Fostering global awareness and international experience through UID 2020
Aimed at providing UTAR staff and students with a platform to develop knowledge and skills in a globally interdependent and diverse world, UTAR International Day (UID) 2020 staged another comeback at UTAR Kampar Campus on 21 February 2020.
Jointly organised by the Division of Community and International Networking (DCinternet), Department of Student Affairs (DSA), Department of Soft Skills Competency (DSSC) and Department of International Student Services (DISS), the one-day event was held for the second time since its inaugural launch last year.
Apart from developing knowledge and skills among staff and students, UID 2020 also aimed to foster greater ties among UTAR international students as well as with the local students and encourage UTAR students to build global networks and gain international exposure which propels the students towards acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community perspectives.
Themed ‘Diversity Cultural for Generation’, this year’s event was officiated by UTAR Vice President for Student Development and Alumni Relations Prof Dr Choong Chee Keong representing UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat. Also present at the event were UTAR Council Member Hew Fen Yee, DCinternet Director Assoc Prof Dr Lai Soon Onn, Deputy Director Dr Chen, I-Chi, DISS Head of Kampar Campus Ngan Mun Wai, Westlake International School Principal Sherry Ann Daniel, UTAR staff and students.
Emphasising on the importance of globalisation and internationalisation, Prof Choong said, “In today’s highly globalised world, cross-cultural influences are greater than ever before and isolation from the rest of the world is no longer an option for any sector in modern society. UTAR has been responding to globalisation by making internationalisation as a key element of its strategies. UTAR sees a lot of opportunities offered by globalisation to expand its educational mission; add an international dimension to its curriculum; promote among its students a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity and engage in collaborative research across countries.”
He added, “UTAR also believes that our students’ learning will truly be complete and wholesome if we incorporate the global experience for both our staff and students. To date, we have more than 400 MoU partners from 28 economies, which channel and link collaborative research activities, student exchanges and training for our staff and students. The international experience promotes diversity and a globalised outlook for a balanced education. In addition, we have international students from 44 economies on campus to ensure that our students acquire the relevant cultural intelligence, understanding and behaviour to be able to work and live in an increasingly borderless and global society. UTAR International Day 2020 is indeed a great platform for UTAR staff and students to get exposed to different yet unique cultures and traditions from various economies.”
To intensify the effort, this year the event carried a total of 14 booths featuring 14 different economies, namely the Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Japan, China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Mauritius, Yemen and Myanmar; and a region, Macau. The booths, set up and run by UTAR international students, primarily featured the arts and cultural aspects of each economy such as traditional clothes, traditional food, traditional games and traditional musical instruments.
Attended by more than 200 visitors, the visitors also had the chance to take part in many other exciting activities, namely outbound mobility experiences sharing about Germany, Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan; cultural booths and art exhibition, cultural talks, mini-games as well as cultural performances.
The event also included an enriching talk titled “Cultural Awareness, Sensitivity and Competence” by DSSC Assistant Lecturer Erica Chua Ning Jia. The talk on cross-cultural awareness and appreciation focused on the aspects of individual culture as well as on the importance of cross-cultural understanding and acceptance among the community. Erica’s talk also emphasised on the degrees of cultural awareness and techniques on how to be culturally aware.
Marking the end of UTAR International Day 2020 was a group photograph.