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Queens College learns from the Year of Brazil

Walking around Queens College, colorful posters and multicolored flags adorn the campus. That’s because this year, Brazil was chosen as part of QC’s Year of Initiative.

To show the college’s dedication to global education, each year QC focuses on the diverse contributions of a specific country. During the 2010-2011 academic year, QC focused on China. For the 2011-2012 academic year, QC learned more about India and for the 2013-2014 academic year, QC will be focusing on Brazil, the largest country in both South America and Latin America.

“The Year of initiative is designed to make our campus more globally aware . . . The ‘Year of…’ programs also lead to making new — or strengthening existing ones — with institutions abroad, expanding our exchange and study abroad programs for students and faculty,” according to Eva Fernandez, the assistant vice provost and faculty member in the linguistics and communications disorders department.

This means that throughout the year, QC will celebrate Brazil’s accomplishments in the fields of art, music, dance and history.

The events are intended to be fun for students to engage in, but it seems that the advisory committee for the Year of Initiative have a larger objective at hand, which is to construct a universally conscious community at QC.

“I personally would like QC students to explore the rich, diverse and yes, fun facets of Brazilian culture, but also be aware of its long history of battling for economic development, social justice and democratic government. Also, to become acquainted with the similar struggles for equality and equity and how many of these experiences serve as interesting parallels to their local experiences here in Queens,” Jorge Alves said, Brazilian native and assistant professor of political science.

Amy Chazkel, who is currently teaching in Brazil,  has lived there on and off for many years and has a PhD in Brazilian History. She shares a similar view but with a greater emphasis on learning about countries abroad on a steady basis.

“I am thrilled that Brazil’s immensely rich and diverse culture and history is receiving attention and that college resources are being devoted to the study of Brazil; we only hope that this institutional interest will be followed up with continued devotion to the study of Brazil after the 2013-2014 academic year is over,” Chazkel said.

Alves Filho, a Brazilian artist based in the city of Salvado, Bahia is the artist of the flag that hangs near Virgina Frese Hall. He came up with the logo to represent both Brazil and QC.

“QC has a very diverse student body. I was looking for a logo that could be easily associated with the country, even by those not very familiar with Brazil,” Filho said.

The green, yellow and blue are vibrant colors that displayed on the flags around campus as well as Brazil’s flag. The colors are also symbolic of the macaw, a native bird found in Brazil’s forests.

“I hope students can easily relate and feel the Brazilian warmth when they see the logo,” Filho said.

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