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Past Events

Africa  |  Central Asia  |  East Asia  |  India  |  Latin America/Caribbean  |  Middle East  |  Russia/Eastern Europe  |  Western Europe

All past programs were developed in conjunction with educators from the requesting school and volunteers from Indiana University. The programs below reflect the variety of topics that we could possibly cover, however, due to an ever changing volunteer pool, ISIS may not be able to offer these exact programs below in the future.


Adinkra Cloth: Handstamped Art of Ghana
Former IU African Studies Outreach Coordinator and ISIS Programming Coordinator Suzanne Gott presented this program at the request of Turkey Run Jr/Sr High School teacher Charles Schlotman as part of an innovative curriculum unit he designed for his three 7th and 8th grade art classes. Suzanne, who spent a year in Ghana researching the country textile arts, showed students slides of how adinkra cloth is made and in what social contexts this special cloth is worn. She also discussed the meanings of adinkra designs and illustrated the importance of symbolism in the arts of Ghana.

Development Issues in Ghana was a program developed by Cathedral High School teacher Sara Koehler for her 12th grade Social Justice course. This hour-long program featured Takyiwaa Manuh, a faculty member of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana and an IU Anthropology doctoral candidate. Ms. Manuh gave some background information about herself, as well as her native country, and the hour was passed in an informative question and answer session. Issues discussed included such things as teen culture, attitudes towards education, attitudes towards the United States and the influence of American culture on a developing country, and differing cultural perspectives on beauty. Ms. Manuh, Ms. Koehler, and the class learned a lot about American and Ghanian culture from each other.

Music of Zimbabwe was developed by Dr. Betty Dlamini, an Indiana University language instructor, for a 6th grade music class at Westmont Hilltop Middle School in Pennsylvania. The students shared a song that they had learned in Swahili. Dr. Dlamini shared background information about herself and then answered students’ questions about life in Zimbabwe. Dr. Dlamini also taught the students a new song in the Zulu language.

Swahili VideoClick here to watch a program clip on Swahili!
(Video length: 00:02:27)

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Central Asia

The Peace Corp Experience in Mongolia
This program was developed by Matt Johnson, a graduate student at Indiana University and returned Peace Corp Veteran for home-school students visiting Fresno Pacific University in California. Students and home-school parents learned about what Peace Corp does, the importance of community service and about daily life in Mongolia. Matt shared pictures of the people who he met and the yurt in which he lived. The students had plenty of questions for Matt, both about his job in Peace Corp and the Mongolian people.

Poverty in Uzbekistan
This program was developed by Aaron Platt, a graduate student at Indiana University, for a World Culture class in Amelia High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Aaron shared his first-hand knowledge of Uzbekistan from his time working and living there. Students incorporated what they learned through this program into a wider project based on the premise “think globally, act locally”.

Peace Corps VideoClick here to watch a program clip on the Peace Corps Experiences in
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan!

(Video length: 00:02:52)

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East Asia

Japanese Earth Sciences
This program was presented by Michiru Tomida, an IU geology graduate student from Japan. IU’s East Asian Studies Center developed this program at the request of teacher Carol Whitaker, to assist in the preparation of Southmont Junior High School’s Academic Quiz Bowl team. Michiru, who specialized in geophysics and plate tectonics, was well-suited to tutor the team on East Asian earth sciences. She introduced team members to the basics of plate tectonics and its influence on the active volcano and earthquake profile of the Japanese islands. She used the document camera to show illustrative graphs and newspaper photos of the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Michiru also guided students to two informative websites on volcanoes and earthquakes.

Tai Chi
The East Asian Studies Center and ISIS presented a Tai Chi Interactive Video Program for 7th grade students at Lebanon Middle School. The program presenters were four members of the IU Tai Chi Club. Prior to the program, two introductory Tai Chi readings were sent as preparatory/supplementary materials to Lebanon M.S. seventh grade team leader Mary Shirley. The interactive broadcast focused on teaching the students some basic Tai Chi movements. The four presenters first introduced and demonstrated the Tai Chi movements before having the students try the different Tai Chi moves themselves. Students learned individual movements and Tai Chi exercises that are learned in pairs. As the program progressed, the students learned about the importance of Tai Chi in Chinese daily life and as a school physical education activity. They also learned about the differences between Tai Chi and other East Asian physical movement philosophies.

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Culture and Politics in India
This program was developed for Bridgeport-Spaulding Middle School in Michigan. Prakash Kashwan and Manjari Singh jointly developed this interactive program specifically for 7th grade Social Studies classes. The presenters discussed how India’s democratic system functioned and how it contrasted to the system in the United States. They also discussed how India is not a homogenous society and the plurality of cultures across the country.

