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Join Our Focus Series

Each year, the International Institute coordinates a campus-wide focus on one cultural region of the world or global theme. Launched in January 2004, the Focus Series features films, presentations, displays and performances allowing students and community to explore the culture, politics, economics and history of the featured region and its relation to the rest of the world. Instructors in many departments introduce materials related to the theme, and encourage their students to participate in these varied learning opportunities.

The Series sponsors talks by faculty from colleges and universities, leaders in area community organizations as well as other experts speaking on a wide variety of topics about the focus region. These presentations are videotaped and the DVDs are available to students and instructors at Schoolcraft's Bradner Library.

The Focus Series is supported by a generous grant from the Schoolcraft College Foundation.

All these events are free and open to the public.


Winter 2017 Flyer 

Winter 2017: Environmental Challenges in a Changing World

Environmental Policies in China and How They Impact ​Everyday Lives
Monday, January 30th 10:00am, LA 200 with Professor Yovana Veerasamy

As part of her Ph.D. program, Professor Veersamy is taking a close look at Chinese Higher Education and will be travelling to China in the spring. Her research on China and the environment are a result of academic research conducted at the Midwest Institute for International Intercultural Education (MIIIE) workshops, and several classes in her doctoral program. Professor Veerasamy is an Adjunct Associate Prof. of Political Science and French at Schoolcraft College. Her background is in French Language, Politics and Culture, Political Science and Law. In addition, she has a special interest in world politics and International Education. Flyer PDF

Stoves and Sustainability: Environmental Inroads in Northern Thailand
Friday, February 17th 10:00am, VT 425
  with Dr. Anna Verhoye and Dr. Jim Verhoye
Did you know that worldwide approximately 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal? Did you also know that over 4 million people die prematurely from illnesses attributable to household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels? Dr. Anna Verhoye, college professor and founder of La Paz International, Inc. and La Paz International Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, and, Dr. Jim Verhoye, Director of Education at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee, will share their experiences working in northern Thailand. Their project--building cooking stoves- -is an effort to combat the deleterious effects of indoor air pollution that so many people who live in the developing world deal with daily.

Adaptation and Mitigation Policy for Climate Change
Tuesday, February 21st 3:30pm, LA 200  with Professor Diane O'Connell

The Earth’s climate system is a complex system that includes multiple variables. Recent measurements have revealed several changes to the system that may result in significant impacts to human populations (NASA). Two approaches to climate policy include mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation policy is designed to reduce or slow global temperature increase. One means to reduce potential negative impacts related to climate change is to limit the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) that are introduced to the atmosphere. Successful reduction of GHG may require a complex multi-tier political approach from local to international levels. Adaptation policy includes strategies to adjust to changing climatic conditions. This presentation will examine international, national, sub-national, and local mitigation and adaptation policies. Diane O’Connell is a professor in the Geography and Environmental Studies departments. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Huron River Watershed Council and IMAGIN (Improving Michigan’s Access to Geographic Information Networks).

"Just an Average Day"
Tuesday, March 14th 1:00pm, Forum 530  with Professor Kimberly Lark

This lecture will focus on the global impact of a day in the life of the average American. She will survey the international ecological, environmental and social impact related to the goods we consume in an average day. But, it's not all doom and gloom - she will also leave you with tips on how to easily be more eco-friendly and support international sustainability endeavors in your day to day life. Kimberly Lark teaches History for Schoolcraft College, is the President of the Faculty Forum and Co-Chair of the International Institute. In her free time, she is passionate about supporting sustainability through low waste, self-sufficient and minimalist ways of living, as well as upcycling, and reusing as many materials as possible.

Urban Decline, New American Television, and the Eco-politics of Race
Thursday, April 20th 1:00pm, Forum 530  with Professor Daniel F. Yezbick

Join us for a provocative exploration of the complex intersections of pollution, prejudice, and popular media in David Simon’s issue-driven TV series. From Homicide and The Corner to The Wire and Treme, Simon’s use of social and eco-centered themes has transformed the political potential of American entertainment. From “the War on Drugs” to Hurricane Katrina, these unique shows ask tough questions about the hard truths of culture, climate, and crime in 21st century life. Daniel F. Yezbick is a Professor of English and Media Studies at Wildwood College in St. Louis, MO, where he teaches college and creative writing, literature, Media Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies courses on a wide range of topics.

Focus Regions

  • 2004: Middle East
  • 2005: Latin America
  • 2006: Africa
  • 2007: Europe
  • 2008: East Asia
  • 2009: South Asia
  • 2010: Middle East
  • 2011: North America
  • 2012: Latin America
  • 2013: Russia & Environs
  • 2014: Caribbean
  • 2015: Southeast Asia
  • 2016: Immigration & Immigrant Communities
  • 2017: Environmental Challenges in a Changing World
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