International Week 2016: Knowing Our Campus, Community, and World

名称未設定With spring break over and classes back in session, are you already bored of studying and need to relax by doing something different? Or, are you interested in knowing and experiencing foreign languages and different cultures? If so, you will likely enjoy International Week at Illinois. Our university appoints the second week of April as International Week. This year’s celebrations will last from Monday, April 4 to Sunday, April 10.

International Week is comprised of a series of educational, cultural, and recreational events designed to foster interest in our global community. Coordinated by Illinois International and a cross-campus organizing committee, International Week seeks to raise awareness about the breadth of international education, activities, and resources available to the Illinois campus and local community. The following are some highlights:

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Image: UIUC Engineering website

International Week 2016 Schedule

Mon, Apr. 4, 5:00-6:00 pm
Undergraduate Research, Study Abroad and Internship Opportunities
“Learn about Engineering undergraduate research, study abroad and internship opportunities! Meet the Engineering Coordinator of Undergraduate Research, and get involved!”

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Image: UIUC Economics website

Tue, Apr. 5, 11:00 am-2:00 pm
Travel Around the World
“Travel Around the World (TATW) is an interactive experience that promotes cultural understanding and engagement. ‪Illinois students will take on the role of ‘travelers,’ and will each receive an Illinois travel ticket. These ‘travelers’ will then be able to collect stamps from various ‘cultural destinations’ as they navigate booths created by Illinois students from across the globe.”

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Image: Website of Peace Corps

Wed, Apr. 6, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm
Peace Corps Info Session
“Change lives, including your own, by serving in the Peace Corps. You will make a difference for a community in need, gain cross-cultural skills and field experience for your career, and bring your global perspective back home to share with others. Join us at this Information Session to learn about Volunteer experiences, have your questions answered, and gain tips to guide you through the application process.”

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Image: http://www.bridgestone.com/

Thu, Apr. 7, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Global Career Opportunity-Work Abroad
“5 panelists will share their work abroad experiences. They will also talk about how they found their employment opportunities, what intercultural challenges they faced, and how the work abroad experiences helped them in their career development. The list of the panelists will be announced soon.”

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Image: UIUC International Week website

Fri, Apr. 8, 8:00 pm
Utopian Songwriting: Music, Nation, Modernity and Censorship in 1960s Brazil
“This concert/discussion explores multidisciplinary connections between music and political activism during the early years of the military dictatorship in Brazil as part of the on-going program on Global Utopias of the Center for Historical Interpretation. Held at a local club, the event presents music from Brazilian songwriters including Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Geraldo Vandre, Toninho Horta and Egberto Gismonti, who became prominent through music festivals organized by TV networks during the 1960s.”

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Image: UIUC Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies website

Sat, Apr. 9, 2:30 pm-3:30 pm
Spanish Story Time: “Talking with Mother Earth/ Hablando con la madre tierra” by Lucia Angela Pérez
“Spanish Story Time is a community event organized by CLACS & the Urbana Free Library, since 2006. At this event, children and their parents join to participate in Spanish-English bilingual storytelling, live music and art.”

 

 

 

 

These events are only a few of all the events to be held during International Week. Check the International Week calendar to find an event that interests you and learn more about our global community. If you want more resources about foreign languages and cultures before, during, or after International Week, you are always welcome to visit us here at the International and Area Studies Library and at our library website.

Have a great International Week 2016!

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Ready for Rio? Part 2: 2016 Olympics Update

Rio 2016 Official Promotional Video

Screenshot: Rio 2016 Official Promotional Video

With the wintry weather starting to fade here in Illinois – we hope! –  the 2016 Summer Olympic Games feel like they’re just around the corner. The Olympics will take place from August 5th to August 21st, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Much has been said, debated, and certainly achieved in relation to the preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Just over a year ago, we took a look at the situation on this blog and with this post, Part 2, we hope to check back in with the progress.

For starters, I invite you to keep in mind what our Latin American and Caribbean Studies Librarian, Antonio Sotomayor, has said about the connection between sports and politics when interviewed about his recent book on Puerto Rico’s participation in past Olympic Games: “Sports is never done in a vacuum.”

The first thing to consider, then, is that neither sports nor public opinion – and even less so public opinion represented in the media – are interest-free enterprises. With this thought in mind, let’s go through some of the most visible updates regarding the upcoming 2016 Olympiad.

Photo credit: Aerial view of the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Hill and the Mario Filho (Maracana) stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 3, 2013. AFP - Getty Images file. NBC News

Photo credit: Aerial view of the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Hill and the Mario Filho (Maracana) stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, December 3, 2013. AFP – Getty Images file.
NBC News

Since the announcement of Rio de Janeiro as the host city of the 2016 Games back in 2009, diverse reactions have been expressed in the sphere of public opinion. What’s more, after the simultaneously successful and controversial FIFA World Cup held in Brazil in 2014, the expectations appear to be both more achievable and more ambitious.

