The World Comes to SLU for ATLAS Week

Originally Posted on The University News via UWIRE

ATLAS Week is here at SLU, and students, faculty and organizations are gearing up for the numerous events that will be happening around campus.

ATLAS Week was started in 2001 in order to highlight the international aspects of SLU’s mission and curriculum and to shed light on many challenges and issues that face communities all over the world. Departments across campus and many student groups hold events to foster discussion about international issues and to educate students on their role as a global citizen. Michelle Lorenzini, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at SLU and director of Atlas Week, sees this as an opportunity for students to start seeing themselves as active participants in changing their world for the better. She tells the Unews, “I hope students will be inspired to effect change and be empowered by seeing other students who are already doing it.”

The entire campus will be getting involved. There are photo and art exhibitions in the CGC, and an exhibit in Pius Library, highlighting international cultures and issues that ATLAS Week will focus on. Grand Dining Hall will be joining in on the fun with Aramark International Cuisine week, co-sponsored by SGA. Every day during ATLAS Week, a different menu will be available in the dining hall, spotlighting different countries and cultures each day.

There will also be many speakers here at SLU during ATLAS Week. This year, the keynote speakers for ATLAS week are Milton Ochieng, M.D., and Fred Ochieng. M.D. These accomplished brothers from Kenya attended Dartmouth College and after graduating from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, began working on a mission to build a clinic in their home village of Lwala, Kenya. They accomplished this goal in 2007, and the Lwala Community Hospital has been ranked as the highest performing health facility in western Kenya. They have been given numerous honors across the country and have been featured in countless media outlets for their work. Currently, Fred is a cardiology fellow at Saint Louis University, and Milton is a gastroenterologist with the BJC Medical Group at Progress West Hospital in St. Charles, Missouri. They will be speaking about their incredible work and story on Thursday, April 12.

Along with the keynote speakers, there will be many events for students to take advantage of. One of them is the Coffee and Conversation Series sponsored by Political Round Table. These events are opportunities to hear from faculty members here at SLU and discuss issues such as health and crime in St. Louis, immigration and international politics. They will be held on April 10 and April 12 in the CGC.

Other events during this busy week include an Interfaith Prayer Service at College Church; Stylin’ around the World: The Awakening of Cultures through Fashion; a showing of the award-winning documentary about the Ochieng brothers’ work, “Honoring a Father’s Dream: Sons of Lwala;” and other discussions and seminars.

ATLAS Week’s main goal is to educate students on the issues the global community faces and how to get involved in being a responsible global citizen. Each day, there are several seminars, discussions and interactive exhibits. One such experience is “Outcast: Life as Refugee,” being held each day in the BSC. This is an interactive exhibit sponsored by SLU Amnesty International, Muslim Student Association, Middle Eastern Student Association, OneWorld and CAIR-STL. During the exhibit, students will face actors and simulations of the experiences refugees face during a crisis.

Among the other educational events include seminars on Public Health in West Virginia, Global Health Politics, a workshop on Human Trafficking, Hijab Awareness Day Tabling by the Muslim Student Association, ACLU Legal Observer Training and The Experiences of Saudi Students at SLU, just to name a small sampling of the countless events going on all week.

Along with the educational discussions and seminars, there will also be showings of documentaries and films that highlight international issues and events and some that will hit very close to home for SLU Students, such as “Men in the Arena” which tells the story of Saadiq Mohammed, a Saint Louis University soccer player and his friend Sa’ad Xussien, who were able to overcome their struggles in their home country of Somalia to come to the United States.

ATLAS Week’s annual culminating event is the Billiken World Festival. The Festival will feature performances of different cultural music and dance as well as booths for education and service, among other things. There were also be diverse food options representing different cultures. The Festival kicks off with the Parade of Nations, where SLU students carry flags from around the world down West Pine.

The full calendar of ATLAS Week events is available online at and is posted around campus on the red ATLAS Week posters. There is a discussion, film, activity and educational opportunity for everyone at SLU during ATLAS Week, and it would be a shame to miss the incredible opportunities for learning and growth that will be available next week.

Read more here:
Copyright 2018 The University News