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Tuesday, November 20, 2018 - 10:30am
Dobbs Ferry Campus

Mercy students, faculty, and staff convened this past week (November 12-16) to mark the College’s engagement with issues of global concern through a series of International Week events. The week—organized by Dr. Sheila Gersh, Director of Mercy’s Center for Global Engagement—included five presentations focused on themes connected to UN or UNESCO-designated days of international significance or awareness. The Center for Global Engagement also conducted an event to promote study abroad among Mercy students.

On Monday, in observance of World Toilet Day, Professors Irina Ellison and Thomas Culhane spoke to a Mercy audience on effects of the toilet and modern day plumbing on civilization, and on contemporary DIY approaches to ecologically sound and sanitary solutions to human waste disposal and re-use. On Tuesday, the College marked International Day for Tolerance with a presentation by Mercy Professors Abby Hirsch and Ilene Rothschild on continuing issues of gender equality as an instance of promoting tolerance, focusing on the history of feminism and its contemporary, everyday relevance.

On Wednesday, in keeping with International Students’ Day, staff from the Center for Global Engagement spoke with Mercy students on benefits of study abroad and provided support for U.S. passport applications.

The College honored Universal Children’s Day on Thursday with a lecture by Professor Wendy K. Mages on inclusion of the arts in education and the value of the arts in preparing children to flourish as productive citizens. Noting the documented decline in arts education programming, Dr. Mages emphasized the importance of providing opportunities for all children, regardless of income or social conditions, to engage in the arts. 

Thursday also included a panel discussion to mark the occasion of World Philosophy Day featuring Professors Ben Abelson, José Fernandez and Saul Fisher. A series of presentations centered on transformation, the 2018-19 academic theme of the School of Liberal Arts.  Dr. Abelson and Dr. Fisher discussed ‘transformative experiences’, like having a child. These sorts of experiences are so profoundly transforming that they shape our future thinking yet, given the magnitude of the changes, we cannot know in advance such outcomes of those changes. This introduces a problem for evaluating our pursuit of those changes to begin with.

International Week ended on Friday by an event marking Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Professor Hattie Martin presented on confidence in pursuit of one’s goals as a woman entrepreneur. While men continue to dominate opportunities, strong and self-assured women succeed through education, hard work and navigating traditionally male modes of workplace communication.

Events throughout International Week 2018 placed special emphasis on introducing the Mercy community to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, an ongoing feature of future globally-themed events on campus.