More than 130 people attended the 16th annual International Studies Symposium, “Transcending the Border: Dialogues on the Challenges of Hispaniola”, at Glendon. Canada’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Todd Kuiack (BSc Spec. Hon. ’92), delivered the keynote speech outlining the issues and challenges confronting the two countries on the island of Hispaniola – Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Right: Todd Kuiack
Panellists from York and as far away as Hispaniola were brought in to speak at the March 5 conference about a variety of issues concerning the island. “Transcending the Border: Dialogues on the Challenges of Hispaniola” was student initiated, managed and executed. Topics included language, cultural expressions and religion, gender, development and human rights, ethnicity and citizenship, interstate relations, global dynamics and post-earthquake analysis.
Attendees were treated to an authentic regional lunch provided by Lakay Restaurant, as well as a cultural exhibition and a performance by the Haitian jazz band Groupe Révélation. At the conclusion of the afternoon’s panels, closing remarks were followed by a performance by Toronto-based Dominican performer Carlos Cruz.
Left: From left, the organizers Kathryn Bodkin, Alexandra Verbinschi, Tamaisha Eytle, advising Professor Ramón Victoriano-Martinez, Andrée Paulin, Alexandra Ross and Shareefah René
The implementation of various forms of social media added a new dimension to this year’s symposium. Throughout the day, the Hispaniola Symposium’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.
Right: From left, Kathryn Bodkin, Tamaisha Eytle, Andrée Paulin, Todd Kuiack, Alexandra Verbinschi, Shareefah René and Alexandra Ross
Members of the organizing committee – six international studies majors: Alexandra Ross, Shareefah René, Andrée Paulin, Tamaisha Eytle, Kathryn Bodkin and Alexandra Verbinschi – 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.
The 16th annual International Studies Symposium on Hispaniola has recently won the York International 2011 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Internationalization.
For more information about the symposium, the organizing committee and the entire Hispaniola project, visit the Hispaniola Symposium website.
More about the annual International Studies Symposium
Glendon’s annual International Studies Symposium 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 them and Canada.
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), Southeast 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) and Iran (2009-2010).
In 2003, the Russia symposium received the Student Leadership in Internationalization Award from the Canadian Bureau for International Education.
In 2004, the India symposium received the Award for Excellence in Internationalization from Scotia Bank and the Association of Universities & Colleges of Canada.
Article submitted by Tamaisha Eytle, the Hispaniola symposium’s director of media and communications.