'Focus on Asia Week' kicks off today

Starting next week, numerous free activities hope to promote understanding of Asian cultures and issues.

"Focus on Asia Week" is a weeklong celebration of Asian history, culture and the contributions of Asian nations.

Jae Park, director of Far East Programs said the week can be characterized as "a variety of exciting activities which seek to introduce Asia and its cultures to the Ball State and Muncie communities."

"This event opens your eyes to the whole view of Asian cultures and gives you deeper knowledge of cultures not already familiar to you," said Carissa Herr, president of Ball State's Asian-American Student Association.

With guest speakers traveling from distant nations and high-profile speakers such as The Honorable Wei Ruixing, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago, "Focus on Asia Week" requires determined work to prepare for.

"I understand that the Asian Studies Committee has been working very hard to make this a special experience," said Geri Rosales, vice president of AASA.

In order to promote understanding of unfamiliar cultures, "it is encouraged for all people to attend these events. It's really about sponsoring a more culturally aware community," said Sam Phomsavanh, AASA treasurer.

According to Judy Motley, program coordinator for the Far East Exchange Program, the various activities of Focus on Asia week reflect many academic disciplines including health, architecture, music, art, economics, as well as the cultures and current global issues.

"In light of the events of Sept. 11, it is of the utmost importance to provide our campus and community the opportunity to experience other cultures," Motley said.

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