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UC San Diego Celebrates Diversity with International Education Week

IEW March

UC San Diego joined more than 100 countries across the globe in celebrating the world’s cultures, peoples and languages for International Education Week (IEW), Nov. 17 to 21. The week of events allowed students to participate in performances about their heritages, view an international film festival and compete in UC San Diego’s very own “Triton World Cup” soccer match.

UC San Diego’s IEW festivities kicked off with a flag parade on Nov. 17 where about 100 students, faculty and staff displayed the flags of United Nations member nation states as they marched from I-House to Town Square.

Following the flag parade was the grand opening ceremony, which featured musical and cultural performances alongside international-themed food trucks. In addition, the event featured remarks from Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

“UC San Diego is nationally ranked among the top 5 percent of schools for the number of international scholars on campus,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Our international scholars contribute valuable information and experiences to our classrooms and research. We are committed to providing our students with international opportunities to give them the knowledge, skills and sensitivities required to be global citizens in the 21st century.”

As part of this year’s flag parade, the IEW planning committee, which is made up of 60 diverse members of the UC San Diego community, arranged for a drone to capture aerial footage of the event.

“When the planning committee envisioned the flag parade, we envisioned a unified group of flag carriers representing their beautiful cultures, marching together with a sense of oneness, community and vibrant joy,” said the committee’s chair, Martin Láhtov. “We realized that one way that we could share that sense of oneness was to create aerial perspective imagery that would capture the true spirit of the flag parade.”

For junior Jiawen Li, the flag parade, which displayed more than 190 brightly colored flags, was a highlight among the IEW events. “I think it’s good for everyone to march together in the parade,” Li said. “Even though there are tons of different flags, nobody feels a sense of competition. We are all united.”

In addition to the flag parade and opening ceremony, other notable IEW events included an international fashion festival and cultural showcase. The event featured traditional clothing from a variety of countries including Japan, India and the United States. Students also showcased clothing such as hoodies or T-shirts that represented their student-organizations.

Arielsela Holdbrook-Smith, who is a member of the campus’s African Students Association, modeled in the event. “I think it’s important that UC San Diego hosts events like these to embrace diversity,” said Holdbrook-Smith. “We should accept where people come from and we need to educate others to appreciate and recognize the various cultures represented on our campus.”

Initiated by the U.S. Department of State and Department of Education in 2000, International Education Week is an opportunity to recognize the critical role that international education and exchange play in fostering mutual understanding and world peace.

Láhtov, who works as a coordinator at the International Center, said he believes UC San Diego’s celebration of IEW is special because of the diverse makeup of the campus. “I think that international education has influenced all of us in such a remarkable and personal way, Láhtov said. “We’re very fortunate so many people decided to join the IEW committee and contribute toward a united vision for IEW this year, which represented the beautiful spectrum of cultural identities that is the true community and spirit of this great university.”

For information about UC San Diego’s celebration of International Education Week, please visit iew.ucsd.edu.