Office of Intercultural Affairs Announces New Collaborations and Opportunities – Asbury University
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Office of Intercultural Affairs Announces New Collaborations and Opportunities

April 5, 2022

The Asbury University Office of Intercultural Affairs is pleased to announce new collaborations and opportunities for Asbury students, faculty and staff that are underway and will help the community advance intercultural efforts.

Asbury was recently awarded the Biblically Informed Immigration Grant from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. In collaboration with the Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy and the Office of Intercultural Affairs, there are five sessions being offered, facilitated by faculty and staff:

  1. Kick-off presentation on “Immigration in America: The Policy, Political, and Cultural Landscape of a Contemporary Nation-State,” by Dr. Stephen Clements
  2. Panel discussion, led by Madeline Black, featuring students discussing research and personal experiences with immigration
  3. Presentation by Rev. Dr. Esther D. Jadhav on “Word and Deed: Biblical Teachings on Immigration”
  4. Presentation by Dr. Henry Zonio on “Immigration Attitudes among Evangelicals and other Christian Groups”
  5. Presentation by Dr. Glenn Harden on “Immigration and Human Trafficking”

“The scriptures are littered with the command to ‘welcome the stranger’,” said Dr. Stephen Clements, professor of Political Science and dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. “But what does this mean in the 21st century context, with relatively easy international travel, porous state borders, global commerce, nation-states with expensive welfare infrastructures, and heightened concerns about national cultures threatened by an influx of foreigners? The immigration issue is indeed a thorny one for American Christians, and far too many of them seem willing to default to simplistic approaches offered by our polarized political parties.”

Intercultural Students excelling in local mentoring programs and in broader communities

More locally, Asbury earned the Kentucky Council of Churches Learning for Advocacy Grant Program. In collaboration with the Office of Intercultural Life, Faculty Intercultural Development and Awareness Committee and the Office of Intercultural Affairs, the following two initiatives are being facilitated by junior Alejandra Ahern and senior Willens Alcime, the Jessamine County Schools Mentoring Program- Willens Alcime, student leader and Maria Brown (Intercultural Life) and the Reverse Cultural Mentoring Program-Alejandra Ahern, student leader and Dr. Brian Hull (IDAC)

Many in our community are excelling in contributions both on campus and in the broader community that are helping develop greater intercultural awareness and understanding. Junior Kayla Burns was selected as AIKCU Emerging Leader Program participant and recipient, and Junior Alejandra Ahern was recently accepted into a Kentucky Chamber of Commerce position as a Diversity in Public Affairs Intern. She currently works in Frankfort, involved in a variety of policy issues that impact the state of Kentucky. Dr. Henry Zonio was awarded a Project Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute. His research will focus on Youth Attitudes on Race and Religion.

IDAC announces faculty book group and new programs offered

On campus, IDAC is sponsoring a Faculty Book Group focusing on Jemar Tisby’s, How to Fight Racism and the Office of Intercultural Life is sponsoring Lunar New Year on February 11 and Asbury BSA’s Black Art Celebration on February 21 in the Hiccup Cafe, featuring artists from the Carter G. Woodson Academy, a traditional college preparatory program in Lexington, KY. Also, a Kinlaw Library display will highlight Black authors and encourage student engagement.

As these programs help us cultivate an intercultural community, Asbury also offered an interactive first-year fall seminar to promote critical thinking about human life, culture, experience, and Christian faith. Where students considered the question, “Whose justice, which neighbor?” To challenge students to address the question, two films were viewed, Just Mercy (2019) and the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), to initiate a liberal arts inquiry across the disciplines.