The University of North Texas will observe Celebrating Global Citizens Month in April, which gives area residents several opportunities to explore different cultures and perhaps make a few new friends.
The event is sponsored by UNT-International, UNT Sustainability and the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity.
This is the third consecutive year that UNT has held this observance, according to information provided by the university, and events are planned each week this month to educate students, faculty, staff and community members about diversity, internationalism and sustainability.
Denton is home to a large international population, which is one of the many benefits of living in a major university center.
Many of us, however, have little or no contact with the international students. We may see them walking or gathered with friends at various locations around campus, but we don’t take the steps necessary to meet or learn more about them.
Which, in effect, means we do little to make them feel welcome or to offer ways to help them fit into our community.
During Global Citizens Month, UNT offers many interesting ways to interact with those in the international community and we encourage area residents to take advantage of the opportunities.
One of the month’s main events, the Great Global Citizens Gala, is planned Monday and will honor outstanding students from UNT-International, UNT Sustainability and the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity.
“The purpose of the gala is to raise funds for students interested in pursuing activities that make the world a better place,” Meredith Bard, marketing coordinator for UNT Sustainability, stated in a press release. “We also honor students who exude what it means to be a Great Global Citizen.”
The monthlong observance will provide plenty of other opportunities to improve our global educations and have fun at the same time.
The annual Native Dress and Flag Parade featuring UNT's international students will be held on campus April 11, and a Global Interact Picnic will begin at 11 a.m. on April 12 at North Lakes Park.
A Japanese Spring Festival is planned April 15 on the Willis Library mall, and a BASANT Kite Festival will be held at North Lakes Park on April 19.
An EarthFest celebration and International Fair and Market will be held April 22 on the Willis Library mall, and a Korean Festival is planned April 24, also at the library mall.
A complete list of events can be found at https://international.unt.edu/calendar/2014-04, or for more information, call the Welcome Center at UNT-International at 940-369-8625.
These events not only provide an opportunity for us to learn more about other cultures, but also offer a good way for us to help members of the international community feel welcome.
That’s important. Forging new friendships here can help instill a positive attitude about America and its people that will be carried back to international students’ home lands and shared with others there.
Thanks to Celebrating Global Citizens Month, we can all be goodwill ambassadors without ever leaving home.