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Brookdale Kicks Off International Education Week

In the span of only a couple of hours on Nov. 18, Brookdale students were able to learn how to Samba dance, sample a wide range of global cuisine and get involved in a global campaign to build a freshwater well in Rwanda.

It was, in short, a rousing start to this year’s International Education Week (IEW). The initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, is designed to promote the idea of global citizenship and encourage American students to broaden their horizons, both literally and figuratively.

Brookdale’s slate of programming, co-hosted by a wide range of college departments, student clubs and community partners, began on Nov. 17 with a dramatic reading of “In the Time of Butterflies” at the Two River Theater and a screening of the French film “The Intouchables” at the Asbury Park Showroom. An internationally themed dinner was also offered at Brookdale’s Culinary Education Center.

On Nov. 18 IEW came to Lincroft, kicking off with a standing-room-only student symposium in the Student Life Center on the socioeconomic impacts of limited water access, deforestation and other issues currently plaguing the developing world.

Students from the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, the Environmental Club and Students for Global Citizenship presented on a wide range of topics – including gender inequalities, environmental issues and access to education – all of which are driven and exacerbated by a lack of clean water. The students also discussed their joint “Water 4 Life” campaign, which seeks to raise $6,000 to build a well in Ghana. More information is available here.

Both the symposium and the Water 4 Life campaign share the same principles of IEW, said chemistry Professor and PTK faculty advisor Dr. Shahin Pirzad. They are all designed to break down boundaries.

More than 100 students attended the Breaking Down Boundaries symposium on Nov. 18.

More than 100 students attended the Breaking Down Boundaries symposium on Nov. 18.

“It helps to motivate students, and it encourages them to come up with projects and new ideas that can benefit the community and the world around them,” Pirzad said. “It allows them to come together, like they have here today, and talk about different things that are going on in the world and look outside the box for solutions. It also shows them that they have the ability to make a difference.”

Upstairs in the SLC, students were learning the origins and evolution of Capoeira from the Brazilian Afro Brazilian Cultural Center of New Jersey. Part martial art, part dance, Capoeira was used by Brazilian slaves beginning in the 16th century to fight back against Portuguese colonialists and help secure their freedom, the troupe said.

Members of the cultural center demonstrated the art form with a series of high-flying, interactive routines, often bringing Brookdale students onto the floor to play percussion and learn Afro Brazilian dances like Maculete and Samba as well. The Live at Lunch performance also included a free buffet of Afro Brazilian themed cuisine.

IEW will continue on Nov. 19 with Passport Day at the Freehold campus from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The U.S. Postal Service will offer a “one-stop passport shop,” in the main lobby, allowing first-time applicants to submit an application, pay their fee and have their photos taken in one visit. Required documents and other passport information is available here.

The initiative will conclude on Nov. 20 with a global citizenship seminar presented by Karuna Dayal, an international human rights activist and member of the U.S.-based nonprofit Atlas Corps. The seminar will be held in the SLC’s Navesink III room from 12 to 1 p.m.

IEW is sponsored at Brookdale by the Culinary Education Center, Global Citizenship Council, Environmental Club, International Education Center, Phi Theta Kappa, the Showroom in Asbury Park, Students for Global Citizenship, Student Life & Activities and the U.S. Postal Service.

For more information contact the International Education Center at 732-224-2799 or international@brookdalecc.edu.

Check out more photos of the symposium and the dance performance here.