Elis honor world cultures

Internationally-oriented groups at Yale are combining forces for the first ever International Week, a 10-day series of cultural and political events that started Friday.

The Yale International Relations Association and the International Students Organization worked together to organize the events, which are aimed at raising global awareness at Yale and promoting cultural groups on campus. Averaging two events a day, International Week will have multicultural and region-specific events sponsored by eight different groups, ending with an inter-cultural festival on Old Campus on April 23rd.

Though the week began with “Kaleidoscope,” the ISO’s long-running annual cultural show, organizers said the week also includes a number of new activities that have not been seen on campus before.

The week is intended to give students a look at several regions of the world, featuring events ranging from a talk about foreign intelligence services by Yale professor Minh Luong to a Bollywood movie screening and a Chinese Poker tournament.

“First and foremost, we want to reach out to the population of the Yale campus, reach out to all the students who never had a chance to attend any of our events and learn more about international aspects of culture,” said Michal Benedykcinski ’09, chairman of the YIRA Speakers Committee.

By combining forces, the ISO, YIRA and cultural groups hope to get students interested in global affairs and to provide interesting, fun events for those who already are, organizers said.

“It was a logical step for all groups to come together and combine efforts into events on a massive scale, much more than they could have done on their own,” ISO President Saad Rizvi ’08 said.

Beyond promoting their own clubs and cultural backgrounds to those outside the international affairs community on campus, the leaders of International Week said they also hope to bring members from different international communities together. For example, the Greek and Turkish student organizations are hosting a music concert together, which will promote friendship between representatives of countries that have long been rivals, said Murat Can Bilgincan ’08, vice president of Yale Friends of Turkey.

Bilgincan said the structure of International Week helps individual groups publicize their events to a wider slice of the Yale community.

“With International Week, there’s a bigger audience,” he said. “Once you get the buzz around, it becomes more popular.”

The week’s organizers said they hope to make “iWeek” into an annual event and to incorporate more groups next year.

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