WKU preparing for 2018-19 International Year of Cuba
- Author: Office of International Programs
- Author: Monday, May 7th, 2018
The IYO program places a yearlong spotlight on a specific country. Through education programming, delivered both on and off campus, the WKU community builds a deeper understanding of the history and culture of the target country. The IYO Cuba, which will be the fifth iteration of the annual internationalization initiative, comes after a successful yearlong focus on Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Office of International Programs, which administers the IYO initiative, released a teaser calendar of events for next year’s IYO Cuba to the WKU campus community via email with the hope of generating excitement and encouraging cross-campus participation. The programs and events—which will include an introductory talk on Cuba by WKU faculty, multiple art and cultural exhibitions, and a Cuban film festival—ensure that all students have access to global learning experiences. OIP expects the calendar to continue growing over the summer and even into the academic year.
Alongside the educational programming, the IYO also extends into the classroom with faculty members weaving Cuba-related content into their instructional materials and assignments.
“The combination of Cuba-themed content meaningfully integrated into the curriculum and programs that augment classroom-based learning makes for a potent global education experience for our students,” said Addie Cheney, assistant director of International Programs.
But students are not the only target audience of the IYO. “We take very seriously our responsibility to elevate the communities within our reach,” she said. “For that reason, the majority of our programs and events are open to the public. To that, we expect to have several community-based events next year.”
Cheney noted that the IYO has been an effective means of developing mutually beneficial partnerships with local businesses and community organizations.
Much of the current calendar’s structure has come from the IYO Cuba planning committee, comprised of faculty, staff and students. Starting in the spring of 2017, the committee met regularly to identify key themes, generate event ideas and promote participation.
Faculty members participating in the 2018 Zuheir Sofia Endowed International Faculty Seminar (ZSEIFS) to Cuba will also make their marks on the coming IYO. Following a semester of intensive interdisciplinary study and a multi-week program in Cuba led by Dr. Andrew McMichael, (associate dean of Potter College of Arts & Letters and professor of History), the cohort of six faculty members will incorporate new content into their courses and develop events for the campus community. They will also leverage new Cuba-based connections for collaborative research and creative projects.
The release of the preliminary calendar also serves as the unveiling of the logo for the next IYO. The winning logo was selected from a campus-wide contest. Designed by WKU art history major Emilie Gill, the logo will serve as the visual emblem for the upcoming yearlong investigation of Cuba.
Following the IYO Cuba, WKU will dedicate a year to re-engaging with past countries of focus. By returning campus and community attention to previous IYO countries, the IYO Revisited will support sustainable international engagement while facilitating educational events that deepen country-specific knowledge and create opportunities for comparison.
The IYO Revisited will be succeeded by a concentration on Kenya in 2020-21, with Dr. Nancy Rice (professor of Biology) leading the associated ZSEIFS in 2020. Visit www.wku.edu/zseifs for information.
About the ZSEIFS: The Zuheir Sofia Endowment was created to facilitate the mission of the Office of International Programs, which endeavors to provide leadership in the development of a strong international profile. Zuheir Sofia, a 1969 WKU graduate and 2014 Honorary Doctorate recipient, is chairman, president and CEO of Business Bank of Florida Corp.
About the Office of International Programs: The Office of International Programs supports the internationalization agenda of the university by creating opportunities for faculty and staff development in an global context and supporting the development of meaningful co-curricular programming for student, campus and community audiences.
Contact: Addie Cheney, (270) 745-3036