The Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR) is committed to creating a campus community that values and supports the cultural identities of each of our members. Through education and training, the Office of Intercultural Relations creates opportunities that develop and enhance internal skills and competencies that foster an inclusive environment. Our programs, activities, and events not only present unique and entertaining cultural experiences and celebrations, but also cultivates a climate of awareness, understanding, and respect of diverse individuals and groups.
As our world population increases, so do the problems of mankind. Unfortunately, as United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan has soberly stated, "the bigotry, hatred, prejudice - these are the ugly symptoms of a sickness humanity has always and everywhere suffered." It is for this reason that Intercultural Relations remains committed to preparing and empowering students to understand, and respect other cultures, and to learn how to move beyond tolerance, which states I won't resist you anymore, and sensitivity, which states I will work at understanding that you have unique needs and preferences, to embrace diversity through education that focuses on individual and cross cultural acceptance.
Old Dominion University is an institution of diverse communities, and it is our diversity that promotes excitement, energy and a creative environment. Yet we must always strive to maintain our competitive edge by ensuring that diversity remains deeply embedded in everything that we do. [...] You will see that this year we presented to the University community awesome programs and events that celebrated our diversity with food, folks, and fun. Most importantly, we created opportunities for meaningful dialogue and authentic interactions that moved us beyond our cultural comfort zones to begin the development of internal skills to foster an inclusive community.
OIR has a mandate to cultivate a climate of understanding and respect that yields authentic interactions with diverse individuals and groups. We invite you to join us in supporting a vibrant and diverse campus by joining those who are committed, cultural agents of change.
The Office of Intercultural Relations strives to fulfill its commitment to students of diverse backgrounds by undertaking the following responsibilities:
- Support competitive and equitable recruitment and international orientation programs.
- Sponsor and support programs/activities which enhance the educational experience and understanding of cross-cultural impact from a global perspective.
- Establish collaborative University partnerships to ensure policies and procedures reflect our commitment to diversity.
- Design and implement critical cross cultural initiatives and programs that promote the celebration of diversity.
- Develop training and cultural modules that focus on the dynamics of social justice.
The Office of Intercultural Relations commitment to creating a university climate that welcomes and values each of our members is evident in our programs, activities, events, and cross cultural trainings. Your unique personality, talents, and abilities are manifestations of humanity. We welcome your individuality and cultural richness that you bring to the Old Dominion University family!
Educational R.E.A.L. Conversation Series and the Human Experience Film Series
As one of the most diverse universities within the region, it is important to have opportunities for diverse groups to engage in meaningful dialogue and interactions that respect and value our unique perspectives. The R.E.A.L. Conversation Series and the Human Experience Film Series are innovative programs that bring students together to explore issues from a global perspective. Over the past three years, more than 1,000 faculty and students have viewed films and engaged in riveting discussions that bring us closer to the different experiences of others.
Diversity Series: Reality Dialogues
Reality dialogue provides opportunities for diverse individuals to discuss issues that impact a cultural group as revealed by panelists/speakers who are part of that group. Topics have included "What is it like to be transgender?" and "Dating Across Racial Lines".
The ODU International Festival is a global extravaganza that attracts thousands of people from the Hampton Roads and ODU communities. This annual event celebrates global cultures by showcasing a diversity of authentic ethnic foods, cultural performances, merchant vendors, and educational stations which highlight more than 48 nations. This unique event has resonated greatly within the ODU student community evidenced by the support and commitment of over 900 student volunteers each year. These volunteers, representing nearly 60 organizations at ODU, handle logistics and oversee more than 40 global activity stations. The festival is free and open to the public.
The Heads of the Family Dinner is an annual event designed to bring together the Executive Boards of student organizations for social connections and to increase collaborative partnerships each fall semester. It is our goal that this event will galvanize student groups to move beyond their cultural frameworks to plan events and programs that bring together diverse student populations.
Intercultural Workshops and Seminars
Understanding ones cultural identities and how it shapes our perceptions and interactions with others is the initial stage of cultural competent development. The Office of Intercultural Relations creates cultural learning workshops and seminars that prepare participants to engage and lead from a culturally competent framework.
OIR welcomes this desired diversity by providing services as well as educational and engaging international programs for international and American students studying at ODU. In addition, OIR enthusiastically seeks to collaborate with current international students, student organizations, and all internal ODU departments, as well as external (community) entities in order to educate and raise awareness about our on-campus international community.
Global Ambassadors are a select group of Old Dominion University (ODU) students, both international and American, who serve as liaisons to the ODU international student community. The role of a Global Ambassador is multi-faceted. Global Ambassadors serve as cross-cultural group leaders during the International Student Orientation and continue to support and engage with international students throughout the academic year. They implement and organize globally focused activities or events that educate and connect domestic and international students at ODU. They also actively participate in international programming and host international visitors on campus.
The Global Monarch Club program provides first-hand intercultural interaction experience for international and American students. The mentors (who must complete an orientation session) assist international students with their adjustment to new and different social, cultural, and academic environs at ODU and in the US. Student mentors are privileged to enjoy a unique opportunity to build diverse skills of leadership, organization, communication, and intercultural relations.
The ISAB serves as a liaison between the international students and the Office of Intercultural Relations by representing the views and concerns of international students. The ISAB provides constructive feedback and suggestions for improving current international programs and services, as well as by making recommendations for new international initiatives.
