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“Embracing the Challenges of Globalization” is the theme of the new student orientation that will be held Aug. 22-25 for members of the Class of 2006.

The program builds upon the success of Lafayette’s symposium on globalization this spring, which included research presentations by 12 students and lectures by former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and award-winning author and journalist Naomi Klein.

A committee of students, faculty, and administrators designed orientation, which has been revamped to increase its academic and cross-cultural components, according to Gladstone Hutchison, dean of studies.

Mary J.S. Roth, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, will deliver the Convocation address, sharing her recent experience as a Fulbright Scholar in Norway.

Orientation will include discussions of the summer reading for incoming students, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization by Thomas Friedman, who gave Lafayette’s annual John and Muriel Landis Lecture in September 2000. The book discusses the tension between globalization and the forces of culture, geography, tradition, and community. Its major thesis is that globalization has replaced the Cold War as the dominant international system, is irreversible, and will have major influence on the domestic policies and international relations of every country, says Hutchison. According to Friedman, this new system must strike a proper balance between global markets and local cultures.

Members of the Class of 2006 are using an Internet bulletin board to engage in an on-line discussion of Friedman’s book and related issues, as well as to introduce themselves to one another before setting foot on campus. Coordinated by William Carpenter, assistant professor of English, the discussion board has posted over 600 messages since July 5.

Ahmed Samatar, James Wallace Professor and Dean of International Studies at Macalester College, will challenge Friedman’s thesis in an orientation lecture Friday, Aug. 23.

The first-year students will participate in an International Food Festival Friday evening that will celebrate the culinary traditions of the Hispanic, Asian, Mediterranean (including North African), and North American (include Native American, African American, and Jewish) cultures. Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures, will draw on her new First Year Seminar, “On Cooking, Culture, and Cinema,” to guide the theme of the event, which will explore “the epicultural confluences of Lafayette and Easton, which has a myriad of cultural communities, as a bridge to and from the global community,” says Hutchison.

Performances during the festival will be given by Grupo Latino Continental, a Latin jazz and salsa band that blends Cuban and American music and rhythms, and the Tai Yim Kung Fu Lion and Dragon Dancers, which will perform traditional Chinese dragon dance.

An outdoor International Marketplace will take place Saturday, Aug. 24, modeled after the two African Markets held in Farinon College Center last spring. Vendors will represent a multitude of cultures and performances will be given by Ewabo, a Caribbean steel drum band, and Piscataway Nation, a Native American singing and dance group.

Other acts scheduled to perform during orientation include German comedian Hilby the Skinny and Indian Ragas performer Lee Torchia.

Categorized in: Academic News