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International Days at UTPA to increase global awareness
By Roxanne Lerma Casares, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/06/2012
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The public is invited to celebrate the importance of cultural awareness during International Days Nov. 15-16 at The University of Texas-Pan American.


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Two students perform a traditional dance at Cultural Night held during one of UTPA's previous International Days celebration.

This year’s theme is “Internationalizing the Campus.” The 12th annual event is part of International Education Week, a national campaign led by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. International Days provides a unique opportunity to raise awareness of global cultural issues at the institution. The Office of International Programs (OIP) is hosting the two-day event.

“International Education Week is designed to provide an opportunity to promote the benefits of international education and exchange,” said Dr. Sandra Hansmann, OIP faculty director. “Internationalization is a major trend in higher education, and by improving international outreach and education on campus, we improve a student’s ability to participate in a more globalized world.”

Hansmann said it is vital for UTPA students to be familiar with international issues because it prepares them to be active and engaged participants in an interconnected world. As part of the celebration, a ceremony will be held Nov. 12 to present the yearly UTPA Provost’s Awards. The awards recognize exceptional faculty in each of UT Pan American’s seven colleges for their efforts to promote international studies through teaching, research and service.

On Thursday, Nov. 15, UTPA faculty members Dr. Lorenzo Pace and Dr. Robert Bradley will give a presentation and lecture on "The Segundo Simposio Internacional de Escultura 'Bicentenario' Cajamarca." The event, which will be held at 10:45 a.m. in the UTPA Ballroom, tells the history of the first contact between the Inca emperor and the Spanish conquistadores through music, dance and projection.

Pace, a professor of art, said it is important to tell the history of the Inca people at International Days because it reminds everyone that all history, in this case, all American history, is connected.

"Everybody loves freedom, everybody wants their freedom," Pace said. "That is what connects us to America."

Pace and Bradley, an assistant professor of art, also plan to travel to Cajamarca, Peru in July to participate in the country's Fiestas Patrias 2013 where they will display their artwork paying homage to the historic event.

Also on Nov. 15 is a Study Abroad Fair that will be in the Student Union Commons from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Course instructors from each study abroad program will be on hand to endorse their program and answer questions from students.

Culture Night, the highlight of the two-day agenda of activities, will also be held on Thursday, from 6-8 p.m., in the Quad featuring live music, games, food booths and entertainment.

“We will have seven different groups presenting songs and dances from a variety of groups including a Filipino choir, native Italian dances, belly dancing, a martial arts demonstration and traditional Chinese dance,” Hansmann said. “The UTPA mariachi will also perform.”

Both days will also feature lectures, panel discussions and presentations by faculty members on topics such as environmental sustainability, human rights, and ways to address worldwide challenges. These activities and Culture Night are free and open to the public.

A closing ceremony for UTPA students and staff at the International Trade and Technology Building will cap off the festivities Friday, Nov. 16. This past year’s study abroad students will be given the opportunity to reunite with their fellow classmates and meet students that participated in other international programs. The winners of the Broncs Around the World photo contest will also be recognized.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, contact the Office of International Programs at (956) 665-3572.