The Zach S. Henderson Library, working alongside other departments on campus, is hosting their International Journeys at the Library series this semester.
“We look for any and every opportunity that we can to partner with the various units on campus,” W. Bede Mitchell, Dean of the Library, said.
The idea behind the library series is to get students involved in learning about different cultures and countries, without paying out of their pockets to do so.
“Our hope is that someone comes to the library and hears a lecture about a particular place that they didn’t know about and they decide that they want to know more about that particular country,” Mitchell said.
The programs typically occur on Wednesdays at noon, and there is one program per month. Attendance varies between 20 to 30 audience members, and turn out can be lower, depending on the topic that month.
“[The program] is about giving members of the university community: faculty, staff and students, an opportunity to share their international experience with the entire campus and off campus communities,” Jacek Lubecki, associate professor of political science, said. “The ‘Journeys’ are a joint venture between the Library and the Department of Political Science and International Studies.”
There are two upcoming programs about Ireland and Brazil in which students will be able to participate.
“Brazil: On the Precipice of the Future” will give an overview of the South American country, providing details on topics such as the economy, politics and history, and will take place February 10th in library room 1300 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
“I want people to take away a better idea of Brazil and its past and its current position. Also, to be intrigued by its people, culture, and way of life.” Matthew Flynn, assistant professor of International Studies and Sociology said.
Part of Flynn’s motivation for leading a discussion on Brazil is to promote both an upcoming study abroad trip to the country and a fall 2016 class about five countries that are often grouped together because of their similar positions in economic development, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, otherwise known as the BRICS countries.
Though Flynn has spoken about Brazil many times before, this will be the first time that he is speaking at the library series.
“I enjoy talking about Brazil and my experiences. I consider myself a Brazillinesta who has done lots of research in Brazil, has lived there quite a bit, and has incorporated a lot of Brazilian themes into my class,” Flynn said.
Flynn was approached by another colleague who asked him if he would be willing to make a presentation about the country. He agreed and if everything goes well with the upcoming presentation, Flynn says he is interested in doing more.
The series aims for the presenters to tell their own personal stories, so that students are able to relate, rather than listen to facts about a particular country.
“They’re not just lectures about the countries; these are personal stories by faculty members who went to these countries for various purposes. It’s interesting to listen to these personal stories. There is a lot to learn in general and the unique experiences of the people talking about them are exciting.” Mitchell said.