Weeklong event honors diversity of student body

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Singer, songwriter, educator and researcher Parfait Bassalé is headlining Portland Community College's 11th annual International Education Week.Singer, songwriter, educator and researcher Parfait Bassalé is headlining Portland Community College’s 11th annual International Education Week from Tuesday, Nov. 12, to Friday, Nov. 15.

The weeklong celebration of culture and diversity titled, “The Whole World Sings,” is part of a national campaign set by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to bring awareness of global education and international education issues. It is open and free to the public.

With more than 700 students from 90 countries, PCC’s international students make up a large and important demographic at the college and in the community. International Education Week celebrates their contributions to the community and the importance of cultural awareness.

“It’s our week,” said Da Hyun Kim, a PCC international student from South Korea. “It is about all of the people from outside the U.S. and a time for us to be appreciative and proud of our cultures. There are a lot of people who aren’t originally from America here. So it’s time to think of their background and history, and at the same time learn about other countries. America is a melting pot, and it’s a week that celebrates it.”

During the week, Bassalé will visit each PCC campus to speak about his life experiences and his research on his song-centered approach to education. He will perform several of his original songs in these interactive workshops.

Bassalé lives in Portland and performs and creates curriculum for students, educators, counselors, mentors and community leaders.

Born in Benin, in West Africa, he began using music to process his emotional states as he faced challenges related to migration early in life, including language barriers, cultural differences and integration.

His workshops will be held: 1-3 p.m., Tuesday, Event Center, Rock Creek Campus (17705 N.W. Springville Road); 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Fir Room, College Center, Sylvania Campus (12000 S.W. 49th Ave.); noon to 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, Great Hall, Southeast Center (2305 82nd and Division); and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15, Room 03, Student Center, Cascade Campus (705 N. Killingsworth St.).

All workshops are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, visit

Other Highlights

Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth,” Documentary and Discussion — This is a 30-minute documentary that explores the role United States allies Rwanda and Uganda have played in the humanitarian crisis there. Analysts in the film examine whether U.S. corporate and government policies contributed to and exacerbated the instability in the heart of Africa.

The film screening will be followed by a discussion featuring PCC Congolese students. Coffee and tea will be served. Offered from 3:30-4:30 p.m., Tuesday at the Cascade Campus, Student Center, Room 3, 705 N. Killingsworth St.

“Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World” Film Screening and Discussion — This film, part of the Muslim Journeys collection (a set of books and films available at each PCC campus library), introduces art in various forms, from calligraphy to palaces, and serves as “a window into Islamic culture.” A panel of PCC and Portland-area experts will provide insights and discussion. Held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday in the Sylvania Campus Performing Arts Center, 12000 S.W. 49th Ave.

"International Fashion Show — Come learn about the cultures of the college’s diverse students at the Rock Creek Campus. This year’s talent show will feature documentary video clips of students who will describe similarities and differences between the U.S. and their countries of origin. Several students will also represent their countries in traditional attire. Set for 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, in The Forum, Building 3, Rock Creek Campus, 17705 N.W. Springville Road.

Student Development in Spain and Morocco — Travel vicariously through Narce Rodriguez (Rock Creek’s dean of student development) who will share her experiences in Spain and Morocco. Hear about what she learned and how she is integrating it into her work at PCC. From 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 15, in Room 102, Building 3, Rock Creek Campus.

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