First Global Tufts Week celebrates international engagement on campus

Diana Chigas, Tufts associate provost, senior international officer and professor of the practice at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, poses for a photo outside of Ballou Hall on Sept. 7, 2016. (Alonso Nichols / Tufts University)

Tufts hosted the first annual Global Tufts Week from March 2–9, designed to highlight the global engagement of students, faculty and staff and promote dialogue between Tufts organizations and schools related to international issues, according to its website.

Planning for the event first began this fall and was finalized in December, according to Senior International Officer and Associate Provost Diana ChigasThe event was organized by the Office of the Provost after Chigas and Christine Hollenhorst, program administrator in the Office of the Provost, noticed that the university lacked an event to celebrate its engagement in international affairs.

“Part of what we want to do out of our office is really be able to shine a spotlight on a lot of the really interesting engagement going on, not just academic engagement and research work, but arts and cultural events, and student clubs and civic engagement … the whole range,” Chigas said.

The Office of the Provost felt an event like Global Tufts Week could be instrumental in celebrating Tufts’ international involvement and diversity. Global Tufts Week included around 40 events, according to Hollenhorst. Events ranged from trivia nights, photography displays and film showings to more informational events like Tufts Table, which was hosted by the Office of the Provost, the Parade of Nations and the Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC) symposium.

Students involved in Global Tufts Week noted that the Parade of Nations was a success, including Leelasena, who worked on the Parade of Nations and Global Tufts Week.

“It was really great to see people attend events celebrating specific cultures every night. These led up to the annual Parade of [Nations] Show, which was mine and most people’s favorite event,” first-year Leelasena told the Daily in an electronic message. I observed Tufts’ international community come together to celebrate our presence on campus and our pride for where we are from.”

Leelasena was one of the people responsible for gathering the flags of the 32 nations represented and hanging them up around campus. She noted that these flags were also used to conclude the Parade of Nations show.

“Participants ran onto stage with their flag and … all 32 nations represented came together for a dance,” she said. “It was a special way to conclude the Parade of Nations show.”

The Office of the Provost helped facilitate and advertise the week’s programming through their calendar, according to Chigas.

“I think our goal was really more events rather than weeding things out,” Hollenhorst said. “We were really encouraging of really any type of event that people wanted to put on.”

Chigas echoed Hollenhorst’s sentiment, noting the variety in both the planned events and in the groups organizing them.

“The faculty are doing work, student clubs are doing work, there [are] all sorts of really interesting things that people are interested in doing and they never get the exposure,” Chigas said. “The idea really is that it’s kind of self-organized.”

To help make all of the events possible, the Office of the Provost also provided students and faculty with resources; the office offered applications for small grants of up to $500 in January and was able to fully fund or supplement around 15 different events, according to Hollenhorst.

Scheduling Global Tufts Week began later than anticipated due to turnover in the Office of the Provost earlier this year, according to Chigas. 

“It ended up being a pretty quick turnaround,” Chigas said. “We had to get Communications to help us organize the calendar, because the whole thing is really dependent on people being able to sign up and showcase their events, [which] took a little while.”

She noted that the Office of the Provost has bigger plans for Global Tufts Week in the future.

“This is the first year, and hopefully it will sort of grow, but we’re hoping to get more engagement across the university, and really sort of give a sense of how much is going on at Tufts, both for students [and faculty],” Chigas said.

Hollenhorst said that she noticed an impressive range of creativity surrounding Global Tufts Week events.

“People were really creative with how they interpreted the theme and the week, and people seemed to really want to participate and showcase what they were doing,” she said. “I thought that was exciting to see especially for our first time. We didn’t really know what to expect so it’s been really, really cool to see.”


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