The Washburn Review

Topeka’s Annual India Fest

Anna-Marie Lauppe, Yearbook Editor in Chief

August 19, 2019

India Fest is quickly approaching, and the culture-filled charity event has big plans this year.India Fest is a cultural event which takes place in Topeka annually, and has been a joyful addition to the Topeka community since it started in ...

Celebration of Brazil introduced Brazilian culture

March 24, 2019

International Center of Topeka (ICT) hosted the Celebration of Brazil at Washburn Institution of Technology from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 22. It introduced Brazilian culture with presentations, cultural performances, art w...

United in diversity: Celebration of Cultures in its 10th year

November 22, 2017

Students from over 40 countries reside on Washburn’s campus, and they bring their vibrant cultures with them.Miyuki Nishimura, international club president, emphasized the importance of being exposed to numerous cultures.“I believe that the world would be a little bit more peaceful exposing ourselves to different countries, differents cultures, learning about them and not refusing them,” said Nishimura.The traditions and cultural practices of these international students were on full display at the 10th annual Celebration of Cultures on Nov. 18. Hosted the international club, this event featured informational booths for each student’s home country, stage performances and a fashion show.Ivan Pitsin, junior computer science major, is an international student from Bulgaria, and this was his first year participating in the Celebration of Cultures.“I am glad they organize this event every year,” Pitsin said. “If [students] have a chance to explore the world, Bulgaria is a beautiful country to visit.”Pitsin said that what he loves most about Bulgaria are its mountains, which are ideal for hiking and skiing. According to Pitsin, Bulgaria is the crossroads between Europe and the Middle East which gives it great cultural value.“You can see monuments from different cultures that have passed on that road through the years, [like those of] Alexander the Great or the Roman Empire,” Pitsin said. “There is a lot to see.”Erya Dhepa, freshman computer science major, represented Nepal at the event. She shared a Nepali sweet carrot cake dish at her booth.Dhepa said that Washburn is a welcoming environment for international students.“I think Washburn accepts and embraces all the cultures,” Dhepa said. “We have different international students from all over the world and it’s a diverse university.”The stage performances featured at the Celebration of Cultures included various displays of dance, music and martial arts. The fashion show displayed traditional dress from around the globe. During the show’s intermission, audience members were challenged to learn how to say hello in at least five different languages.The event closed with the entire audience being invited on stage for a group dance to celebrate the unification of all cultures here on Washburn’s campus.Baili Zhang, director of the international program, was happy with the Washburn community’s reception of the event.“I’m glad to report that these students are strongly supported and adored our university and larger communities,” Zhang said.

