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Diverse programming characterizes International Education Week 2023November 7, 2023. Nigerian Student Association performs at "Bruins Around the World."

Diverse programming characterizes International Education Week 2023

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By Peggy McInerny, Director of Communications

UCLA International Institute, December 8, 2023 — This fall, the International Institute led the busiest International Education Week (IEW) at UCLA to date. Supported by 22 campus sponsors, the week offered 62 events and activities organized by 36 units across campus from November 6 to 9. For the first time since the novel coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, in-person events outnumbered both online and hybrid events.

IEW 2023 offered a mix of musical and cultural performances, lectures on global politics, international career events and recreational activities that brought together faculty, students, alumni, staff and community members to commemorate the value of international education and exchange. A playful video created by international students and the UCLA social media team kicked off the week with greetings from around the world. 

The signature event of IEW 2023, “UCLA ‘Glocal’ Conversation: The University in an Interconnected World,” was held at the UCLA Faculty Club on November 8. The panel discussion picked up where the “Global Challenges, Local Responses” event of IEW 2022 left off. Building on last year’s discussion of how international consular diplomats responded to global issues in Los Angeles, this year’s conversation focused on the ‘glocal’ impact of UCLA.

Four distinguished members of UCLA —medical doctor and philanthropist Eric Esrailian, curator Silvia Forni, Nobel prize–winner astrophysicist Andrea Ghez and sociologist Rubén Hernández-León — spoke about how their work connects the global to the local and vice-versa through community engagement, research and education. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Darnell Hunt opened the well-attended event and Vice Provost Cindy Fan moderated the discussion.

Programs that offered students an opportunity to learn about scholarships for foreign language and area studies, research abroad, global internships and study abroad programs were prominent, with individual events hosted by the UCLA Graduate Division, the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies and UCLA Study Abroad. These events were complemented by a session with international Fulbright Scholars currently doing research in Southern California.

In parallel, international career events included a U.S. Peace Corps information session, two conversations with UCLA alumni about their diverse career trajectories, and the UCLA Career Center’s online “International Opportunities Career Fair,” which spilled into the following week.

The UCLA Undergraduate Research Center even offered two workshops to enhance students’ academic skills: one on how to develop a research or creative proposal, and another on how to create a research plan. Other student-focused programming included a games event hosted by UCLA Library, an anti-fraud webinar and a tea and wellness event hosted by the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars and classes in the martial arts of seven different countries offered by UCLA Martial Arts.

The range of cultural events at IEW 2023 was particularly impressive, including a sarod concert sponsored by the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music; a striking multimedia and musical performance about “comfort women” in Japan-occupied East Asia (1932–45) by Korean-born instrumentalist gamin (Center for Korean Studies); and the ever-popular “Bruins Around the World,” an evening of student musical and dance performances hosted by UCLA Residential Life.

Rounding out cultural offerings were a lecture with artist Tanya Aguiñiga and Ambos at the UCLA Hammer Museum; a workshop on the Ori with shamanic songstress Siana Orun-Walker at the UCLA Fowler Museum; an exhibition from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design (Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies and Hillel at UCLA); a sonic performance (“Technotitlan”) at the Hammer Museum; and a discussion on saving the cultural heritage of Artsakh at the Promise Armenian Institute.

Several IEW events addressed notable issues of global social justice, including programs on the provision of health services to migrants and refugees in Mexico by the Refugee Health Alliance (David Geffen School of Medicine), a documentary about the impact of climate change on Tuvalu (UCLA Library) and a film screening and discussion with an Indigenous Yanomami filmmaker and shaman from Brazil, who communicated the imperative of respecting Indigenous knowledge and ensuring their survival in an Amazon region devastated by illegal mining and development (Brazilian Studies Center and Latin American Institute, or LAI).

Other social justice-related programs addressed how “Big Tech” companies pose an outsize challenge to antitrust and competition laws in nations worldwide (UCLA Anderson School of Management); a primer on what to watch at the COP28 climate conference (Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment); and the decades-long work of nutritionist Steven Kwon, Ph.D., of Nutrition & Education International to reduce malnutrition in Afghanistan (UCLA Fielding School of Public Health).

IEW 2023 programming also included a number of events on the history, culture and societies of countries worldwide, among them, lectures about the Buddhist cave paintings of Kucha (Center for Buddhist Studies), Taiwanese migrants in Australia and Chinese migrants in Brazil (Asia Pacific Center), family disownment in modern Cambodia (Center for Southeast Asian Studies), the Israel-Hamas war (Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies and the Israeli newspaper Haaretz) and Biden’s foreign policy toward Cuba (Program on Caribbean Studies and LAI).

LAI, in fact, organized or cosponsored a record eight events during International Education Week, including discussions of literature in bilingual Spanish classrooms; the work of Manolo Caro, the Mexican director of the streaming television hits, “La Casa de las Flores” and “Alguien Tiene que Morir;” and European perspectives on Latin American history.

The UCLA International Institute thanks all its cosponsors for their support of IEW 2023, as well as all university units that participated by hosting events. We look forward to an equally rewarding commemoration of international education, research and exchange next year.