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International Education Week to celebrate cooperation and fostering friendships

Lorna Jean Edmonds is a firm believer that global issues are local issues. It’s something Edmonds challenges students to acknowledge, regarding globalization as the core and vision of Ohio University.

“We know that the world is global and that we have to rely on trade, so we need friends and neighbors all around the world who will help us do business together,” Edmonds, the vice provost for global affairs and international studies at OU, said.

International Education Week celebrates all the international students who have attended and currently attend OU, as well as how the university has transformed over the years into a truly global campus. The week will kick off with the International Dinner on Sunday night that will lead into many different events going on throughout the week, not only at OU, but also within the Patton College of Education and the OU Zanesville campus.

This year’s theme will focus around fostering friendships and cooperation, and access to clean water. Edmonds believes water is one of the more pressing issues the world is facing, so speaker John Sabraw, a professor of art, will be discussing his work in creating paint and paintings from iron oxide extracted in the process of remediating polluted streams. His seminar will take place Thursday.

On Wednesday, there will be a Global Engagement Awards Gala where students, faculty, alumni and residents of Athens will get a chance to be recognized and awarded, as well as celebrate the good things about globalization.

“It’s a teachable and reflective moment for us to ensure we frame everything we do, not as domestic and international, but as one planet — a planet that needs to be borderless and integrated and thoughtful,” Edmonds said. “This week is all about raising awareness that’s not doom and gloom, but to challenge you to be sustainable, not just for the sake of making money.”

The international opportunities at OU are what have brought about 1,400 international students from 109 countries to Athens, Edmonds said.

“We have a history of being a welcoming community that offers an excellent education and an incredible global network,” Edmonds said. “I think students who come from other countries see the U.S. in a very different lens and experience a very quality education. They’re able to leave with these incredible friendships that are everlasting.”

If there’s anything Edmonds hopes students take away from International Education Week, it’s the value of a global education and to look into taking courses that give them a lens into a world unlike their own.

“I think more specifically in this year’s theme, making friends and cooperating is more important than conflict,” Edmonds said. “You can compete through cooperation, you can negotiate through a cooperative strategy, because we’re one world within the universe.”

Katherine Ridenour, a senior in high school taking College Credit Plus courses at OU who plans to study education, wants to teach internationally someday and can see how International Education Week is important to have in the U.S.

“International Education Week is super important because in order to teach everybody and understand others, we need international studies,” Ridenour said. “This week is an opportunity for me to know if I really want to go and teach in other places of the world.”

Yuka Hayashi, a sophomore studying English, is studying abroad from Japan and believes International Education Week to be a vital week for international students.

“This week is important because it’s important to learn about another country’s culture,” Hayashi said. “There’s a lot to learn from a culture that is not like my own.”


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