Lessons from refugee communities, skateboard cultures, and Andean agriculture to be shared by WWU students on May 21
On Monday, May 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center (1220 Bay Street) will host a presentation by three Fairhaven College students who each spent last school year traveling and learning internationally. Their projects focused on refugee communities in Greece, farming practices in the Andes mountains, and skateboard cultures in Guangzhou, China, Cape Town, and Seoul.
The three presenters, Alia Taqieddin, Zi Zhang, and Grace Coffey, are students at Western Washington University. They were recipients of Fairhaven College’s Adventure Learning Grant in 2016-2017. This grant allows three students annually to challenge their perspectives, enrich their education, expose themselves to intellectual risk, and help embody challenge and adventure as integral to a Fairhaven education. Grantees receive a $20,000 stipend to travel internationally.
Alia Taqieddin is in her final quarter at WWU. She is a student of Community Health, and is currently completing an interdisciplinary concentration at Fairhaven College. This quarter, she is student-teaching a Fairhaven course entitled “The Syrian Refugee Crisis.” Alia was awarded the Adventure Learning Grant for the 2016-2017 school year to explore community health and resistance to occupation in the West Bank of Palestine. After having to change her plans unexpectedly, she lived and worked in central Athens alongside an international community during what has come to be known as the European Refugee Crisis. Despite being in a geographically different location than her original proposal, Alia found that resistance, home, and memory still emerged as central themes throughout her months in Greece.
Zi Zhang’s interdisciplinary concentration is called “Urban Sustainability” and focuses on Urban Planning, Design, and Global Issues. He engaged in participant observation of skateboard cultures in Cape Town, South Africa, Guangzhou, China, and Seoul, South Korea.
Grace Coffey is a Fairhaven and Huxley student studying agriculture and Urban Planning (but not urban agriculture). She has devoted much of her life in Bellingham battling blackberries in the Outback Farm and has journeyed through some corners of the world volunteering on farms. Her other very varied interests include bread baking, ceramics, blues dancing, housing issues, Harry Potter, trees, and climate justice. Over the course of a year, Grace traveled down through the Andes Mountains. In Medellin, Colombia, she experienced the city’s innovative urban planning while volunteering in informal settlements. She lived in a rural isolated community on the border of Ecuador and Colombia for three months, teaching English and learning about rural economies and agriculture. In Chile, she experienced urban planning and life in Valparaiso, then lived and worked on a small dairy farm. Finally, in the high mountains of Peru, she was welcomed into indigenous Quechua farming life.
The presentation is open to the public. For language interpretation and disability accommodations, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-734-0217.
The Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, located at 1220 Bay Street in downtown Bellingham, works to create a voice for peace and social justice in Whatcom County through partnerships with local community and religious organizations, direct action, public witness, and education on alternatives to violence and war. We call on our government and society to disavow policies of violence and seek a culture of peace.
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