Global Initiatives Staff Present at "Across the Divide" Conference
Several Global Initiatives staff members presented or participated in the recent Across the Divide Conference, held March 30-31 at Miami. As the primary Diversity and Inclusion showcase for Miami, the conference goal is to promote a deeper community understanding of the key issues and diversity activities across the institution. The theme for the 2023 conference was “Leading Through Innovation and Creativity for Transformative Inclusion.”
César Chávez Day Celebration
Innovation and creativity were evident from the moment the conference began. Since the conference coincided with the annual César Chávez Day celebration, special events with guest poet Dr. Manuel Iris started things off. A native of Mexico, Iris received his Ph.D. in Romance Languages at the University of Cincinnati. He has written 10 books of poetry in both Spanish and English, and he has received several international awards for his poetry.
More than 70 students, faculty, and staff participated in a creative writing workshop with Iris, entitled Words are also migrants: poetry as a translation of silence. In her introduction to the event, Dr. Roxanne Ornelas (Geography) said, "The arts reflect the times in which we live...they are another way for us to understand and to hear each other speak. And, as a university, it is imperative that we learn and speak of the things that will help to build bridges across issues that continue to divide us."
Iris followed the workshop with a lecture and poetry reading, I am from here: a dialogue on migration, humanity, and poetics. Associate director of the Center for American and World Cultures, Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, reported that both events were "extraordinarily engaging."
The next day, Global Initiatives staff joined conference participants at The Marcum hotel and Conference Center for keynote speakers and concurrent sessions.
Global Initiatives staff members Marnie Nelson, Dan Sinetar, and Alicia Castillo Shrestha, joined by Carol Olausen (director, American Culture & English Program), conducted an interactive workshop Development of Intercultural Consciousness through UNESCO Story Circles: Experiences from Global Initiatives Interactive Workshop. Story Circles have been used around the world as a structured, yet flexible methodology for developing intercultural competencies in a variety of contexts, including higher education. Participants had the opportunity to try it out for themselves and were encouraged to learn more about the practice.
In Let's Go! Helping Students Get There, Kimberly Miller and Marnie Nelson conducted a round table to discuss the support and orientations available to support first time travelers as they prepare for an experience abroad. In addition to exploring practical concerns such as national policies and travel logistics, they also discussed unique social identity resources provided to students to assist in the pre-departure process.
One of the Center for American and World Cultures' signature programs, the Robert E. Strippel Memorial Fund for Continuing Dialogue on Justice and Human Rights, was spotlighted in another interactive workshop. Lisa Vahey, from Honesty for Ohio Education, joined Dr. Jacqueline Daugherty (Western Program) to educate participants on pushing back against the school-related anti-CRE and anti-Q+ bills and laws currently active at the Ohio statehouse.
Staff members commended the Office of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion and the numerous organizers and volunteers for the opportunity to celebrate diversity and encourage positive change in our community.