Activities for International Education Week to be held on campus Nov. 13-17

WCU faculty member Axelle Faughn participates in a selfie with children at an elementary school in the village of Fiekena in Madagascar. Faughn provided professional development in mathematics for teachers and taught some classes during her visit at the school – part of a scholarly leave trip that also took her to France and South Africa. Faughn will be speaking about her experiences during that journey as a part of International Education Week activities on campus.

Discussions focusing on study abroad and immigration, the screening of a film about refugees and a Western Carolina University faculty member’s reflections on her scholarly leave trip are on the agenda as the campus marks International Education Week from Monday, Nov. 13, through Friday, Nov. 17.

Activities are organized through WCU’s Office of International Programs and Services. International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education to celebrate the benefits of international education and worldwide exchange.

Events begin Nov. 13 with Axelle Faughn, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, presenting “Back From Scholarly Leave: Reflections on an Educational Journey to France, South Africa and Madagascar” at 2 p.m. in the Cardinal Room at A.K. Hinds University Center. Later that afternoon, Saheed Aderinto, associate professor in the Department of History, will speak on “Diversifying the Curriculum at WCU: The Role of International Education” at 5 p.m. in the University Center Multipurpose Room. Nov. 13 events will conclude at 6 p.m. with a presentation by Sofiya Cheyenne, a performance artist and dwarfism advocate, in Room A of the Blue Ridge Conference Center.

Children at an elementary school in the village of Fiekena in Madagascar line up to salute their country’s flag before starting their school day. WCU faculty member Axelle Faughn will speak about the time she spent at the school and other experiences from her scholarly leave trip to Madagascar, France and South Africa as a part of International Education Week activities on campus.

The schedule for Tuesday, Nov. 14, includes a panel discussion titled “Enhance Environmental Sustainability at WCU: Learning from Global Perspectives” at 3:30 p.m. in the Blue Ridge Conference Center. Organizers say the goal of the discussion is to provide an opportunity for participants to learn about best practices in sustainability from other communities and countries. Panelists will include international students from Spain, Germany, Austria, Ireland and Japan, along with Jeff White, recycling coordinator in WCU’s Department of Facilities Management.

Other Nov. 14 activities include a study abroad student panel at 4 p.m. in the UC Multipurpose Room, a “Diversity Dialogue on Immigration” at 6 p.m. in Room 102 of Killian Building and a panel discussion on hunger and homelessness at 6 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room.

Wednesday, Nov. 15, will bring the College of Health and Human Sciences International Showcase at noon in the lobby of the Health and Human Sciences Building. Designed to highlight the international engagement activities of the college’s faculty and students, the event will include information about a nursing collaboration with a hospital and university in Scotland and other initiatives involving Botswana, Costa Rica and other countries around the world.

Other Nov. 15 events include a study abroad showcase at 2:30 p.m. in the UC Multipurpose Room, an international coffee hour and cultural presentation about Ireland at 4 p.m. in the Blue Ridge Conference Center and a screening of the film “Bon Voyage: The Journey of Refugees,” featuring a discussion with Syrian actor Jihad Abdo, who starred in the film, and his wife Fadia Afashe, at WCU’s instructional site at Biltmore Park at 5:30 p.m.

The schedule for Thursday, Nov. 16, includes a study abroad information session at 4 p.m. in the UC Dogwood Room and a screening of the “Bon Voyage” film with Afashe and Abdo at 4:30 p.m. in the UC theater. Also, “Japan Night” will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Room 121 of McKee Building with presentations by students and information on a study abroad opportunity to Japan. That same day, a “Traveling Postcards” healing arts workshop for survivors of sexual violence will be offered at 6 p.m. in Room 225 of Bird Building.

The week’s events will conclude with the Middle Eastern Friendship Dinner at the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Waynesville at 6 p.m. Nov. 17. Tickets are available at

In conjunction with International Education Week, the Global Citizenship Summit will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, in the UC Grandroom. Twelve groups of students will represent countries from around the world in a Model UN-type event to produce a joint resolution addressing issues of sustainable development.

For more information about International Education Week events, contact Kaitlin Ritchie, assistant director in the Office of International Programs and Services, at or call 828-227-2567.