From anthropology to public health, from business to theatre, there is scarcely a department or program at Temple that does not engage in some form of international inquiry. Now in its seventh year, the Global Temple Conference highlights that diversity by showcasing the university’s range of international programs and creative ventures.
This year’s event, held Nov. 14 in the Howard Gittis Student Center, was designed to demonstrate the many ways that Temple and Philadelphia’s multiethnic communities reflect broad global connections. Titled “Global and Local: Temple’s Dynamic Mix,” the conference featured student and faculty projects focusing on worldwide issues, with more than 100 individuals presenting posters and films or participating in panels and creative performances.
One presentation that truly embodied the conference theme was “Intercultural Collaboration for Disaster Relief: Making Fukkatsu no Uta (The Song of Rising).” Panelists Jack Klotz, a School of Media and Communication (SMC) associate professor; Naoko Masuda, former SMC senior web developer; and Vince Leonard, a music producer and orchestrator; discussed the creation of the song and video developed in the wake of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that devastated parts of northeastern Japan. The project incorporated more than 100 people throughout the production process.
Planning committee member Erin Palmer, director of Study Away Programs in the School of Media and Communication, said that many of this year’s conference presentations stemmed from students’ experiences abroad.
Senior religion major Dan Mokris created a poster called "Dhrangadhra: Signs of the Divine” as a way of making sense of the month he spent in India studying worship rituals in homes and temples. Mokris says that the other students in his program studied everything from public health to music, which gave him a perspective apart from his discipline.
“Everything I encountered had significant religious meaning,” said Mokris. “I wanted to present today as another way of giving my experiences tangible meaning.”
Like Mokris, many students participated in the day-long symposium as a way of framing their experiences abroad within the context of Philadelphia.
Nicole Gigliotti, a junior public relations major with a spanish minor, studied abroad in Rome last spring. Her presentation, "Rome vs. Home," compared the two cities, highlighting similarities such as the architecture of the pantheon and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
“Normally people focus on what is different about a place,” said Gigliotti, “But when I was there I found a lot of parallels between Philadelphia and Rome.” Gigliotti said she wanted to showcase the similarities in the hope that others would approach new places in the same way.
The conference was better attended than in prior years, said Palmer, perhaps in part due to the inclusion of a keynote speech by Peter Watson, former chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Titled “The Next President’s Greatest Global Challenge: Preventing Conflict in Asia/the Pacific as Consensus for U.S. Regional Leadership Erodes,” the lecture kicked off the conference at 9 a.m. and was followed by a series of presentations throughout the day. The conference concluded with a reception for participants and attendees.
The Global Temple Conference is organized by the Faculty Senate International Programs Committee and the Office of International Affairs and is supported by schools, colleges and programs across the university. It is one of many events organized nationally as part of International Education Week, Nov. 12-16.