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"Spanning the World" at HPU

by Shavae'cha Lee, staff writer

HPU held it’s first-ever symposium on Global Citizenship Nov. 8 at the Hawai‘i Loa campus. Dr. Jeanne Rellahan, Dean of the college of International Studies, and Nancy Ellis, vice president of Student Support Services, lead a group of faculty members who put together the event, along with the help of several students. The purpose of the symposium was to explore the idea of global citizenship and its role at HPU. Students, staff, and faculty were all invited to participate.

 

The Symposium started with a continental breakfast, while students signed in and were issued folders that indicated what group they would be in and who their facilitator would be. After breakfast Rellahan who chairs the event, introduced Caroline Matano Yang who gave the Keynote address. Yang heads the J. William Fulbright Association, which provides scholarships for students and teachers to study abroad every year and is an expert on global citizenship.

Following the keynote address Rellahan asked the audience to consider two questions: First “A global citizen is a person who thinks or believes…?” Second “A global citizen is a person who does or acts…?” The point of asking these questions before the breakout sessions was to let people jot down their ideas so that they could determine if after the breakout group discussion those ideas had changed.

Each group consisted of about 20 people: three presenters, one reporter, and a faculty facilitator. The role of the facilitator in each group was to aide the participants and the presenters in addressing all of their issues and opinions as a group. The presenters were students who were given a 5-10 minute time slot to share their ideas of what global citizenship meant to them. The assignment of the reporter in each group was to take notes on the ideas of the presenters and the participants and introduce them to the entire group once it reconvened.

Each group met for about 75 minutes, after which everyone rejoined the large group. Rellahan then asked the reporters from each group to share the ideas there group discussed. Most groups were able to come up with a few suggestions about what Global Citizenship means and how HPU could improve its global perspective. As the group addressed what a world citizen is, the most prevalent definition was inclusive—anyone could be a world citizen.

The group agreed that being a world citizen involved three essential actions: awareness, communication, and respect for your own community and the world community. Proposed that an individual needs to be a local citizen first, connecting with their own area and all it’s cultural beliefs and practices, before he or she branch out, travel the world, and soak up other cultures. Two points that were made were that becoming a citizen is teaching and learning about those who are not like you and enhancing the cultures of others, as opposed to neutralizing or disturbing them.

This last seemed to be a real fear of way at the symposium.

Bringing the entire symposium full circle, groups came up with suggestions for what HPU could do to promote world citizenship throughout the school. There were three suggestions. The first suggestion was that HPU as a whole expand its study abroad programs, offering more students the option to go to other countries. If the length of the trips were shortened from the normal 3-5 months to maybe 1-2, months more money would be freed up for other students to go.

The second suggestion was that HPU make Anthropology 2000 mandatory for all majors, and that more anthropology or geography courses be added to the curriculum. This seemed like a good idea to most groups because they felt this gave students more chances to study the cultural practices of other countries, preparing themselves for future visits. The last suggestion for helping HPU promote world citizenship was something that everyone, not just HPU students and staff, could do, and that was that we should all recognize our positions as teachers and students and active members of both a local and a global community. Much power comes with that recognition, and what most groups wanted to say is that if we all used that power to teach and learn, we would all be world citizens.

 
 
Symposium - a good rough draft
by Jade Guess
 

As humans we use our past as a frame of reference from which we view the world. Hawai‘i pacific University recently offered us—myself as well as many other students, faculty and staff—the opportunity for “new” perceptions. On Nov. 8 the University held its first ever “Symposium on Global Citizenship,” and though the event was brief, participants found the focus—”what it means to be a global citizen”— to be much more complex then even the event planners could have believed.

After breakfast at 8:30 a.m. the early Saturday morning crowd was awakened by a brilliant speaker. Caroline Matano Yang, current chairmen of the William J. Fulbright Foundation, seemed to be the only person at the Symposium who had given ample time to consider the nature of a “global citizen.” Yang’s involvement in the Fulbright program has given her a personal understanding of what it means to be a global citizen. She has encountered the concept through interactions that included Peruvian Japanese in an internment camp and work with the United Nations in New York.

Yang set the tone for the event, but like all good beginnings, we must also see a good ending, right?
Unfortunately, the symposium did not end as well. Yang set the standards high, but the laid-back presentations of the students in their individual discussion groups lacked focus in comparison to her precision.

The papers various topic subjects could have lead quite nicely to valuable discussions, but they failed to do so, either in the small discussion groups or the general discussion that concluded the symposium. The papers had clearly been worked on and may have been well-written, and some of the ideas held promise, but the brief, unorganized presentations left audiences unsure of how these ideas were relevant to global citizenship.

I assumed that their instructors had read over all these papers and assured that they all had a strong thesis accompanied by thoroughly presented supporting data, but the verbal presentations failed to communicate that.

As the facilitator tried to develop some sort of cohesive theme from the presentations, so as to stimulate discussion, she was caught in the spotlight of students who stepped onto their soap boxes and ran wild with what few concepts they were able to comprehend from the affirmations of student presentations.

As commonly recited in many classes here at HPU a paper should have a strong introduction as well as conclusion. Nothing demonstrated the feelings of many better than the remarks of a second year grad student: “That was a waste of my time.”

But in the defense of HPU, one student, a public relations major, said: “It was an event with a strong beginning but a weaker middle and end.”

If we were to compare the events which took place at the “ Symposium on Global Citizenship” to the requirements of writing a good paper, we could easily think of the Nov. 8 symposium as a rough draft of what could come in the future.

 
 

 

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