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GLOBAL MOVEMENT FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE

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The Role of I-house in Culture of Peace
an article by Cherry Ding

The United States is fortunate to have a system of International House (I-house) in many of its universities. I was lucky to get accepted by I-house of University of California, San Diego (http://ihouse.ucsd.edu/index.htm as an exchange student from China last year. It is a "wonderfully vibrant on-campus community dedicated to the promotion of international awareness and intercultural understanding at UCSD and the world." Under the leadership of Director, Emily Maxon, there were numerous activities aimed at fostering friendship and understanding between individuals from various backgrounds.

Culture night for a specific region was a program held once per quarter, featuring European Culture Night during the fall, America's Culture Night in spring and Asia Pacific Culture Night in winter in the past year. People enjoyed an evening of food, information and entertainment from these specific regions of the world.

During the Asian Culture night, I was surprised to see such passion towards Asian Culture by individuals from throughout the world. The festival started with a gorgeous fashion show when a group of 7 young women with different skin colors that appeared on the stage wearing traditional Japanese kimonos, followed by a girl dressed in traditional Chinese Cheung-sam and then an array of unique Thai costumes. After that, 1 African and 4 Korean men, wearing martial art uniforms performed Taekwondo.

All was forgotten when the dulcet Indian music began and the exciting movements drew shouting and immediate applause from the audience. All people, no matter what language they spoke or whatever religion they belong to, joined in and danced long after the music was over.

By living in such a multi-cultural community and through dialogue and events like Culture nights, people with great differences learned to live together in harmony. They joined together in a search for universal values and had fun learning the culture of others. I believe the I-House concept offers an opportunity to feel like a citizen of a global village and shows that friendship truly has no borders.

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International Students, What is their potential to foster global understanding

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This report was posted on July 10, 2006.