UW-Madison launched its celebration of International Education Week with the Global Engagement Fair on Monday, November 14. Students, faculty, and staff gathered for live music and dance, food, and to chat with campus and community organizations about global opportunities at UW-Madison.
“International Education Week is celebrated not only at UW-Madison, but at institutions across the nation,” said Guido Podestá, vice provost and dean of the International Division. “This week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchanges worldwide. And while it might be a weeklong celebration, there are reasons to celebrate international education every day at UW–Madison, as students, faculty, and staff are constantly engaged in international academics, research, and cultural exchanges.”
The fair featured keynote speaker Wajahat Ali, who discussed storytelling through social media. Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, an award-winning playwright, a TV host, and a consultant for the U.S. State Department. As creative director of Affinis Labs, Ali has become a key figure in empowering marginalized communities, young leaders, and entrepreneurs to create positive impact through social change.
“I’ve been able to create a global footprint, a small one, but a global footprint nonetheless, due to the investment in me by my local community, teachers, family, my universities, and through the use of social media to share my story with a global audience,” Ali said.
Ali discussed how social media has helped to share stories that may have otherwise been ignored or overlooked by local, national, and international media. These social stories led to activism surrounding incidents in Ferguson, Missouri; the Arab Spring; and #BlackLivesMatter.
“This is the brave new world of globalization, social media, technology, disruption, and local actors bypassing once powerful institutions to have their story heard and gain their seat at the global table,” Ali said. “The intersection of technology and globalization is rapidly changing all of the rules of modern communication, language, social interaction, and even identities.”
International Education Week (IEW) runs from November 14–18. View upcoming IEW events.