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International Education Week Celebrates Culture

Flags from different countries.
Rebecca A. Eckland

Did you know TMCC hosts international students from all over the world? International Education Week (IEW), which is happening throughout the country on Nov. 18–22, celebrates cultural diversity while working to inspire students from all walks of life and cultures to seek out new experiences, and to broaden their perspectives.

“The goal of TMCC’s International Education Week goes beyond simply fostering global understanding,” said event co-organizer Gwendolyn Clancy. “Our deeper hope is to inspire global appreciation and global empathy.”

While past years’ events have featured many events throughout the week, this year’s iteration of IEW features an International Symposium that is happening on Wednesday, Nov. 20, which will feature a keynote speaker, lunch and activities meant to inspire your aspirations of studying or working abroad... or simply to open your mind to new possibilities.  “This event is focused on bringing a diverse set of speakers that will enable us to share personal stories that articulate how to become a citizen of the world,” said Virag Nikolics, co-organizer for IEW.

We have included a weekly rundown of IEW events happening all week long. We encourage you to adjust your schedule to attend one (or all) of these events. (Pssst... you might ask your instructor about the possibility of extra credit for participating!) 

Monday, Nov. 18, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Visit the TMCC Main Gallery in the Student Center to see the art of international artist Miya Hannan. 

“I was a scientist in a country with many superstitions, which gave me the ability to perceive the world from two contrasting perspectives,” Miya Hannan writes in her Artist’s statement. To kick off your International Education Week experience, stop by the TMCC Main Gallery where Hannan’s work is on display and attempts to bridge the gap between science and spirituality, particularly in our understanding of death. Influenced by Asian death philosophy and informed by Hannan’s scientific education, her work presents the world as layered linkages of human lives and histories.

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1–2 p.m.

Stop by the International Coffee Hour in RDMT 114  and hear about Tanja Hayes’ experience of growing up in Sweden.

For the second day of IEW, join the International Coffee Hour for an hour-long presentation from Business and Economics Instructor Tanja Hayes who will share her memories and experiences of growing up in Sweden. The International Coffee Hour series is an informative and social event that features stories from TMCC students, faculty and staff who share their experiences of traveling and living abroad. Each presentation is followed by discussion, and free refreshments that are themed to the country are offered to attendees.

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 12–3 p.m.

Attend the International Symposium in the Student Center for a heart-warming personal story from a TMCC alumnus, a catered lunch, an international speaker panel and art hour.

If you can only attend one event this week, clear your calendars on Wednesday, Nov. 20 for keynote Speaker George Mwinnyaa whose topic “If I Can Do It, So Can You! My Journey from Africa to TMCC to John Hopkins University” will leave you feeling inspired and ready to conquer the challenges that stand between you and your goals. 

Mwinnyaa was born and raised in Ghana where education is not only expensive, but more difficult due to the lack of amenities we commonly associate with schools (including computers, gymnasiums, libraries, cafeteria or even, at times, electricity.)  At an early age, Mwinnyaa gave up on his academic dreams and began working in public health. What he saw carrying vaccines to rural villages would later inspire him to pursue his education. Meanwhile, he met an American Peace Corps volunteer who would become his wife. They moved to the United States and while working as a lead custodian for Lyon County School district, Mwinnyaa tried to enroll at TMCC. However, because he didn’t have transcripts from his high school in Ghana, he was unable to apply. After attending WNC for one semester, Mwinnyaa was admitted to TMCC where he discovered a love of science and the desire to further his education and career.

Today, Mwinnyaa is a Ph.D. candidate at the Johns Hopkins University in Public Health. He plans on applying his expertise to help those in need in his home country of Ghana. 

Mwinnyaa’s keynote will be followed by a “first come, first served” lunch supplied by event sponsor Cafe de Thai. Interested students will need to collect an “IEW Passport” from the DISCO or at the International Symposium and have it stamped in order to partake in the free lunch. Live music will be provided by Elizabeth Busch Letourneau.

After lunch, a speaker’s panel will convene at 1–2 p.m. “The panel is a multi-disciplinary gathering on different perspectives of what an international experience can mean,” said Nikolics. “The panel features faculty from the Economics department, TMCC’s EPIC program, college leadership, a student from the United States and an international student.” Speakers for the panel include: 

  • Tanja Hayes
  • Bruncha Milaszewski
  • Elena Bubnova
  • Seven Wendling
  • Callista Ziwei Chim

The afternoon will conclude with Art Hour that begins at 2 p.m. with performances of Chinese Folk Dance and Latin Dance as presented by Reno Tango Collective and the TMCC Latin Dance Club. The TMCC Art Club will host calligraphy lessons directed by International Student Rena Shimizu and Art Club Faculty Advisor Rossitza Todorova. 

Thursday, Nov. 21, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Join the International Club in RDMT 114 for mini-language and dance lessons, henna tattoos, and origami folding.

Are you interested in learning more about a particular language or culture? Learn how to say hello, goodbye or tell a joke in another language, or learn some new moves for the dance floor. If this sounds up your alley, join TMCC’s International Club for mini-language lessons, dance lessons, henna tattoos, origami folding and more insights into the cultures and languages of students from our I-Club.

Friday, Nov. 22, 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

The TMCC Genealogy Lab hosts guest speaker Jonathon Dickey on the separate origins of most Americans.

On Friday, join TMCC’s Genealogy Lab for a presentation that will serve as a reminder that Americans have genealogical ties to other countries and cultures. Guest speaker Jonathon Dickey is a member and officer of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Nevada. Dickey is the descendant of passengers on the Mayflower as well as other pilgrims who came to the New World in the “Great Migration” of 1620-1640.  Dickey’s presentation, called “The Story of Leiden: Our Separatist Ancestors,”  is an overview of the English Separatist movement in the latter half of the 1500s, and the cataclysmic events that led to the voyage of the Mayflower to the New World in 1620.  As we approach the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage, Dickey’s presentation will serve as a reminder that American culture is indeed vast in its diversity and the result of global political, theological and ideological movements.

More about IEW

IEW is a joint initiative between the U.S. Departments of State and Education that promotes the global environment and to attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences. The event is made possible thanks to the sponsorship of the TMCC DISCO, Distinguished Speakers Series, International Club (I-Club), Starbucks at Buck and Lemon,  and Cafe de Thai.  
For more information about International Education Week, contact International Student Services at 775-337-5605.