The Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, International Student and Scholar Services and more than 20 campus partners collaborated during International Education Week on a series of events aimed at helping the Vanderbilt community reflect on what it means to be a productive global citizen.
The events, which took place Nov. 9–18, covered a broad range of topics related to international education and global exchange at Vanderbilt, including fostering a sense of belonging for international students, faculty and staff; empowering students with opportunities to study abroad; enhancing the Vanderbilt community’s understanding of diverse perspectives; and highlighting the global research taking place on campus.
“International education has always been important, but now more than ever, a deep understanding and respect of other perspectives is critical,” said Andrea Pietrzyk, assistant director of International Student and Scholar Services. “That’s why I love IEW—it gives people an opportunity to both celebrate different perspectives and realize how deeply we are all connected.”
Some 400 gift bags were distributed during Treats of the World, the IEW kickoff event on Nov. 9, which aimed to raise awareness of the global cultures represented at Vanderbilt. More than 80 international students, faculty and staff gathered at the International Mixer to connect and build community on campus. Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver and Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School André Christie-Mizell moderated the Global Health Symposium, which featured global research done by professors Muktar Aliyu, Kate Clouse, Carolyn Audet and Tara McKay. And the Humphrey Fellows at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development partnered with local schools to present their culture to more than 300 students in the greater Nashville area.
Four Humphrey Fellows also spoke to a group of Vanderbilt students and staff about the educational systems in their home countries. At a networking event organized by the International Student Council and the Career Center, three international Vanderbilt alumni returned to campus to share their perspectives on how the university prepared them to navigate the job market. These were just several examples of how Vanderbilt and the members of its community are enriched by international exchange.
During the COVID pandemic, international exchange essentially came to a standstill as borders closed around the world. As the campus enters a post-COVID era, Vanderbilt is bringing internationalization back to the forefront. This is reflected in the fact that international students comprise the third-largest population within total enrollment, and the university has hired a record number of international faculty. IEW, in which Vanderbilt has participated for more than two decades, demonstrates how Vanderbilt is making itself a leading global institution.
“As our society is adversely facing the impact of COVID-19, geopolitical conflicts and natural disasters around the world, it is vital to strengthen the global connection and understand the diverse cultures through IEW,” said Yu (Wendy) Wu, associate program manager in the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. “It takes a lot to build an international community at Vanderbilt, and I am grateful for all the support and collaboration we had for IEW.”