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One of the SAAGE student projects exploring multiculturalism in Latin America.

Apr 25 2013

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ICA is proud to announce that the Center for Latin American Studies’ (CLAS) public engagement program, the Stanford Academic Alliance for Global Enrichment(SAAGE), was one of three Stanford community partnerships to be honored by the university’s Office of Public Affairs with a 2013 Community Partnership Award. The award recognizes and celebrates the valuable partnerships between Stanford and its community neighbors.

Each year, the Center for Latin American Studies organizes SAAGE, which brings high school students from Pescadero and East Palo Alto to Bolivar House where they take classes with Stanford affiliated faculty on topics relating to Latin America, such as colonization, migration, and urbanization. 

“The students gain a broader knowledge of their own heritage,” said Public Engagement Coordinator Molly Aufdermauer. “They are learning more about the real Latin America, not just Latin America as it is portrayed in the media.”

Several other centers within ICA are also actively involved with a variety of public engagement projects that benefit the surrounding community. 

Just this year, the Center for South Asian Studies (CSA) introduced a new program in coordination with the Boys and Girls Club of East Palo Alto to teach a group of fourth grade students about South Asian culture in a fun and interactive way. 

“It’s a way to have a positive impact and give back to the local community,” said Bernadette White, CSA's Outreach Coordinator who led the group in an activity that taught them about a variety of South Asian foods.

In addition to this burgeoning program, CSA also continued its annual Giving Tree program with Maitri, a San Jose based organization that works with South Asian immigrant women affected by domestic violence. During the holiday season, CSA collects gifts from the Stanford community to donate to Maitri’s clients.

“It was fantastic to see the gifts pouring in for these women in need,” said Sangeeta Mediratta, Associate Director of CSA.

In late February and early March, the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies provided grants to over 120 high school students from Monterey, San Jose, and Pescadero to visit an international art exhibition which was on display at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center. Curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum(London, U.K.), the Jameel Prize: Art by Islamic Tradition included ten artworks that represent contemporary interpretations of traditional Islamic art. 

“The field trips aimed to offer the high school students an opportunity to engage with contemporary Islamic art and also to draw connections between the global and the local art practices,” said Dr. Burcak Keskin-Kozat, Associate Director of the Abbasi Program. “In fact, one of the groups created their own tile designs inspired by artwork included in the exhibition. ”

ICA's very own Stanford Human Rights Education Initiative (SHREI) is another way the division connects with community. SHREI is a four-year collaborative project between California community college educators and Stanford University to develop human rights education in community college classes.  On June 8, SHREI will be hosting its annual symposium where attendees will discuss, share, and learn about teaching human rights in a wide range of world areas, academic disciplines, and classroom settings.

Each of these programs offers a valuable experience for everyone involved, both inside and outside of Stanford. What they all have in common, however, is the use of public egagement to bridge the gap between these two worlds.

“We’re always looking for ways to create an exchange of ideas between the Stanford community and the world outside of Stanford,” said Kim Rapp, ICA Executive Director. “Developing these types of partnerships benefits us all.”