International students, cultural diversity celebrated at URI, Nov. 12-16

NationalitiesURIstudentsKINGSTON, November 9, 2012 – Flags from different countries around the world will soon rise at URI’s Memorial Union in celebration of International Education Week.

The five-day event, which kicks off Monday, Nov. 12, will also feature talks, workshops, and a photo exhibit to raise awareness of the University’s thriving community of international students and scholars.

A highpoint will be the unveiling Nov. 15 of 99 flags from different countries representing URI’s international students, past and present. Expect to see flags from Albania, Argentina, Chile, China, Gambia, Ghana, Kuwait, Liberia, Myanmar, Norway, Senegal, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and more.

“The display is going to be a great visual representation of our student body,” said Joe Berardi, the union’s building services coordinator. “It will be great to see all the international students together. I hope they enjoy this new space.”

The ceremony will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. President David M. Dooley, a big proponent of global education on campus, will give welcoming remarks at 12:45 p.m. Food from various countries will be served for free.

Another session expected to draw a crowd will be a talk by Sean Carasso, founder of Falling Whistles, a non-profit group drawing attention to the abuse of child soldiers in the war-ravaged Congo.

Carasso is a Los Angeles-based activist who stumbled into a military encampment packed with children during an expedition to the African country years ago. He was disheartened to learn that the children were being beaten and sent to the frontlines armed with only a whistle.

His outrage prompted him to launch a blog and grassroots movement to alert people to the atrocities. He travels the country talking about his experiences and selling whistles to raise money for education programs in the Congo.

Carasso will talk from 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

Other events include:

  • “America: Through a Global Lens,” a photo exhibit by international students focusing on their lives in the United States. The photos will be displayed in the union lounge.
  • “Work, Intern and Volunteer Abroad,” a talk by experts in international business, government, and nonprofit groups. Speakers will include representatives of the U.S. Department of State, the Peace Corps, Plan USA, and Dream Careers, a global internship program. The discussion will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 13 in the union’s atrium.
  • “Study and Research Opportunities in Germany, the Land of Ideas,” a talk by Aftab Ahmed, research assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy and the 2012-13 research ambassador for DAAD, a German academic exchange program. Ahmed will discuss academic, research, and scholarship opportunities in Germany. The discussion will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 13 at a booth in the union lobby.
  • “Get a Passport and Travel Giveaway,” a workshop to help students speed up their passport applications. Representatives from the postal service will be available to answer questions. The $110 application fee will be waived for the first 50 student applicants. Faculty and staff may also apply for or renew their passports. For details about the waiver, visit The session will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 14 in the union lounge.
  • A celebration of the partnership between the Associates in Cultural Exchange (A.C.E.) English Language Institute and URI. International students will also display posters they created about their cultures. The event will be from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 16 at the Hardge Forum in the Multicultural Center. The Office of the Provost is sponsoring the gathering.

  • For more information, please visit the International Education Week website at