Sunday, April 10, 2011

WOW Festival Features Symposium, Workshops

The 13th Annual Window On The World festival will take place Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Tennessee Tech University. In addition to the festival are two educational extensions offered free to the community. The first is a symposium titled "The Middle East Now." The second extension is the addition of workshops by the Global Education Center from Nashville for area educators. The symposium will take place on Friday, April 15, at the Roaden University Center from 10:10 to 11 a.m. It will consist of a panel of experts discussing current events in the Middle East. Mark Stephens, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, will open the symposium. Stephens supervises the operations of the International Student Affairs. Ferdinand DiFurio will be the moderator for the symposium. DiFurio is an associate professor of economics at Tennessee Tech. He teaches classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has published research in the areas of business survival and program evaluation.

Three panelists will present their individual perspectives on the MIddle East. Panelists were chosen according to their varied experiences in the Middle East. These panelists include Pat Ryan, Michael Gunter and Jeff Roberts. Ryan is founder of the Tennessee World Affairs Council, a non-profit, non-partisan educational charity whose mission is to bring global awareness education programs and resources to Tennessee communities and schools. He currently works as president and founder of Ryan & Associates, an editorial consulting firm specializing in online global affairs information resources, particularly developments in the Middle East and Asia. Gunter is a professor of political science at TTU and teaches during the summer at the International University in Vienna, Austria. He is the author of seven critically praised scholarly books on the Kurdish question. He is also co-editor with Mohammed M. A. Ahmed of "The Kurdish Question and the 2003 Iraqi War, 2005," and "The Evolution of Kurdish Nationalism, 2007." He has been interviewed on numerous occasions by the international and national press on the Middle East. Roberts, chairman of TTU's history department, routinely teaches courses on Middle Eastern History and has recently taught seminars on terrorism and Afghanistan. He is the author of "The Origins of Conflict in Afghanistan." When asked about subjects he will discuss at the symposium he commented, "Every time I teach the Middle East course, I make extensive changes to reflect current events. The pace of change in the past few months, however, has been truly spectacular. I'm hesitant to even suggest what topics I might address three weeks from now, save to say that I'll certainly mention Afghanistan." The pubic is invited to attend and participate in a Q & A session after the symposium.

The second educational extension is the addition of four workshops, presented throughout the day on April 16. The workshops are presented by Global Education Center, a nonprofit anti-bias, multicultural education center. They specialize in using the arts of diverse cultures to highlight commonalities of all people and to promote cross-cultural understanding and respect. Registered teachers will participate in a total of five hours of immersion in the arts of diverse cultures, including West Africa, India and Appalachia, as well as exploration of poetry and improvisational music. Professional development credit is available for attendance.