Island University Celebrates Cultural Awareness During International Education Week

Published: November 27, 2017

Island University Celebrates Cultural Awareness During International Education Week

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Food, music and cultural exhibitions were just some of the many ways The Office of International Education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi celebrated International Education Week (IEW). IEW is a collaborative initiative of the United States’ Department of State and the Department of Education. This year’s theme was “International Education as a Tool for Achieving Global Peace.”

“This year’s theme is about building trust and relationships between people of various cultures,” shared Teejay Adeoye, a graduate student in the public administration program and Immediate Past-President of the International Student Organization at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Sometimes specific cultures and religions get stereotyped, but when we provide opportunity for people from different cultures to actually interact with each other, they can learn something.”

The IEW’s weeklong events started with the International Symposium and Panel Discussion featuring guest speaker, Avinash Ahuja, President and CEO of Magnum Producing, LP. During the presentation, Ahuja shared his experiences as a former international student and provided insight on how international and domestic students could better develop their professional and personal skills. The panel also featured Dr. Anantha Babbili, Professor of Communication and Media Studies; Dr. Bilaye Benibo, Professor of Sociology; Dr. Jennifer Epley, Associate Professor of Political Science and the Religious Studies Minor Program Coordinator; Mr. Thomas Murphy, Professional Assistant Professor of English; and Dr. A.N.M Waheeduzzaman, Professor of Marketing and International Business.

The second day of IEW invited the campus community to get a taste of international cuisine from five different countries during a food tasting and cultural exhibition. Throughout the event, students from different countries provided information about their traditions and gave live performances that included traditional dancing and singing.

“International Education Week is important because it brings more diversity to the University community and allows us to make friendships,” said Sarvani Thota, master’s student in the computer science program at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, who is also an Indian native. “This is my second time participating in this event and I like it because I can teach others about my culture.”

The Department of Media and Communications at A&M-Corpus Christi joined in the celebration with a film screening of “Slumdog Millionaire.” Later in the week, the International Student Organization, in partnership with UCP Radio, hosted an International Music Series where they played songs from around the world in the University Rotunda. The week-long event closed with an International Luncheon and Award ceremony where faculty, students and organizations were recognized for their support of promoting international education on campus.  

The honorees included:

  • Avinash Ahuja, President and CEO of Magnum Producing, LP;
  • Amy Aldridge Sanford, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Communication;
  • A.N.M. Waheeduzzaman, Professor of Marketing and International Bussiness;
  • Anita Reed, Assistant Professor of Accounting;
  • Chao Minh Bao Tran, Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Communication and Media;
  • The World Affairs Council of South Texas.

“Being recognized by the University is a good feeling, especially since I’ve been contributing through academic, non-academic and international programs here at the Univesity for the past 17 years,” said Waheeduzzaman, who is also Chair of the International Education Committee. “We have so many different countries, religions and traditions that we should continue to encourage diversity in the University and in the world.”

IEW promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attracts future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences. In line with this mission, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi promotes international programming on campus as a way to bring international and domestic students together to foster harmonious relationships between all cultures.