Indian Culture VideoClick here to watch a program clip on Indian Culture!
(Video length: 00:02:16)

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Latin America/Caribbean

The Codices of Mexico: A Window to Pre-Columbian Culture in the Americas
IU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies(CLACS) developed the Codices of Mexico program to introduce students, grades 5-12, to pre-Columbian culture in the Americas. This outreach project, sponsored by the Indiana Humanities Council, was designed and presented by CLACS faculty and graduated students. Visiting professor Refugio Nava of Mexico presented the first of three Codices to the 7th grade Latin American study group at Lebanon Middle School. In this engaging, hands-on introduction to the Codices as cultural history, Refugio demonstrated how history can be told without words. After discussing the Codices and their origins in pre-Columbian Mexico, the Lebanon students had the opportunity to experience Codices-making and reading firsthand. Students were given ten minutes to make their own 3-page codex in order to communicate one of three topics: daily life in the U.S.; the national anthem; or a personal biography. Upon completion, another student ‘read’ the codex to Refugio and the class. By making and interpreting these mini-codices, students learned how Mexico’s pre-Columbian civilizations used images to record and preserve their cultural history for future generations. Refugio’s energetic and engaging presentation provided a stimulating introduction to the now world-famous books of ancient Mexico.

Holidays of Puerto Rico
Alex Badillo, Indiana University graduate student, presented on Three Kings Day to an advanced level high school Spanish class in West Salem, Ohio. The program was conducted primarily in Spanish and the students had the opportunity to practice listening, speaking and reading in Spanish. Alex shared Puerto Rican traditions surrounding Three Kings Day and shared family photos. Students also listening to carols sung during the day’s festivities.

Brazilian Rain Forest VideoClick here to watch a program clip on the Brazilian Rain Forest!
(Video length: 00:01:41)

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Middle East

Middle Eastern Foodways Program
Majd Al-Mallah, Outreach Coordinator of IU’s Middle Eastern Studies Program presented an ISIS program on Middle Eastern Foodways to Lebanon Middle School’s 7th grade Middle Eastern study group. This was a hands-on presentation in which Majd took the students step-by-step through the process of preparing hummus, a classic Middle Eastern food typically eaten for breakfast on Friday, the Islamic weekly holy day. This interactive food preparation program marked an ISIS first. As Majd went through the steps for making hummus, two teams of Lebanon students followed along – squeezing lemons, chopping garlic, and blending it all with tahini and chickpeas. The students were able to see close-ups of Majd at work through ISIS use of an auxiliary video camcorder. At the end of the process, the students were able to taste the results of their labors and ask Majd questions about daily life in the Middle East. As the program concluded, teacher Mary Shirley was confident that this interactive hands-on program had succeeded in preparing the students to make this Middle Eastern dish for the International Food Court at their school’s spring World’s Fair.

Middle East Religions VideoClick here to watch a program clip on Middle East Religions!
(Video length: 00:02:19)

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Russia/Eastern Europe

Hungarian Gypsy Music
IU’s Russian & East European Institute and Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center joined together to co-sponsor this interactive program. It was broadcast to 7th graders participating in Lebanon Middle School’s annual World Fair, directed by 7th grade team leader Mary Shirley. The program presenter was Eva Kiss, an IU graduate student in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies. Prior to the broadcast, Eva sent preparatory materials and audiocassettes of gypsy culture and musical performances. Evaluations received following the program showed that students had really enjoyed the presentation.

Leadership Change in Russia
Dr. David Ransel, Director of IU’s Russian and East European Institute, delivered a Russian History program that focused on the dynamics of leadership change. This program was presented to Mike Martin‘s 9th and 10th grade students at Indiana Children Christian Home. Dr. Ransel used photographs and videos to stimulate student interest. He concluded the presentation with a question/answer period, in which the ICCH students asked Ransel about the major issues that are engaging Russian studies scholars today.

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Western Europe

Celtic Music
This program was developed for Pre-K students at Ebenezer Elementary in Georgia. Mary Hennessy, a graduate student from the West European Studies Center shared with the students her presentation on Ireland and Irish culture in the Unites States. They learned about Celtic music and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations both in Ireland and the USA.

European Union Issues in France
Visiting scholar at the EU Center, Nicolas Jabko, discussed how France navigates issues within the European Union with a high school French class in Indianapolis, Indiana. Students were able to practice their French language skills while learning from an expert in the field of European Union studies. Students also had a variety of questions about politics within France including immigration issues, national identity and upcoming elections in France.

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