Each year since 2010, Queens College has offered cultural and academic programming focused on a different nation or region (China, Turkey, India, Brazil and South Africa). Named the “Year of” program, this initiative reflects Queens College’s mission to serve and educate our college community about today’s global world. The Year of program is particularly relevant because our students hail from more than 150 nations and attend a college not only located in one of the most diverse counties in the United States but also positioned within the premier public university in New York City.

The Year Of program has the following overarching goals:

  • To offer campus-wide activities on global topics related to the area of focus, which appeal to the broad membership of the campus community; these activities include but are not limited to academic lectures, music events, art exhibitions, dramatic events, and student-led events.
  • To provide faculty members with opportunities to present their work and network within their areas of expertise as they relate to the area of focus.
  • To provide students who have heritage relations to the area of focus with opportunities to learn more about and develop a sense of pride in their heritage.
  • To contribute to existing collaborations with local entities (museums, historical societies, non-profit institutions, etc.) by providing expertise in the area of focus.
  • To develop new connections or strengthen existing connections with universities, colleges and non-profit institutions in the area of focus.
  • To develop new and strengthen existing collaborations with international partners such as universities, colleges and non-profit institutions.

In the 2015-2016 academic year, the area of focus is the Silk Roads, routes that linked the civilizations of China, Central Asia, West Asia, and to a lesser extent, Europe, for much of pre-modern history, starting as early as the second century BCE if not earlier. Their cultural significance can hardly be overstated and their political influence has received much attention. Today, industry has revived these overland routes as a faster alternative for shipping electronics from European markets to China and other products from China to the West. [1] And recently, China has put in place plans for an ambitious land-and-sea-based economic corridor along the contemporary Silk Roads. [2]

Year of Silk Roads will explore the rich and diverse cultures along the Silk Roads through programs on culture, history, politics, society, economy, ethnicity, art, literature, science, music, and film. As a critical part of our programming, we will engage local ethnic communities with historic ties to this region, and include their perspectives in our survey. We will also feature the innovative work being done by Queens College students and faculty in areas along the Silk Roads.

Various types of programs are included in the yearlong program line-up. Some are content-rich lectures that, in some cases, supplement the existing curriculum at Queens College. Others are focused on cultural experiences, some created by faculty, others by Student Life, others by students clubs, and yet others by individual students with guidance by faculty members who are interested in specific topics. As the year unfolds, programs will be added.  Among these will be programs explaining late-breaking events that take place along the Silk Roads.

 


1 Riding the New Silk Road, The New York Times
2 China’s Big Plunge in Pakistan, New York Times Editorial