We strongly believe that adopting a broadly humanistic and global perspective on the issues that confront our world today is an important means of preparing students and faculty for a complex and intricate future, with issues, concerns and opportunities that are unprecedented. We know that in order to address the needs of our societies and communities in the future, we will need a deep understanding of our global interconnectedness.
The interdisciplinary work of the global humanities makes possible this deeper understanding, putting a premium on people’s lives and the ways that mutual appreciation of cultural differences and similarities shape our realities.
Speaking the language of other cultures enriches experiences abroad, and studying texts in the original language provides students with the powerful tool of cultural connection. Montgomery College offers a number of world languages, to which the Global Humanities Institute has added a course in Hindi.
Service Learning provides students and faculty with opportunities to put course learning to practice through field work of various kinds. Likewise, assigned fieldwork enhances and supports student learning in the classroom. The Global Humanities Institute’s agenda includes an exploration of possible sites for student service assignments that are relevant to the study of global issues in the humanities, both in our local area and abroad. In this way we will create resources both to our faculty now and to potential faculty and student travelers in the future.
Here are just a few of the possible service learning opportunities that are available:
- Free Minds Book Club—book club and writing workshops with incarcerated youth. Possibilities include a common global humanities-themed reading and subsequent writing exercises for MC students and inmates during which participants can communicate virtually or face-to-face. Another need of the organization is for writing feedback on inmates' work. This could be a faculty service learning opportunity.
- World of Montgomery—county sponsored fair in October which includes information tents for El Salvador, India, China and Ethiopia. County organizers need assistance in researching and developing substantive information on each country, publicizing the event through social media networks and interviewing visitors to the tents.
- The Kid Museum—organizers are creating a child-friendly museum focusing on international science and service.
- The Gilchrist Center—Montgomery County's official welcome center for newly arrived immigrants. Possible needs include FR and SN interpretation of relevant immigration reform information, distribution explanation of information at community events, educate MC community about reforms and their impact. Students would be trained at the Gilchrist Center.
- International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Social Services, Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc., African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation—All four organizations serve the international refugee community in various ways. Needs include assisting refugees seeking employment with interviewing skills, establishing meet-ups or social hours for fellowship and language practice, creating oral histories projects with refugees, creating writing projects with refugees, raising awareness and collecting household goods on campus for newly arrived refugees.
- El Cuenco—local organization that fundraises for education and health care services for children in El Salvador. Students could research need and organize a fundraiser to provide for that need.