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International Education Week Centers Conversations on Responding to Global Environmental Injustice

Beginning this Monday, the Boston College Office of International Programs (OIP) is organizing International Education Week (IEW) around the theme “Global Environmental (In)Justice: How Do We Respond.” The program, consisting of a series of lectures and other events over the course of the week, is designed to spark conversation about the impact of environmental crises on marginalized communities around the world. 

IEW was initially created in 2000 to emphasize “the importance of increasing knowledge and awareness of the world's cultures, peoples and languages,” according to the IEW webpage.  Since 2000, IEW has been “organized each year as a joint initiative by the U.S. Departments of State and Education,” according to Nick Gozik, director of OIP and one of the two co-chairs of the IEW committee at Boston College.

Although IEW is coordinated nationwide by the State Department and the Department of Education, “individual institutions are able to decide how they want to celebrate” the week, according to Gozik. As part of their mission to affirm “the critical role the international education plays at Boston College,” OIP has traditionally “chosen to introduce a theme as a way of connecting the various events” of IEW.

Through this year’s theme, Gozik hopes “to consider how members of the BC community might address global concerns from a variety of perspectives and disciplines,” with a particular focus toward the effects on marginalized communities.

Some notable events during IEW include “The Immigrant and Refugee Experience” and “Corporate Citizens and Sustainable Development Goals,” which deals with the role of corporations in society.

Other events include “Environmental Injustice in the Americas: A Conversation from Puerto Rico and Honduras,” which will focus on the disproportionate effects that increasing hurricanes and a rapidly changing climate have had on these societies, as well as the “grassroots efforts in these areas to adapt to new environmental stresses and to mitigate carbon emissions.”

The penultimate event of the week,  “Seeking Solutions to the Planetary Health Threats of the Anthropocene Epoch,” will focus on the “implications of global climate change and environmental pollution for public health” in communities worldwide.

Gozik considers the theme of this year’s IEW to be particularly relevant, as it relates to “issues that are being debated everywhere from local communities to the global stage,” such as climate change, pollution, and the quality of the food supply.

A complete list of this week’s events is available on the IEW webpage. 

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