By Natalie Orozco

November 12-16 will mark the seventh annual International Education Week (IEW) sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Education.

This year, UC Santa Cruz will join hundreds of thousands of institutions in celebrating IEW worldwide.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s website, IEW is a joint initiative to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

“It’s not our first year [celebrating IEW] but it is the first year that the programming has been on this scale. We decided in our office to show how international we already are, in order to raise awareness on this campus,” said Shante Lewis, Education Abroad Program (EAP) adviser of the Office of International Education (OIE).

Lewis, an IEW program coordinator at UCSC this year, is working with resources and students all over campus, including the Peace Corps, the career center, and ethnic student organizations to plan an entire week of events.

One of those events will be the International Night and Fashion Show, in which students and faculty who studied abroad are invited to show off the different kinds of dances and clothing apparel they appreciate most from their adopted country.

“Students on campus will be in the fashion show and will be performing,” Lewis said. “It will promote international awareness and will be good entertainment.”

According to Rebecca Neile, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education, “[IEW] is meant to increase the opportunity for students and faculty to engage about higher institutions abroad.”

Lewis also encourages the UCSC community to get involved. “I think it’s a safe space to show off how [diverse] the campus already is and to show off the different cultures to our communities, and also of course to learn about other opportunities available in other countries,” she said.

This year’s IEW theme will be “International Education: Fostering Global Citizenship and Respect.” It aims to recognize the importance of teaching everyone to be responsible, respectful world citizens.

“The goal of the week is about the promotion of fostering educational opportunities for students through partnerships, research collaborations, and all other sorts of activities that promote educational exchange,” Neile said.

The OIE has certainly has taken a proud role in that.

Director Rebecca Sweeley of OIE said, “UCSC can take pride in its achievements in international and intercultural education. IEW is our chance to show off a bit.”