Campus goes global

Global Focus Week exposes students to various cultures and nationalities

Global Focus Week (GFW) is one of the many aspects that separate Liberty University from other colleges around the world. This year, GFW took place Feb. 9-13.

Celebration — A host of nations was displayed during the Global Focus Week kick-off. Photo credit: Courtney Russo

Celebration — A host of nations was displayed during the Global Focus Week kick-off. Photo credit: Courtney Russo

Monday’s Convocation kicked off the week with the Parade of Nations, where dozens of students walked through the Vines Center waving flags from their home countries. Five students proceeded to read a passage from Revelation one at a time in English, Albanian, German, Rwandan and Thai.

Convocation featured two guest speakers, evangelical Pastor Ghassan Thomas and Assistant Attorney General of South Dakota and author Dr. John Strohman. Thomas shared a few of his experiences in Iraq and Turkey and explained how he helped translate more than 6,000 Arabic Bibles and plant hundreds of churches in Iraq.

Strohman spoke next about the difference between the “Fake Commission” and the “Great Commission.” He told students to focus more on getting the message of Jesus Christ to the world rather than how they look while they are doing it.

“We’ve got to care enough to share the real gospel,” Strohman said.

The LaHaye Multipurpose Center hosted “Taste of Nations” Monday night, an annual favorite of both students and faculty. The event consisted of food samples from 23 countries with cultural music and dancing.

Learn — Tables were set up for interested visitors to examine. Lauren Smith

Learn — Tables were set up for interested visitors to examine. Photo credit Lauren Smith

Dr. William Wegert, dean of the International Student Programs, said the event has been running for a decade. Wegert said he loves the interest American students show in all things international, and he is glad he can be a part of the global celebration.

“I have the best job on campus,” Wegert said.

The rest of the week was filled with events, including different “Culture Breaks” in the Jerry Falwell Library Monday through Thursday, featuring themes of Bollywood, International Candy Tasting, Tribal and Sip Your Way Around the World.

Tuesday evening featured “Into the Muslim Mind,” where students could get a deeper understanding of the Muslim culture as they listened to speakers and sat on the floor to eat Middle Eastern food. A similar event called “Into the Buddhist Mind,” also took place Thursday night.

Jonny, coordinator of special events in the Center for Global Engagement (CGE), works on the planning team with Director of Special Events Anna. Together, they worked to schedule and facilitate the events, partner with different organizations and make this GFW one to remember.

“My favorite part is seeing students (get) connected with representatives from the organizations and … seeing how those connections stick with students for the next 30-40 years,” Jonny said.

Jonny said all the resources offered during GFW are practical for the future of students in any vocation or career path.

“Just because we live in Lynchburg, doesn’t mean you’ll only interact with Americans,” Jonny said. “In the real world, students need to be prepared to interact with different people and cultures with which they’ll be working.”

Although the week offers different, fun and experiential events every year, the vision of GFW, according to Jonny, always stays the same: to raise global awareness and appreciation and for students to understand the need to spread the message of Jesus Christ all over the world.

“God loves every people, country, island (and) continent,” Jonny said. “Because he loves them, we should love them too. He has reached out to us, so we ought to do the same.”

NOTE: For safety reasons, last names have been withheld.

Ritter is a news reporter.

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