A Consider This Opinion Piece: Why I-Week Matters to Me in 2017

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The world appears to have changed for the worse, and while so many seem incapacitated, there are many others who have risen to the challenge. Front line workers and volunteers work to comfort, feed and shelter those in need; scientists refuse to be silenced about the environmental catastrophes we face; educators prepare the next generation to be creative, courageous and committed to changing a broken system; and grassroots organizers work tirelessly to ensure that equity and human rights are enshrined in our laws, policies and procedures.

Growing up in rural Saskatchewan, life seemed simpler, but maybe every generation remembers their childhood as taking place when things were less complicated.

Being on a farm close to a tiny community, I spent my non-school days riding my bike around town, visiting friends' homes, playing in the park, hiking through fields of wheat or barley on an adventure; getting home in time for dinner and all was good. We had only two channels on our television, and other than Saturday morning cartoons it seemed that the news was usually playing. The news was mainly local and not really shocking. Bottom line, the world as I knew it was calm, safe and simple. My childhood didn't take place in a magical land, but it was before the general public really knew what kind of impact humans were having on our planet and one another.

Flash forward a few decades and I wouldn't dream of letting my young children watch the news. Even visiting my family home in Saskatchewan, I don't know that I would tell my kids to just "have fun and be back before dark!" I've seen too much, I know too much - the media has filled me with fear.

I often question whether this fear is warranted and what the ultimate price could be of having a community, country or world filled with fear. Are we too afraid to connect with one another? Too overwhelmed to move? Too cynical to get involved? Too nervous to stand up for what we know is right? Or are we so used to hearing constant reports of environmental disaster, human trafficking, and civil wars that these events have become background noise?

These are the questions that I am carrying with me to International Week 2017 (Jan.30-Feb.3).
This year's I-Week is all about transitions, and the sessions being offered should help to provide some context and understanding on the topics that have made the world of today one of worry. The keynote speakers will shine a light on the way forward, so we can face the world with hope as we meet modern obstacles. I-Week will challenge us all to listen, learn, question and act upon issues that move us. We will share space with our colleagues, students and community members and we will renew our energy, passion and commitment to creating a better world.

That's why I-Week 2017 matters to me.

Key International Week Events

Monday, January 30

7:00 pm - A Living Earth Economy for an Ecological Civilization (David Korten)

Tuesday, January 31

12:30 pm - Education for Responsible Planetary Citizenship (David Korten & Manulani Aluli-Meyer)

7:00 pm - Holistic Theory of Knowledge: Indigenous common sense (Manulani Aluli-Meyer)

Wednesday, February 1

7:00 pm - Exploding the Myth of the Female Suicide Bomber (Tanya Narozhna & W.Andy Knight)

Thursday, February 2

7:30 pm - Music for a Better World: Musical Transitions

Friday, February 3

2:00 pm - Climate Justice - From Gloom to Boom: A perspective from the Global South (Her Excellency Rev.Dr.Princess Ocansey)

3:00 pm - World's Challenge Challenge Competition

Sunday, February 5

6:00 pm - Jhankaar - A Multicultural Night

Visit the International Week 2017 website for the full listing of events.

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Carrie Malloy - Global Education Coordinator, University of Alberta International

As a Master's student focusing on global issues, Carrie was drawn to International Week. Years later as a Human Rights Educator she presented at International Week. And, as the Global Education Coordinator, she is now organizing International Week. Guess it was meant to be!