Global Café: Response to Growing International Population on Campus


By Sirui Shao
CCBP Editorial Assistant

“The Dialogue,” an hour-long documentary championing international culture, will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Global Café, an initiative of the Center for Community-Based Partnerhip (CCBP), 900 Anna Ave., directly behind the Arby’s on University Boulevard.

As the number of international students increases on the UA campus, organizations are expanding their cultural activities. With 5 percent of its population coming from 90 foreign countries, the CCBP is responding to the needs of native and international students by creating Global Café, a venue for bringing about greater international cultural communication, understanding and exploration.

This year during International Education Week, November 12–18, UA will host several events related to other cultures. They include a Mango Languages (Central Sudan) Demonstration; an Apwonjo (meaning “I teach” in Luo [Uganda] Bake Sale for Kiva (an organization that makes low-income loans to underserved entrepreneurs); and African Display (display on different African tribal concepts of beauty compared to Western notions of beauty), a World Soccer Tournament, with teams representing countries from around the world; and the film at Global Café.

Partners for the program include the Capstone International Center, Heart Touch (a pen-pal project for U.S. and Chinese elementary school students), and the Student Enrichment Experience Team (a CCBP program that connects undergraduate and graduate students, from all disciplines, to the work of community engaged scholarship).

“International Education Week is a chance for us all to pause and appreciate the learning opportunities offered by international study. That means U.S. students traveling abroad and international students coming here,” said Dr. Beverly Hawk, CCBP’s director of program services and the advisor for the Fulbright Program. “International study offers us many opportunities to makes friends from around the world.”

As the name suggests, Global Café provides the space for people to share traditions, learn languages together and make new friends.

A highlight of this year’s event is the screening of a documentary entitled “The Dialogue,” which follows eight students as they travel to China.

This year Capstone International selected Chinese culture and “The Dialogue” as an example of Chinese students sharing their culture with American students. The film was created by Crossing Borders Films and co-produced by Michigan State University. It follows four American and four Chinese university students as they travel together through Hong Kong and Southwest China, capturing their shared travel adventures, emotions of culture shock, honest confrontations and discoveries.

These experiences become doorways that deepen their understanding of the world and themselves. “It is an interesting movie,” Hawk said. “Lots of students around the world have watched it, and we want our students to have an opportunity to experience it as well. If people are interested in other cultures, for example Japan, Ireland and Spain, Global Café will meet the demand.”

All are welcome to attend and there is no charge. Food and conversation will follow the film.