Public spending for these two sporting mega-events – as these kinds of massive, international, and commercial competitions are called – is a  great topic of debate. The unease of some towards these monumental events is related, in part, to the feeling that not all profits will stay in Brazil. Although local businesses and tourism may also benefit from the large number of visitors traveling to Brazil for the Olympics, criticism remains about public expenditures and the limited redistribution of profits made by private corporations. Impact evaluations of the 2014 World Cup have already been conducted and proved that the positive effect of this event on the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been minimal. In fact, some say that these mega-events, while indeed entertaining for the masses, tend to be “zero sum games.”  Besides public investments, building infrastructure, and “embellishing” cities, impoverished populations have been displaced for the construction of venues and public spaces. Some even claim that “social cleansing” has taken place, as reported in a 2016 article by Al Jazeera.

Water pollution and the explosion of mosquito-generated diseases are other great challenges that Brazilian organizers are currently facing. The cleaning of Rio’s Guanabara Bay, which will host the sailing competitions at the Olympics, was a main promise made by the city upon its announcement as host but does not appear to have been brought to fruition. Major news outlets in the United States (as seen in the New York Times, ThinkProgress, and the New Yorker) and the U.K. (the Guardian) argue that Guanabara Bay in Rio is still highly polluted with bacteria and solid waste, which would pose major risks to athletes’ health and interfere with the development of sailing competitions. To add to this large list of challenges, you have probably heard about the Zika virus, a mosquito-transmitted disease that has seen a major outbreak in the past few months. The disease has already proved to affect the health of unborn babies when acquired by pregnant women, contributing, most likely, to a highly debilitating condition known as microcephaly. Along with Zika, the diseases chikungunya and dengue are some of the other uninvited guests currently in Brazil.

Although all of this looks like a very dark picture for a successful Olympics in terms of event organization and economic and political benefits for the region, other more positive positions have been taken on the matter. For starters, Rio 2016 is the first Olympiad celebrated in South America and only the second in Latin America (the first was Mexico 1968). And, if for some portion of Brazilians the Olympics are a public expenditure that is not a priority – or even necessary – and that also involves questionable political actions, for others it is an issue of pride and of the global positioning that Brazil has recently gained as a rising world economy. In September 2015, the Argentinian press published an article revealing that 73% of Brazilian citizens support the Olympics.

What are other countries saying about the Olympics? Media outlets from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and even France seem somewhat less skeptical about Rio’s potential success. Among the Brazilian press and other international outlets that publish in Brazil (BBC Brazil, for example), many articles have been published which, while expressing awareness about the huge challenge that a mega-even like the Olympics constitutes for the country’s economy and political decisions, seem to be more moderate about the possible scenarios than what is presented in other international media. BBC Brazil has published articles about how the Brazilian Committee is making do in the midst of the current Brazilian economic recession, as can be read in this piece from September 2015 and this one from October 2015. Likewise, Brazilian organizers have declared that the budget for the 2016 opening ceremony would be less than half of what was spent in London 2012, as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Regarding fears about infrastructure, Rio de Janeiro’s daily newspaper O Globo published in its online edition a map of the current state of construction of the Olympic venues. This is the issue that has created the most panic among international public opinion. Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, has also been responding to criticism and skepticism by answering as many questions as possible, as reported here in the Guardian from August 2015.

Regarding Zika, the International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, has stated that he is fully confident that the Zika outbreak will be controlled appropriately and that it will not interfere in the development of the Olympiad. In this statement he supports Dilma Rousseff’s declarations assuring the international community and athletes that Zika will not present a major threat this summer.

EFE. Published in Taringa, Argentinian Media.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. EFE. Published in Taringa, Argentinian Media.

Amidst all of these conflicting opinions and complex challenges, both Rio de Janeiro’s and Brazil’s governments have decided to push back and continue working towards being a great host for the summer Olympics. Although August is still several months away, Rio is already inaugurating new venues and hosting pre-Olympic events to test and fine-tune these new venues. From early February through May 22, events will take place with around 272 athletes from 49 countries.

As we can see, the Olympics are much more than fun, fitness, discipline, competition, and entertainment. Business and hardcore politics are also embedded in the Games’ roots, both as a competition and as an international committee.

But at this point we must ask ourselves some tough questions: Are we more concerned with the venues being ready than with the displaced families that the venues have created? Do we see in the risk of Zika for tourists and athletes a larger overall threat than the alleged “social cleansing” taking place in order to have a more sightly Rio for the Olympics? How is Zika related to other world-wide environmental phenomena? Are the economic investments in building new venues and for the opening ceremony reasonable choices or a waste of money?