The intent of the Global Café is to bring together and help bridge the gap between American and international students, faculty, and staff. The entire ODU community is encouraged to attend and engage while enjoying refreshments, authentic cuisine and presentations.
Each week, the Café features a 15-20 minute presentation which introduces an important current international issue, such as: education, politics, people, and countries & cultures. Our Spring 2013 Global Café series included such topics as: Morocco, Ethiopia, and Guatemala.
OIR seeks to partner with international students, student organizations, offices, and departments to contribute by presenting various topics during the café hour. If you wish to be part of the program, please contact us to discuss in more detail.
OIR collaborates with the English Language Center to organize the "Experience America" series. This program is designed to provide an opportunity for international students to connect with Americans through exploration of topics and activities related to life, society, and culture in the USA. Successfully launched in Spring 2011, the series included: All About America, American Football, and American Cooking. The program has received a tremendous response from the ODU international community which has attracted a diverse group of ethnicities and ages, both undergraduate and graduate alike.
The Pathfinder is a document created and maintained by the Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR). The Pathfinder provides information regarding OIR programming and initiatives, Old Dominion University office contact information, a list of student organizations available to join, and memoirs of current international students studying at Old Dominion University.
IEW, the initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, is a world-wide week long celebration promoting and celebrating intercultural and international educational programs in November. OIR executes this initiative via the creation of organized programs designed to prepare students and communities for a global environment.
Our community wide cookout revolves around good food, nice folks, and great fun! Activities involving food, fun, and games naturally foster a sense of community, and inclusiveness which is increasingly important for our students, faculty, and staff as well as their families. Fall 2010 was the inaugural event which welcomed over 600 Monarchs.
Old Dominion University is committed to educating and empowering a workforce of leaders as change agents in a global society. The Office of Intercultural Relations, within Student Enrollment and Engagement Services, supports that objective through its comprehensive programming and services. As the University's influence within the community and nation increases, we strive to work collaboratively on campus towards shaping a more equitable, just and sustainable environment.
Semester-long Institute for ODU students which enhances awareness, commitment, knowledge, and skills towards developing leaders as change agents in a culturally diverse world. The first cohort began in January 2008. Spring semester recruitment begins in October. Fall semester recruitment begins in February.
Advisory council to the Office of Intercultural Relations on programming that identifies and addresses social issues through coalition-building and exploring creative solutions. The SEC is composed of students, faculty and administrators and meets monthly to discuss emerging issues, explore ideas for campus programs, and advocate for positive change in the community and society. The SEC promotes innovation, campus community, social responsibility and student leadership.
AFRICA: Continent Deconstructed
AFRICA: Continent Deconstructed is an opportunity to educate students, faculty, staff and the community about current events and the cultural characteristics of the many countries on the African continent. Through student and faculty collaboration, the event highlights regional and national achievements in Africa in an effort to dispel the stereotypes that often are propagated by news headlines. This annual event includes country exhibitions, presentations by student and guest speakers, round-table discussions, reception and music.
Spark Change Theater
Intercultural Film Forum. Monthly film screening which features independent and documentary films that present and address social issues. SCT is designed to raise awareness, promote intercultural learning, foster understanding, and spark social justice advocacy.
Intercultural Matters Series (IM)
Workshop series focusing on intercultural communication, cultural understanding, intelligence and inclusion via professional and co-curricular development opportunities within intercultural education.
Brown Bag Series
Lecture series facilitated by faculty / graduate students presenting innovative research projects that focus on cross cultural impacts as it pertains to social justice and intercultural systems.
Dialogue on Emerging Issues (DEI)
Informal discussions on emerging societal concerns/activities that affect the campus community. DEI provides a safe environment for exploration of social issues such as unemployment, inequality, education, criminal justice, nutrition, health care, etc. DEI facilitators are campus community members.
The Office of Intercultural Relations offers you a variety of diversity-related resources. Click on the links to explore resources offered by the office. In addition to the online resources presented, the office maintains a selection of books, magazines, DVDs, VHS, CDs, and Wii games. These resources can be checked out at the front desk. For more information regarding our library, please contact our office or visit the Intercultural Center for the most updated listing of current resources.
Serving the Old Dominion University community since 1976, the Women's Center offers programs and services to address the special challenges and opportunities women students encounter related to their personal and academic success. Also, recognizing the critical role that both women and men play in creating a world that is free of gender bias, our goals include promoting healthy relationships and a safe and equitable environment that is free of barriers to all persons. Center services seek to empower all students to achieve their personal, academic and professional potential.
Old Dominion University is committed to achieving equal educational opportunity and full participation for persons with disabilities. The Educational Accessibility office is actively involved in supporting this commitment. EA assesses each student's needs holistically, taking into consideration the individual within the whole university community. If you have a disability, and wish to make Old Dominion aware of this so that we provide services you need, please work with your site director, Military Distance Learning contact, or other campus representative to get started.
Rosetta Stone is the world's leading language learning software. By incorporating sound, voice recognition, pictures, words, and animations, it creates an environment where the learner is immersed in a full-on experience - not learning through drills or memorization. Rosetta Stone is dynamic and fun! OIR is pleased to offer it free to ODU students!