International Conference Builds Relationships, Promotes Scholarship

Friday, May 13, 2016

Scholars from as far as Pakistan converged on the UNC Wilmington campus Thursday to attend a conference designed to build relationships and promote collaborative scholarship.

“The New Global City: Presenting and Translating Cultures within a Worldwide Citizenry” is the first in a series of international conferences to be hosted by UNCW and the International Islamic University in Islamabad (IIUI). Approximately 150 scholars are taking part in the three-day conference to explore how culture is translated, adapted and redefined as it appears in localized contexts across the globe.

“We want to bring these scholars together so they will have an opportunity to talk with each other, and further collaborate in ways that you cannot do through email,” said UNCW psychology professor Caroline Clements, who led the committee that organized the conference.

The conference will conclude Saturday, May 14, with a spring festival that is free and open to the public. The Festival of Basant, a Pakistani welcoming of spring, begins at 1 p.m. on the lawn near McNeill Hall.

The IIUI-UNCW University Partnership is a three-year cooperative agreement sponsored by the U.S. Department of State that links humanists and social scientists at both institutions. The collaboration is funded by a $1 million grant through the State Department. UNCW was awarded the three-year grant in October 2014.

Under the Fulbright-Hays Act (officially known as the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961), the State Department initiated the grant program linking Pakistani universities with U.S. institutions in 2012, with the mission to promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchanges between American citizens and citizens of other countries.

“Hosting this conference represents a critical step in our mission to expand UNCW’s global connections and engage our students and community in new ways of thinking, both academically and culturally,” said Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “The ‘New Global City’ conference reflects the cross-cultural partnership between dedicated faculty at UNCW and IIUI.”

The partnership has four objectives: professional development, curriculum development, research and community engagement, said Richard Boyum, university partnership coordinator with the U.S. Department of State, who attended the conference.

“UNCW has really engaged the community with this project,” he said. “The university has done a lot to showcase Pakistan to the U.S. and allowed the Pakistani to take back a very favorable image of the U.S. In addition to all the academics, I think that is a very important aspect.”

--Venita Jenkins