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UNC highlights issues of citizenship during Global Spotlight Week

Six UNC Global Area Studies Centers will join together to explore issues of citizenship in relation to the modern world during a weeklong series called “Crises of Citizenship: Global Spotlight Week 2018.” 

The series begins Feb. 17. 

The week will include different events focused on a specific region of the world. Most of the activities will be held at the FedEx Global Education Center, except for a concluding concert that will take place at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History on Feb. 24. 

The entire week will approach citizenship from a wide scope of perspectives, looking at topics from racial discrimination to the social consequences of Russian political influence in the U.S. Barbara Anderson, the associate director for the African Studies Center, said the goal of the week is to explore the topic of citizenship from many different viewpoints.

“That was our real goal, to take this topic and to look at it from different world regions,” Anderson said. “To look at it from an academic perspective, but also to look at it from artistic perspectives.”

Mary Lagdameo, the associate director for the Carolina Asia Center, hopes to educate the public about the work being done in global area studies.

“The whole week is about shining a spotlight on the area studies centers at the University,” Lagdameo said. “And to let students and the public know that [the centers] exist, and we’re here for you as a resource.”

On Tuesday, the Global Education Center will host an open house and global career night. Students will hear from alumni who have made varying careers out of their area studies degrees. Among the alumni will be Cecilia Polanco, the CEO of the Salvadorian food truck So Good Pupusas and the founder of the nonprofit Pupusas for Education. Refreshments will be provided by So Good Pupusas.

Lagdameo helped coordinate Monday’s screening of "Documented," a film about Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino-American journalist who was undocumented and living in the U.S. She believes the film will generate thoughts and conversations about how citizenship affects personal identity. She hopes to raise awareness of the challenges and struggles that immigrants of all backgrounds face.

“A lot of people are actually unaware of the high population of undocumented Asians living in the U.S.,” Lagdameo said.

Anderson said the open house is an important part of the entire week. It will allow students who are interested in global issues to get to know the faculty in the Global Education Center. The night’s events will also help students think about what they want to do after they graduate.

“The issues really come to the core of what it means to be human,” Anderson said.

Throughout the duration of Global Spotlight Week, an art installation called “Voices in the Water” will be displayed in the atrium of the Global Education Center. Among the other events are talks by New York Times columnist Jim Rutenberg and York University professor Joseph Mensah. The series will conclude with a concert by Omar Offendum, a Los Angeles-based Syrian-American hip-hop artist and activist.

This is the first time Global Spotlight Week is being held. Anderson said they are hoping to turn it into an annual event.


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