International Week Brings Global Learning to Campus

  The International Programs Festival.
  The International Programs Festival.
(photo Pablo Delano)
  Pedro Matta lectures in Mather Hall.
  Pedro Matta lectures in Mather Hall.

Representatives from several of Trinity’s Global Learning Sites gathered on campus recently for a week of workshops, class visits, and informational sessions for students as part of the first annual International Week initiative sponsored by the Office of International Programs. The week’s activities included staff training sessions focusing on transfer credits, budgets and finance, internships, and academic honesty. One highlight on the agenda was the International Programs Festival, which featured food and music from a variety of countries as well as opportunities to talk with faculty members and students who have recently returned from studying abroad.

“International Week was a true success,” explains Nancy Birch Wagner, dean of international programs. “It was the first time the College has brought together its overseas staff to meet each other, and to engage in focused conversations with key faculty and administrators in Hartford. We all learned from each other.”

The College has established Global Learning Sites in seven countries since 1997. This international network enables students to gain valuable experience and insights in key locations around the world. Through a combination of academic study, internships, and cross-cultural interaction, the program prepares students to live and think as citizens of the world. There are presently Global Learning Sites in Barcelona, Spain; Cape Town, South Africa; Istanbul, Turkey; Kathmandu, Nepal; Moscow, Russia; Port of Spain, Trinidad; and Santiago, Chile. Planning is under way for new sites in Vienna, Paris, and the Himalayas. In addition, the Trinity College Rome Campus has been offering students international experiences since 1971.

The week’s events also included a Human Rights lecture by Pedro Matta, director of the Trinity Program in Santiago. Calling Trinity’s Hartford campus his “home away from home,” Matta gave a talk entitled “The Mothers of the ‘Disappeared’ in Chile: a Powerful Catalyst in the Search for Truth and Justice” to a packed room in Mather Hall. A student leader during the 1973 coup d’etat that overthrew the democratically elected government of Chilean President Salvador Allende, Matta was arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for more than 13 months; he then went into exile. He was never charged with a crime.

“Our relationship with Pedro Matta is unique in the world of study-abroad,” says Dario Euraque, faculty director of international programs. “Many programs have able administrators on-site, but few, if any, enjoy professional and intellectual ties with a person with the kind of social and ethical stature that Pedro offers. Our students are very privileged not only to meet him, but also to have him as a mentor in Santiago de Chile.”

In addition to Matta, other Global Learning Sites personnel on campus during International Week included Alexei Chagin, professor of literature, Moscow; Tony Hall, academic director, Trinidad; Fiona Kelso, internship coordinator, Barcelona; Jo Milne, studio arts professor, Barcelona; Naima Mohammed, on-site administrator, Trinidad; Subithra Moodley-Moore, on-site coordinator, Cape Town; and Mario Villagran, academic excursion coordinator, Santiago.


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