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Globalization at BMCC and Beyond

Alex D'erizans, Social Sciences and Human Services, and Cynthia Wiseman, Developmental Skills

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Geographic Information Science (GIS) is a new Associate in Science degree program at BMCC. A rapidly growing field in the scientific and technological sectors, GIS develops and uses information science in order to address the challenges of geography and earth science. Professors Ching-Song D. Wei (Computer Science), Yan Chen (Computer Information Systems), Patricia Mathews-Salaza (Social Sciences and Human Services) and Paula Saunders (Social Sciences and Human Services) spoke about this new degree program at BMCC’s 2nd  Globalization Day on April 29, 2013.

Globalization Day gave BMCC faculty and staff opportunities to participate in activities and conversations concerning global issues. The event, entitled “BMCC: A Path to the Global Community,” was spearheaded by The Globalization Faculty Interest Group, co-chaired by Prof. Alex d’Erizans (Social Sciences and Human Services) and Prof. Cynthia Wiseman (Developmental Skills). 

Globalization Past and Present

Globalization is not a new phenomenon of our present world. It has a vibrant past history of its own, according to Prof. Erik Freas (Social Sciences and Human Services). Prof. Freas’s presentation, “Globalization – Not a New Phenomenon: The Case of the Ottoman Empire,” provided an in-depth historical investigation of the processes and impact of centuries-old globalizing trends throughout the Ottoman Empire.

Letty Eisenhauer (Counseling and Advisement Center) brought the scrutiny of globalization to our present day with her talk, “Citizen and Illegal Immigrant in the Same Family.”  Eisenhauer reflected upon the often problematic impact of U.S. President Barack Obama’s deferred action program for illegal immigrants. 

Within the economic sphere, current globalization processes always cultivate winners, as well as losers. This was the focus of the presentation by Professor Mohammad Solemanyi (Social Sciences and Human Services), entitled “Labor Conditions in China.”

Prof. Dorothea Coiffe (Library) demonstrated and explored visual and textual art of the Islamic world in her presentation, “Reflections on Islamic Thought and Art.” Professor Coiffe called upon event participants to grapple with selected excerpts from two books, Islamic Arts by Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair, and Rumi: Poet and Mystic, edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson. She also presented clips from the DVD entitledIslamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, directed by Rob Gardner, and produced by Unity Productions Foundation, 2011. 

Prof. Coiffe’s presentation was an outgrowth of a NEH/ALA grant that she received in January 2013, Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys. Through this grant she gained access to a collection of books, films, and a database, compiled with a view to familiarizing the American public with Islam and the cultural heritage of Islamic civilizations around the world. The collection intended to address both the need and the desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources regarding Muslim beliefs and practices, as well as the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.  

A Culture of Global Citizenship at BMCC: Globalization Faculty Interest Group

The conceptual foundations for BMCC Globalization Day 2013 began with the Globalization Faculty Interest Group (FIG). The Globalization FIG, co-chaired by Prof. Alex d’Erizans (Social Sciences and Human Services) and Cynthia Wiseman (Developmental Skills), was established in 2009 within the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (CETLS).

Members of the Globalization Fig foster a culture at BMCC promoting perspectives vital for energetic engagement with a fast-changing and dynamic world. We host periodic lectures and roundtable discussions aimed at raising awareness of the world as an integrated system of promise and peril. The FIG is meant to animate members to personal and social action in order to secure a livable and sustainable world within which we serve as empowered and assertive global citizens.

Our Spring 2013 program began with an intense reflection upon, and scrutiny of, the multiplicity of definitions and implications of globalization. We examined and debated commentaries from the American political and social critic Avram Noam Chomsky, the Swedish author and historian author Johan Norberg, and the Hungarian-American businessman and philanthropist George Soros. In March, Professor Mohammad Soleymani (Social Sciences and Human Services) presented his article, “The Heavy Price of Globalization,” before the FIG, and subsequently spearheaded a discussion of the often ambivalent byproducts of global integration.

Through such activities, members of the FIG cultivate a culture of global citizenship at BMCC, and by doing so, hope to enable and encourage us all to forge our own meaningful place within an increasingly interdependent world.      

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