International community scrambles to end Myanmar genocide

Colleen Kelly

September 20, 2017

In the span of two weeks, a military crackdown in Myanmar has produced over 3000 deaths and 500,000 refugees.According to recent reports dating back to mid-2016 from the United Nations, the southeast Asian country of Myanmar has experienced a spike in violence resulting in what the international community suspects is a genocide.Myanmar is comprised of an 88 percent Buddhist religious majority. The Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, make up a 4 percent religious minority that have faced religious persecution. The Rohingya are relegated to the Rakhine State within Myanmar, an area made up of various religious and ethnic minorities, and make up an estimated population of around 1.3 million.What sparked recent events was the emergence of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a Rohingya insurgent group. In response to centuries of religious persecution against the Rohingya people the government, the ARSA began attacking police outposts in October 2016. The ARSA’s goal is to create a separate democratic Muslim state specifically for the Rohingya people and they claim no affiliation with terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.In response, the Myanmar military began a severe series of crackdowns in January 2017 consisting of torture, gang rape and extrajudicial killings against the Rohingya people, as well as burning down dozens of Rohingya villages.Between January and August, an estimated 400,000 Rohingya people were displaced as refugees, with a death toll of around 1000 at the hands of its military forces. The violence against the Rohingya people has spiked exponentially since Aug. 25. There is now a total estimated 900,000 Rohingya refugees and a death toll of over 4000 Rohingya people per Reuters India.Countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan have seen a massive influx of Rohingya refugees in that two week span. Hundreds of thousands more are trapped on the border between the Rakhine State and Bangladesh under threat of violence from locals in either country should they enter. They are without shelter or long-term food supplies and are being forced to turn to human traffickers or makeshift rafts to escape sea.Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and the country’s current de facto leader, has had a positive standing in the international community. The recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal as well as the Nobel Peace Prize for her pro-democracy movement in Myanmar, Suu Kyi was called upon the UN to allow them to conduct an investigation into the human rights violations.Suu Kyi has remained mainly silent in response to the violence against the Rohingya people and has denied the UN permission to conduct their investigationIn the wake of hundreds of photos and video evidence documenting the military systematically wiping out entire villages, Suu Kyi has denied the existence of a genocide. Instead, she believes that the media is sensationalizing certain events to damage her political career.Suu Kyi’s lack of action to resolve the crisis has garnered much criticism. Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in an open letter to Suu Kyi: “If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep.”It should be noted that Suu Kyi’s position as state counsellor does not award her absolute power. The current iteration of Myanmar’s constitution only allows the military power over defense, police and border affairs. Suu Kyi announced Sept. 13 that she would not be attending the UN General Assembly being held Sept. 20 to address the Rohingya crisis.

Saudi student enjoys technological opportunities

Andrew Shermoen

April 17, 2017

For Meaad Aldarbi, a student pursuing her masters in educational technology, time in America has been all about new experiences. The Saudi Arabian student has had a huge amount of support from friends and faculty members who have helped her get the most from her time in America.Aldarbi is from Jazan, Saudi Arabia and attended and received her bachelor’s degree in history and civilization while attending Jazan University. After traveling to America she went to school at Kansas University but transferred to Washburn in 2014. When she first arrived Aldarbi had the usual struggles of a new person visiting America. “I spoke very little English,” Aldarbi said. “Thankfully the community I came into was very helpful and I joined a group that helped me improve my English.”School and life in Jazan was very different compared to America. Technology isn’t as widespread, the schools are separated according to gender, and alcohol consumption is incredibly taboo. Aldarbi came to America for school because she knew it had the education she was looking for. “There is very little education in Saudi Arabia that is based on teaching people how to use technology,” Aldarbi said. “It is slowly being integrated into the classroom though, and I want to learn how to better use technology and how to teach people it should be used.”Aldarbi has said the greatest thing Washburn has provided her is the multitude of experiences she’s had. In 2015 she and a few other Saudi Arabian women participated in a culture group. She also learned archery, took Zumba classes, and learned how to drive. Many of these experiences are something not easily available for her before Washburn and she is thankful for the opportunity to participate in them at Washburn.Aldarbi has many people to thank for her Washburn experience. Her advisor David Pownell is a faculty member Aldarbi has credited as having a huge impact on her educational experience. “He really pushed me to keep working hard,” Aldarbi said. “When I had a question, instead of just telling me he would often encourage me to use the resources around me to search for the answers.” Through Pownell’s encouragement Aldarbi developed the phrase “Google it” as her new mantra in life for whenever she is looking for answers.Aldarbi has also cited her friend Andrea Velez as someone who has encouraged her and helped her feel welcome at Washburn. “She was swimming teacher and she taught me so much,” Aldarbi said. “She was a great friend and helped increase my understanding of different cultures.”Aldarbi also spent her years at Washburn making new friends, attending weddings, and visiting a favorite ranch destination over three times. Aldarbi graduates in May and is very thankful for her time at Washburn and all that it has taught her.

WU welcomes new international students

Anna Ciummo

January 15, 2016

Washburn, a long-time advocate for the education of international students, has recently welcomed about 40 new students from around the world to campus.The students arrived last week and they come from about 10 different coun...