confronting Global Challenges' for International Days 2011. The response was very positive from UTPA faculty and our vibrant student community who are very active and involved in challenging global problems and will participate in various panels during the event," said Dr. Sonia Alianak, associate professor of political science and chair of UTPA's International Events Committee.

On Nov. 14, Dr. Walter Diaz, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will highlight the impact of worldwide natural disasters, such as tsunamis and earthquakes, in his keynote address titled "From Natural Events to Socially Rooted Disaster: The Transformation of Tsunami Exposure into Catastrophe." Free pizza will be available for attendees at the presentation scheduled for 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium.

Day one will also include a musical interpretation of Buster Keaton's film "Go West" by guest lecturer Johan Derycke, a musician, actor, dancer and composer from Belgium. A ceremony will also be held Nov. 14 to present the annual UTPA Provost's Awards to outstanding faculty members in each of the University's seven colleges who excel in their disciplines while promoting international studies through their teaching, research and service.

Kicking off Nov. 15 activities will be a Study Abroad Fair from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. in the Student Union Commons along with a study abroad panel discussion at noon in the Student Union Auditorium.

Dr. Walter Diaz, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will deliver the keynote address on the worldwide impacts of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis during UT Pan American's International Days Nov. 14-15.
Also at noon, Jennifer Harbury, author, human rights activist and an expert on Guatemala, will present "The Truth about the CIA, Torture and National Security." Harbury is the widow of Efrain Bamaca Vazquez, a combatant in the Guatemalan resistance, and a recipient of the 1995 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award.

Derycke will perform again with Mark Cloet, Belgian artist and visiting Fulbright Scholar at UTPA, and the UTPA Dance Ensemble in the Clark Gallery at 5:30 p.m.

Both days will also feature lectures and presentations by faculty from all seven University colleges on topics as wide-ranging as ecotourism in Turkey to minority metalsmithing and the costume of Central Southern China. International organization class students will also present on the United Nations' millennium development goals regarding hunger and poverty, gender equity, universal education, child and maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability, and global partnerships.

The two-day schedule of activities will end with Culture Night from 6-8 p.m. on the Chapel Lawn featuring free food, live music and entertainment.

The event is hosted by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of International Programs. All activities are free and open to the public.

A complete schedule for Nov. 14-15 International Days activities is available here.

For more information, contact Pamela Garza, programs coordinator, Office of International Programs at (956) 665-3572.