If you ask me, I would say that on one hand, the panic over the organization of the Rio Olympics may be based on the fact that the process has not been as smooth as the international community is used to – for example, when the games are celebrated in richer countries. So, perhaps this is a good opportunity to revise what we think of as “world-class” standards and comparisons and to accept that sometimes spending billions of dollars on new sporting venues is less than reasonable. Furthermore, perhaps we should think twice before feeling disappointed about relatively “modest” opening ceremonies.

On the other hand, it is also important that we keep in mind questions about how international corporations and organizations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA may impose their interests above those of host countries in regards to the distribution of profits. This is why Avery Brundage, former IOC president, took a very strong stance on the Olympic movement ideally being about amateur as opposed to corporatized and politically sponsored sports. The University of Illinois Archives holds an extended collection of Brundage’s papers. There you can track his fight against the commercialization of sports and also discover the political moves embedded in the both the IOC and the sporting events themselves.

For even more information and insight, below is a selection of books available at the University Library that we have selected as part of the current exhibit on Rio 2016 at the Main Library. And here is a comprehensive LibGuide on Brazil, and a Libguide on Sports, that we have developed to support your research on these topics. Also: Don’t miss our Chai Wai on Rio 2016 on Tuesday, March 8th from 3 to 4:30pm at the International & Area Studies Library (321 Main Library). All are welcome!

Zirin, Dave. Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy. Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books, 2014

Cover of: Brazil’s dance with the devil : the World Cup, the Olympics, and the fight for democracy
(see below)

Please contact our Latin America and Caribbean Studies Librarian, Antonio Sotomayor, for even more information.

Chai Wai Poster

March 8, 2016 “Chai Wai” poster (IAS Library)

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The Peace Corps Celebrates 55 Years

Note: In addition to his work at the International and Area Studies Library, the author is also the Peace Corps Recruiter for the University of Illinois campus community. He served as a Volunteer in the Education sector from 2008 to 2010 in the Republic of Cabo Verde. Join Peace Corps at UIUC and the International & Area Studies Library from 3:00-4:30 on March 30, 2016 in the Main Library Room 106 for our “Peace Corps and the University” event.

Peace Corps Media Library: Ghana

Volunteer Mary McFall, 60, teaches dressmaking, math, and English at the National Women’s Training Centre in Madina, Ghana in 1980. Ghana was the first nation to receive Peace Corps Volunteers, starting in August 1961, five months after the agency was officially established. Source: Peace Corps Media Library.

When John F. Kennedy said the famous words “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” during his presidential inaugural address on January 20, 1961, the plans were already in place to put substance and resources behind such a call to action. Soon later, on March 1st of that year, the U.S. Peace Corps was signed into law via Executive Order 10924:

This year, the Peace Corps celebrates 55 years since that day. Now, over 140 countries have been served by over 220,000 Volunteers, all working to promote the three goals of this independent federal agency:

  • To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women;
  • To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served;
  • To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

To find out more about the Peace Corps, check out these fast facts. This interactive timeline provides a wealth of historical information.

Since its inception, many books have been written about the Peace Corps experience.  Perhaps most well-known are those of the travel writer Paul Theroux. He has written both fiction and non-fiction works since he served as a Volunteer in the southern African nation of Malawi from 1963 to 1965. Theroux’s own Peace Corps story is a fascinating mix of adventure, political dissent, and humanitarianism. index.aspx

The Ugly American, a novel by government insiders William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, was first published in 1958, when the seeds of the concept of international development support and “soft” diplomacy were just beginning to be sown in civil and political discourse. Contrary to what the title might seem to connote about U.S. hegemony and Americans’ bad behavior abroad, the eponymous “ugly American” of the story is in fact one of the few foreign nationals who integrates into the life of his adopted home, the fictional southeast Asian country of Sarkkan. His humility, goodwill, and skilled guidance in engineering allow him and his wife the opportunity to help their local community in a much more effective and sustainable fashion. This is contrasted with the more questionable approaches of the majority of other foreign workers in the region. Ideas such as Lederer’s and Burdick’s were integral to the earliest and most long-lasting principles of Peace Corps service.

John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man shows what can happen when a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) is tempted to use intimate knowledge of his host country for the benefit of an exploitative, for-profit endeavor after his service. The memoir offers a major caveat on the risks involved in international relations when large corporations are also interested players. This book also helps explain why the Peace Corps model may sometimes be viewed as suspicious by citizens of receiving nations.

For a comprehensive selection of titles written by Peace Corps Volunteers and staff, the Annotated Bibliography of Peace Corps Writers’ Books in the Library of Congress is an ideal starting point and is up-to-date as of the Peace Corps’ last major anniversary in 2011, its fiftieth. Below are a few more selected titles, all available at the University of Illinois Library:

Coyne, John. (Eds.) (1999) Living on the Edge: Fiction by Peace Corps Writers. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press.

