Georgetown – We are living in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent world — a world where we can be “virtual participants” in daily life around the planet, thanks to 24-hour news cycles, social networking, and advances in long-distance communication. It’s a world where we can watch the events of one region immediately impact regions half-way across the globe.
Such a world requires global citizens who will work together to solve our greatest problems.
Guided by the need to bring greater awareness and knowledge of this topic, Delaware Technical Community College has created the Global Understanding Series which will offer programs and workshops free to the community, students and staff.
“I personally want to challenge our students to develop the intercultural understanding and global awareness that can help them to succeed in a 21st century world,” said College President Dr. Orlando J. George, Jr.
The College’s inaugural event for this series is “Global Voices: Perspective on Nepal,” a presentation on Wednesday, September 14 at 5 p.m. in the Student Services Center on the Owens Campus.
The featured presenters are well-known area chef and restaurateur Matt Haley and Delaware Tech medical lab student Prakash Singh, a native of Nepal. They will share their personal experiences and knowledge about education, culture, food and travel in Nepal.
Haley states: “Nepal is so much more than trekking. I’ve immersed myself in the culture, in the arts and literature and studied the cuisine, including the tribal foods of long ago. The experience has been phenomenal.”
Located in the Himalaya Mountains between China and India, Nepal is a wonderful place for trekking and adventure; it is also one of the poorest countries in the world. For Haley, what began at an Atlanta, Georgia event, where as a guest chef he helped to raise money for Nepalese children, has blossomed into a “love affair” with Nepal and its people.
Enthralled with the idea of helping Nepal’s children, Haley traveled there in 2009 and began to sponsor two girls who he now considers his “adopted daughters.” He has returned to the country on numerous occasions and has raised funds to build a group home, an orphanage and a sustainable school for 50 children in grades K-2 in Nuwakot, near Katmandu.
After Haley began visiting Nepal, he met Singh in this area. Under Singh’s tutelage, Haley learned Nepali (the language), and they embarked on an exchange of cultures. As their friendship has grown, so did a partnership based upon their common goal to help educate the children of Nepal, including those who are blind and deaf. Their efforts have led to creating books for the deaf, starting poetry clubs and writing books that are translated into several languages.
Four different components comprise the new Global Understanding Series: Global Voices, which provides a personal perspective on a global issues, region, culture or people; Postcards from Abroad, presented by Delaware Tech staff and students who have participated in previous study abroad programs or who are themselves from different countries and cultures; Global Skills, interactive workshops which teach participants new skills they can use in a workshop activity; and Culture & Arts, an immersion in dancing, cooking, traditional dress or theater.
The series is made possible through the Fund for Global Understanding. The purpose of the fund is to provide two benefits – (1) Study Abroad Scholarships for Delaware Tech students to participate in 1-2 weeks programs of study in another country to acquire an international outlook and skills related to their career preparation, and (2) The Global Understanding Series for college students, staff and the community to gain awareness, knowledge and appreciation for global issues, regions, cultures and people.
Established in 2008, the fund is supported by proceeds from the Couture & Class fashion show at the Owens Campus. The annual event is the brainchild of Lewes resident Sue Saliba, Delaware Tech alumnus, college trustee and member of the Owens Campus Development Council. A native of Senegal, West Africa who is fluent in four languages, she has had the good fortune to travel, visit other countries, and experience first-hand how enriching an experience that can be.
When explaining her motivation and desire to assist with international education, Saliba states, “It is critical that students and members of the community gain international understanding and have an outlet to participate and make connections. It raises awareness between people of different backgrounds.”
While the fashion show is the main resource for the fund — more than $30,000 has been raised — donations are needed and accepted throughout the year.
Individuals interested in supporting the Fund for Global Understanding can contact Jason Bentley, development director, at 302-855-5996 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gifts can be sent to: Fund for Global Understanding, Delaware Technical Community College, Jack F. Owens Campus, P.O. Box 610, Georgetown, DE, 19947