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Dialogues on the Challenges of Hispaniola
Music, Dancing and Interactive Learning at Glendon

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<p>Over 130 people convened at Glendon College, York University, to attend the 16th Annual International Studies Symposium, <a href="http://www.hispaniolasymposium.org/conference.html"><em>Transcending the Border: Dialogues on the Challenges of Hispaniola</em></a> on March 5. <br /><br />This unique, entirely student initiated, managed and executed conference focused this year on the island of Hispaniola, which encompasses both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The 2011 organizing committee consisted of six International Studies majors, Alexandra Ross, Shareefah Ren&eacute;, Andr&eacute;e Paulin, Tamaisha Eytle, Kathryn Bodkin and Alexandra Verbinschi.</p>
<p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://monglendon.yorku.ca/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/files/20110322/Team_sm.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="334" /></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><span class="image_caption">The Symposium's organizing team - l-r: Kathryn Bodkin, Alexandra Verbinschi, Tamaisha Eytle, advising professor Dr. Ram&oacute;n A. Victoriano-Martinez, Andr&eacute;e Paulin, Alexandra Ross and Shareefah Ren&eacute;</span></p>
<p>The opening ceremonies were followed by a keynote address by Canada&rsquo;s ambassador to the Dominican Republic &ndash; and a York University alumnus &ndash; his Excellency Todd Kuiack, who outlined the issues and challenges confronting the two countries on this island. <br /><br />Panelists were brought in from as close to home as York University and as far away as Hispaniola to speak on a variety of issues concerning the island. Topics included language, cultural expressions and religion, gender, development and human rights, ethnicity and citizenship, interstate relations, global dynamics and post-earthquake analysis.</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://monglendon.yorku.ca/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/files/20110322/Symposium_team_sm.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="288" /><span class="image_caption">The organizing team with the keynote speaker, l-r: Kathryn Bodkin, Tamaisha Eytle, Andr&eacute;e Paulin, Ambassador Todd Kuiack, Alexandra Verbinschi, Shareefah Ren&eacute; and Alexandra Ross</span></p>
<p>Attendees were treated to an authentic regional lunch provided by Lakay Restaurant, as well as a cultural exhibition. Excellent entertainment by the Haitian jazz band Groupe R&eacute;v&eacute;lation complemented the fantastic food. At the conclusion of the afternoon&rsquo;s panels, closing remarks were followed by a performance by Toronto-based Dominican performer Carlos Cruz.<br /><br />The implementation of various forms of social media added a new dimension to this year&rsquo;s symposium. Throughout the day, the Hispaniola Symposium&rsquo;s Twitter and Facebook accounts were constantly being updated by a group of volunteers, enabling them to inform and update those interested individuals who were unable to attend the conference in person.<br /><br />Members of the organizing committee are currently working on the publication of their research essays and the conference proceedings, as well as getting ready for their field research trip to Hispaniola.<br /><br />The 16th International Studies Symposium on Hispaniola has recently been chosen to receive the York International 2011 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Internationalization and will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most successful conferences in the Symposium&rsquo;s 16-year illustrious tradition.<br /><br />For full details of the Symposium, the organizing committee and the entire Hispaniola project, visit their website.<br /><br /><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>More about the annual International Studies Symposium</strong></span><br /><br /><a href="http://www.glendon.yorku.ca/internationalstudies/symposium.html">Glendon&rsquo;s Annual International Studies Symposium</a> is a project entirely conceived and managed by students. It was initiated during the 1995-1996 academic year by a group of highly motivated students, eager to deepen their knowledge and experience of foreign countries or regions and the relations between Canada and those countries or regions.</p>
<p><img style="float: right;" src="http://monglendon.yorku.ca/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/files/20110322/ToddKuiack_sm.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="232" /><span class="image_caption">Right: Keynote speaker Todd Kuiack, Canada's Ambassador to the Dominican Republic</span><br /><br />Countries studied so far include Cuba (1995-1996), China (1996-97), South Africa (1997-1998), The European Union (1998-1999), The Middle East (1999-2000), South East Asia (2000-2001), Brazil (2001-2002), Russia (2002-2003), India (2003-2004), The Great Lakes Regions of Central Africa (2004-2005), Mexico (2005-2006), Turkey (2006-2007), Egypt (2007-2008), Venezuela (2008-2009), Iran (2009-2010) and Hispaniola (2010-2011).<br /><br />In 2003, the Russia Symposium received an important national recognition: the Student Leadership in Internationalization Award, assigned by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE).<br /><br />In 2004, the India Symposium received the Award for Excellence in Internationalization from Scotia Bank and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. <br /><br /><em>Article submitted by Tamaisha Eytle, the Hispaniola Symposium&rsquo;s director of media and communications. </em></p>

Published on March 22, 2011