Meisler, Stanley. (2011) When the World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and Its First Fifty Years. Boston: Beacon Press.

Schwarz, Karen. (1991) What You Can Do for Your Country: An Oral History of the Peace Corps. New York: W. Morrow.

If you’d like to know more about the Peace Corps, realities of service, how to apply, or any other related information, please contact me at peacecorps@illinois.edu or via our Facebook page. The events below are also planned for the remainder of the Spring 2016 semester. All are welcome! Of particular note is the panel discussion on March 30th, “Peace Corps and the University,” which will bring together four University of Illinois faculty and staff members to discuss how their Peace Corps service led them to their current positions in various fields. This event is organized in collaboration with the International and Area Studies Library.

Date Event Location Zipcode  State
03/09/2016 UIUC Career and Internship Fair: Peace Corps Info Table Activities and Recreation Center (ARC), 201 E. Peabody Dr., Champaign 61820 Illinois
03/09/2016 Peace Corps Info Session: Live, Learn and Work with a Community Overseas The Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., Champaign 61820 Illinois
03/14/2016 Peace Corps Application Workshop: Live, Learn and Work with a Community Overseas The Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., Champaign 61820 Illinois
03/30/2016 “Peace Corps and the University” Panel Discussion Room 106, Main Library, 1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana 61801 Illinois
04/06/2016 Peace Corps Info Session: Live, Learn and Work with a Community Overseas The Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., Champaign 61820 Illinois
05/04/2016 Peace Corps Info Session: Live, Learn and Work with a Community Overseas The Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., Champaign 61820 Illinois
05/05/2016 Peace Corps Application Workshop: Live, Learn and Work with a Community Overseas The Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., Champaign 61820 Illinois
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Interview: The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

This week we sit down with IAS Library Head/Interim Japanese Studies Librarian Steve Witt to discuss the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Professor Witt is the current editor of the IFLA Journal, among other functions he has served therein. We also discuss how interested parties might become involved in IFLA.

SteveCroppedGlocal Notes: What is your role in IFLA?

Steve Witt: I’ve been the Editor of the IFLA Journal since August of 2014.  IFLA Journal is an international journal publishing peer reviewed articles on library and information services and the social, political and economic issues that impact access to information through libraries.

In the past I’ve served on IFLA Professional Committee and Governing Board plus some of the professional sections such as Social Science Libraries, Library Theory and Research, and the Library History SIG.

 

GN: What is the University of Illinois Library’s general relationship with IFLA?

SW: The University of Illinois is an institutional member of IFLA and has a long-standing history of leadership in the association that goes back generations of librarians. I recall being a Graduate Assistant in the 1990’s and working with Robert Wedgeworth, who was the President of IFLA at the time. Lynne Rudasill, Global Studies Librarian, just served as the Chair of IFLA’s Professional Committee, and Susan Schnuer of the Mortenson Center was awarded the IFLA Scroll in 2015. Many librarians in IAS and throughout the library are active in different IFLA sections.  IFLA’s annual conference attracts many U of I Librarians; there is a long standing joke that many of us only see each other at IFLA.

 

GN: What are some of the recent, popular trends in IFLA?

SW: Over the past few years, IFLA has transformed itself into a key player in advocacy globally for information policy issues that range from access, privacy, transparency, and intellectual freedom. The impact of this work directly contributed to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/marrakesh/). The IFLA Trend Report provides an excellent overview of some of the issues that IFLA is currently focusing on: http://trends.ifla.org/. These include the way new technologies expand and limit access to information; online education as a democratic and yet disruptive force in global learning, boundaries in privacy and data protection; and the transformation of the global information environment.

 

GN: What can you tell us about the IFLA fellows program?

SW: The ALA’s IFLA Fellowship program is an excellent opportunity to attend this year’s conference, which will take place in Columbus, OH. Another opportunity for support to attend the conference in Columbus is to volunteer. The organizing committee is recruiting hundreds of librarians and library science students to provide volunteer help during the conference.  For more information on this, I’d suggest visiting: https://library.osu.edu/news/ifla-volunteers/.

 

GN: What is a simple way to get involved with IFLA?

SW: Show up! The best way to get involved with IFLA is to attend a conference and show up at one of the professional section meetings. These groups are always have interesting projects that might provide an opportunity to get involved in IFLA’s work. As an organization, IFLA presents an excellent networking opportunity to engage with librarians and leaders in the field from all over the world. Some of my closest colleagues and friends are people I’ve met through IFLA.

For more information, check out IFLA’s main site: http://www.ifla.org/.

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