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Taylor Symposium to focus on role of language in cultural understanding

January 24, 2017

As a nation of immigrants, the United States is one of the most diverse societies in the world. Yet history and modern times are rife with examples of cultural misunderstandings that stand in the way of a truly integrated society. Language is the key to overcoming moments of difficulty, facilitating the transition of new Americans and bringing harmony to our remarkable mosaic of cultural traditions and experiences.

The 2017 Joseph T. Taylor Symposium at IUPUI will offer participants the opportunity to explore the Indianapolis landscape -- made up of 120 nationalities and 90 languages.

The symposium, titled "It's not foreign. It's U.S.," will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Campus Center.

"The Department of World Languages and Cultures is honored to organize the Taylor Symposium," said Kathryn Lauten, a lecturer of French. "Since we last hosted the symposium in the 1990s, Indianapolis and the U.S. have seen many changes and developments in our cultural fabric, the successes of which hinge on intercultural communication. We look forward to this day of panels and discussions as we take a look back, ground ourselves in the present, and plan for a future of understanding and community."

A luncheon keynote address will be presented by Kim Potowski, professor of Spanish in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She will discuss "No child left monolingual: Why and how to make the U.S. more multilingual." The luncheon will also include the presentation of the Joseph T. Taylor Excellence in Diversity Awards by Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar.

Community participants include:

  • Martin Baier, president and chief executive officer, The International Center
  • Ali Haddad, housing manager, Exodus Refugee Immigration
  • José Lusende, certified fundraising executive and consultant
  • Kyle Long, host of WFYI's "Cultural Manifesto" and NUVO columnist
  • Marina Hadjioannou Waters, chief operating officer, LUNA Language Services

IUPUI faculty in the program include:

  • Tamara Cabrera, assistant professor of Spanish and translation studies
  • Enrica Ardemagni, professor emerita of Spanish
  • Didier Gondola, professor and chair, Department of History
  • Amira Mashhour, senior lecturer and director, Program in Arabic
  • Jing Wang, associate professor of Chinese studies
  • Marta Antón, professor and chair, Department of World Languages and Cultures

The 2017 Taylor Symposium is presented by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI in partnership with the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Additional partners include the IUPUI Office of International Affairs and the Spirit and Place Festival.

The annual event honors the late Joseph T. Taylor, the first dean of the School of Liberal Arts, for his many contributions to the university and to the greater Indianapolis community. The event highlights topics of interest to urban communities, particularly communities of color.

Morning symposium sessions, held in the theater on the lower level of the Campus Center, are free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested.

The noon luncheon will take place in Campus Center Room 450. Luncheon seating is limited and requires registration and prepayment. Luncheon tickets are $35 each if purchased by Feb. 2, and $40 after Feb. 2. Organizations are also invited to become table patrons for the luncheon, at a rate of $550 for a table of 10. For additional information, visit the Taylor Symposium website.

Symposium guests are also welcome to attend IUPUI's International Festival the day before the Taylor Symposium, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Campus Center. The festival will offer attendees and students a chance to explore international opportunities on campus and in the Indianapolis community and will provide free food, international entertainment and prizes.

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