This week is International Education Week, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s International Student Council is celebrating with a variety of events throughout the week.

The events started on Monday, Nov. 13 with a Meet and Greet with the International Student Council, and a cultural food potluck at Randolph Hall. 

Tuesday sees a soccer game at the intramural field from 6-8 p.m. between the International Student Council and the Arabic Culture Club. Wednesday is the Immigration Workshop with guest speakers from My Green Card Story at the Evangeline Art Gallery in the Student Union from 2:30-4:30 p.m., Thursday is International Student Family Night at the Hilliard Art Museum from 6-8 p.m. and the week ends with Friday’s Culture Fest on the Student Union Porch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

International Education Week is celebrated each year and is an initiative by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education to “promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and to attract leaders from abroad to study in the United States,” according to the Department of Education’s website. This year’s theme is “International Education Is the Future.”

Faryal Atif, the president of the International Student Council, worked with her board to organize events for each day of the week. She encouraged students to come to all events if they can make it, but especially the International Student Family Night and the Culture Fest.

“The museum is especially open for international students and their families and we have a great program planned,” Atif said. “Also, the Cultural Fest on Friday from 11:00-2:00 at the Union Porch will be a fantastic event to meet, learn and enjoy the vibrant cultures at our campus.”

The Culture Fest is a joint effort between the International Student Council, the Cultural Connection Board, the Division of Global Engagement and the College of Liberal Arts. Students will find food, fashion, performances, tables representing different countries and more at the event.

The escalation of conflicts globally and the sentiments expressed by some American politicians have created divisions in the country along national and ethnic lines, and an arduous political climate for people of different backgrounds or heritage. Atif shared the importance of being open to connecting with other people and cultures.

“I think regardless of the political climate, we always need to connect and share cultural exchanges given we have such a diverse and healthy international student body at UL Lafayette,” Atif said. “But in the current situation, it is even more important to come together and learn more about each other, our journeys. It helps develop empathy, brings people together and we learn and grow as a community with much more kindness, empathy and understanding.”

Atif added that UL Lafayette’s celebration of International Education Week is a great way for students to learn more about the greater global community.

“Why not take advantage of the beautiful international community we have at UL and learn more about the world right here in our backyard?” Atif said.