CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: May 3, 2000
UI International Programs honors groups' cross-cultural
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two University of Iowa programs
and a local elementary school's after-school foreign language program are
the winners of the annual Mariko Mizuhara Awards for Cross-Cultural Understanding,
given by the UI Office of International Students and Scholars, part of International
The UI American Indian and Native Studies Program
and Office of the State Archaeologist won the award for jointly developing
an archaeological field school to teach students how to carry out excavations
while being sensitive to Native American concerns. The UI English as a Second
Language (ESL) program won for its efforts to connect international students
with local residents, including elementary students, senior citizens and UI
education students. And the Longfellow Elementary School After-School Foreign
Language Program won for its commitment to cross-cultural understanding among
parents and students through the teaching of Japanese and Spanish.
The awards are given annually to individuals or organizations
who have developed a new and innovative program, demonstrated cross-cultural
understanding, sought to build ties of involvement among diverse groups on
campus and in the local community, and/or helped to educate others about diverse
populations. The program or project needs to have a connection to or an effect
on the UI or Iowa City community.
The awards, each of which includes a $200 prize, are
given in memory of Mariko Mizuhara, a Japanese student who was a music major
from 1988-1992. She died unexpectedly in 1992. Her parents, Shunji and Noriko
Mizuhara, established a memorial fund for the awards.
The UI archaeology field school project, carried out
in Western Iowa during summer 1999, brought student archaeologists into direct
contact with American Indian people by inviting guest speakers to the school
and taking the students to several reservations in South Dakota and Nebraska.
Larry Zimmerman, who directed the program, said this approach "showed students
that Native people live in the contemporary world and that the pasts archaeologists
build affect Native lives. For Indian people, it showed that archaeology is
interested in who they are, not just who they were." He added that the program
will use the $200 award to give a partial scholarship to a Native student
who will participate in this summer's field school in Northeast Iowa.
The UI ESL program has established links with several
local elementary schools, the UI College of Education, and the Iowa City/Johnson
County Senior Center in order to provide opportunities for ESL students to
interact with native English speakers of all ages. The ESL students were matched
with elementary school pen pals to exchange information about their respective
cultures. UI students preparing to become teachers met
weekly with ESL students for group discussions to share cultural information
and break down stereotypes. And ESL students studying the Great Depression
met with senior citizens to learn about their experiences during that time.
In nominating the Longfellow program, Darin Henry,
a parent, wrote that it "gives opportunities to young children in our community
to learn languages and study in our own community about diversity on local,
national, and international levels." The program involves UI foreign language
students as teachers and invites people from Japan and Spanish speaking countries
to share information about their food, music, dance or other cultural traditions.
The award will be presented to representatives from
each program during the International Programs Graduation and Global Scholars
Celebration May 12 from 10-11:30 a.m. in the International Center Lounge.