Inaugural Project’s First Focus Will Be On Asia
From K-pop to innovative sustainable technologies, the number of ways countries in Asia have influenced different cultures and the world economy are vast.
That’s why, starting this fall, learning opportunities centered around Asia will be the first focus of Highline College’s new Global Community Initiative. The yearlong global initiative will be implemented for years to come with different global themes each year.
“Asia is an important source of international students,” said Sam Kaplan, director for the Center of Excellence in Global Trade and Supply Chain Management. “It is 60% of the world’s population and increasingly drives the world economy. For our students to succeed, they need to understand Asia and what it means for our world.”
Students, workers, and refugees from Asia with diverse cultures, histories, languages, and traditions have long settled in Washington state and forged local communities while also maintaining connections to their homelands. Until 1965, racist, sexist, and nativist laws barred or limited the ability of Asian people to enter the U.S. and become citizens. For the past several decades, Asians have been the fastest growing racial group in the U.S., largely due to migration from Asia. In the 2018 American Community Survey, about 1 in 10 people who live in Washington state described themselves as Asian and over half were not born in the U.S. The Asian population is even higher at Highline College, and they are similarly diverse in terms of ethnicity, nativity, religion, citizenship status, language, and income.
Highline’s Global Community Initiative will offer a variety of events, programs and learning opportunities to guide students in critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, effective communication, information development, community and social responsibility, and in developing global perspectives in an increasingly interconnected world.
The Global Programs Strategic Planning Committee sought to help Highline students, staff and faculty engage and interact with the complexities of living in a global society in an effort to build community. The initiative will also help the college integrate and institutionalize diversity and globalism throughout the college, a core theme and pillar of its strategic plan.
“During a time of social distancing, and yet when so many issues our world faces are transnational, it is a perfect time to launch such an initiative,” said Michael V. Pham, Vice President for Administration, who also serves on the Global Initiatives Leadership team. “Highline College is the most diverse community college in Washington state and one of the most diverse in the country. It is also located in a region where so many jobs are connected internationally, so our students are primed to benefit from this initiative.”
This year’s initiative, called Global Community Initiative: Asia will highlight the college’s partnership with Vietnam, as the country is playing an increasing role in international trade and supply chains. Not only has Vietnam won praise for its efforts to contain COVID-19, but the college has a budding relationship with a variety of partners in Vietnam. In September 2019, the Highline College-based Center of Excellence in Global Trade and Supply Chain Management worked with Global Programs to conduct a successful study abroad program there. Highline College has also opened an office in Ho Chi Minh City (see video below).
This year’s Global Community Initiative will also examine many countries in Asia, their impact on the world and various social, environmental and economic issues related to the region. Asia is a large and diverse region of the world with many countries and cultures, all of which impact our region and college in one way or another.
“For all these reasons and more, focusing on Asia is an excellent choice for the inaugural global theme,” said Jenn Ritchey, Highline’s program manager for Global Co-Curricular Programs.
But this work can’t be done alone. The planning committee is looking for internal and external partners to advance the mission of Global Community Initiative: Asia. To get involved, contact Jenn Ritchey.