International Education Week (IEW), celebrated nationally from November 16-20, 2020, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of an effort to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences.
Marymount celebrated its own International Education Week a week early from November 9-13, with a weeklong series of events focused on the theme of “Creating a Sustainable, Global Future.” Each day was focused around one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including goals like reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities and global health and well-being. A full recap of the week’s events, with video recordings, can be found on the CGE blog here.
Jennifer Crystle, Assistant Director of Marymount’s Center for Global Education (CGE), said that the CGE was looking to show the connection between international education and sustainable development.
“At its core, the goal of international education and exchange is to work to build a better, more prosperous and more sustainable world,” she explained. “As an office, we wanted to showcase our commitment to incorporating sustainable practices and principles and examine our impact on our local and global communities.”
The week kicked off with an event focused on reduced inequalities and expanding access to study abroad opportunities. Dr. Devin Walker, Director of Global Leadership and Social Impact at University of Texas at Austin, led the Marymount community in a discussion as part of the University’s “Real Talk, Real Change” series. Dr. Walker called on international education professionals to design study abroad programs that better meet and center the needs of black and brown students.
Throughout the week, the CGE also hosted various talks and events with Marymount faculty focused on different SDGs. Dr. Elizabeth Langran and Professor Mary Gibson gave a presentation on Marymount’s partnership with the Arlington Academy of Hope, which has helped expand educational access in Kampala, Uganda. Dr. Delario Lindsey of the Sociology department gave a talk on Medellín, Colombia, and discussed how other cities can take inspiration from its community-driven, inclusive growth.
On Thursday evening, the CGE hosted a special event with faculty, alumni and community partners for the “Marymount in Nicaragua” program, a partnership in which Marymount DPT students travel to deliver physical therapy services to underserved communities. It was a moving discussion about the past, present and future of the partnership and the impact that it’s had on both the community in Nicaragua and the faculty and staff themselves.
The week’s events closed with a focus on life on land and water, highlighted by two student clubs working to protect the earth’s natural resources and advocate for a more sustainable future — the Belize Service Club and the Marymount Food for Thought club. The student leaders encouraged their fellow students to get involved and make small, personal changes in their daily routine, like using a reusable bag or water bottle.
In all, the week was a reminder of the great work that Marymount is already doing to build a sustainable global future, as well as a reminder that we must continue to work together to find innovative and sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing global issues.
To look back or view recordings of the week’s events, please visit the CGE’s MUsings of the Traveling Saints blog page.