From sending wishes out on water lanterns to exploring cultural exchanges through special events, University of Richmond students will receive an immersive cultural experience of the world’s largest continent, Asia, through this year’s International Education Week.

International Education Week, according to the Office of International Education website, is where faculty, staff and students can transform the campus, for one week, into one of the regions that has a strong connection to UR. 

After “Let’s Go Danish” in 2017 and South Africa Week in 2018, this year the OIE picked East Asia as the spotlight. 

As of fall 2019, about 8% of UR students identify as Asian, according to the student diversity report. Martha Merritt, dean of international education, said she had noticed a gap of awareness on Asian cultures within the student body. 

“We are dealing with extremely strong personal knowledge and not a lot of awareness,” she said, “so [Asia Week] can help those who have no awareness of Asia to learn from the students and faculty who know a lot about Asia.”

Merritt said there had been more students studying abroad in Denmark than in all 48 countries in Asia. This phenomenon and the difference in awareness is what made the OIE focus on Asia for this year’s International Education Week. 

Merritt said she had hoped that students would come away with an appreciation of the cultures and that more students would be interested in studying abroad in Asia.

Below is a full guide to Asia Week events.

Wish Walk and Opening Celebration

12-1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11

From The Forum to the Carole Weinstein International Center

Asia Week will start with a cross-campus walk that begins at The Forum. Participants will walk to the International Center for a light lunch. They will be able to write down their wishes during this event, and the wishes will later be transferred to lanterns by calligraphers. These lanterns will be set out on water during Wednesday’s Festival of Lights. 

Panel: Tidying Up — The Beauty of Order in Japan

12-1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12

Carole Weinstein International Center, International Commons

The Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has helped families get rid of things that do not “spark joy” and might have increased the amount of clothing donated in the U.S. 

Kristen Ziegler, Richmond-based owner of Minima Organizing & Redesign, and first-year Sarah Schalkoff, who was raised in Japan and moved to the U.S. in 2016, will discuss the KonMari method created by Kondo and how people can use these practices to bring beauty and order into their lives.

Nationali-TEA

1-2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12

Carole Weinstein International Center, International Gallery and Office of International Education

Students from the International Club will brew, serve and talk about popular Asian teas and tea traditions. Participants can celebrate Asia week by trying out a variety of Asian teas and learning about their histories.

Deep Breaths: A Chinese-English Bilingual Poetry Reading

3-4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12

First Floor, Collaborative Study Area, Boatwright Library

Mi Jialu, associate professor of English and world languages and cultures at the College of New Jersey, will lead the bilingual poetry reading of his book “Deep Breaths.” “Deep Breaths” is a Chinese-English collection of poems written in the last 37 years, and it was published in Taiwan. 

Faculty Panel: Being Asian During UR's Asia Week

6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12

Carole Weinstein International Center, International Commons

A panel of Asian/Asian American faculty will discuss what it means to be Asian on a majority-white campus. Panelists include Shahan Mufti, associate professor of journalism, Tze Loo, associate professor of history and global studies, and Jennifer Erkulwater, professor of political science. 

Dan Chen, assistant professor of political science, will serve as moderator. 

Asia Week Presentation: Innovation in China

2:30-4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13

Weinstein Hall, Brown-Alley Room

Yuen Yuen Ang, associate professor of political science from the University of Michigan, and Judith Farquhar, professor emerita of anthropology and social sciences from the University of Chicago, will discuss areas of innovation in Chinese culture, economics and politics that have been overlooked in explanations of Chinese resilience and achievement, especially in recent years. 

Asia Week: Festival of Lights

4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13

Tyler Haynes Commons

The Festival of Lights will introduce various cultures, activities and influences from countries throughout Asia, with more than 20 stations from student organizations and university offices. Guests will explore the arts, opportunities to study abroad, fellowships, music, dance and more. 

Sophomore Haley Hom, co-president of Asian American Student Union, helped organize this event and said she believed it would be a perfect opportunity for people to gain cultural experience. She said she expected a high level of student engagement. 

International Dinner: 12 Countries of Asia 

6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13

Heilman Dining Center

Heilman Dining Center will host its annual International Dinner with dishes from many Asian countries. Dining hall staff have been meeting with many of UR's international students to brainstorm for authentic dishes from their home countries, according to the event description.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day: Spotlight on East Asia

10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14

Multiple locations

Multiple events will take place throughout the day, including presentations, East Asia food sampling and a themed cake contest.

Asia Week Reception

4-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14

Carole Weinstein International Center, International Commons

The Office of International Education will host a dinner to thank the faculty, staff and students who helped with the Asia Week planning and events.

Lecture: “Mother of Exiles”: Refugees in American Myth and History

4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14

Brown-Alley Room

Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history from Columbia University, will deliver the history department’s annual distinguished Ryland Lecture.

CCE Brown Bag — Our Stories, Our Richmond: Celebrating Asian Student Voice

12:30-1:25 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15

Tyler Haynes Commons, Room 305

A group of students from southern China arrived in Virginia to study at Richmond College in the late 1910s. Chinese students from both Richmond and Westhampton colleges played active roles in the university community. This Brown Bag event will focus on Asian identity with a student-driven panel discussion.

Film — Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14

Jepson Hall, Room 118

3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15

Ukrop Auditorium, E. Claiborne Robins School of Business

Students are invited to the 107-minute documentary about what was a flourishing rock and roll culture in Cambodia until the Khmer Rouge rose to power in 1975 and outlawed Western-style music. This film tells the stories of the musicians whose rebellion and creativity cost them their lives.

Weeklong Programs

East Asian EcoChallenge

The EcoChallenge will feature different themes each day inspired by East Asia’s variety of innovations and environmental challenges. Throughout this weeklong challenge, participants can compete individually or in teams to earn points and win prizes. So far, the challenge already has 277 participants. Students can register here

BackStory Podcast

The BackStory podcast produced by Virginia Humanities will release an episode featuring program content for Asia Week, with a focus on the interaction of U.S. and Chinese cultures. History professor Edward Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright professor of the humanities and President Emeritus, will be a host, along with guest host Erika Lee, author of “The Making of Asian America.” It will serve as a prelude to the “Innovation in China” panel discussion hosted on campus with Ang and Farquhar. The podcast will be released on Monday, Nov. 11.

Passport Cafe

Passport Cafe will offer Hainan Chicken and Hainan Tofu as Asia Week’s specials.

Contact news writer Haley Zhao at haley.zhao@richmond.edu.