2018 Global Ambassadors Award Ceremony

By Amany Mansor, Global Ambassador from Malaysia

On Thursday, April 26, 2018, the Global Ambassador Programs recognized the contributions of Global Ambassadors (GA) of Penn State Harrisburg at Student Center (CUB) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:25 p.m. Every school year, six Global Ambassadors will be nominated with the following award:

  • Outstanding Leader
  • Diversity Award
  • Outstanding Community Service

Penn State Harrisburg faculty and staff submitted their nominations online. Meanwhile, the Global Ambassadors nominated their fellow members during the general meeting Global Ambassadors on Tuesday April 24, 2018. Usually, only two GA will be selected as the recipient for each category. But, in this school year, 2017-2018, four GA were selected as the recipient for Outstanding Community Service.

The event was hosted by Vanshika Agarwal and Gexi Guo, Global Ambassadors from USA and China. Dr. Kulkarni, the Chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg, officiated the event with the greeting speech. After his speech, we presented a surprise video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEKqT3wyTik&feature=youtu.be to express our gratitude to our beloved chancellor.

Then Ms. Anna Marshall, the Global Education Coordinator, provided the program overview to appreciate how Global Ambassadors have contributed in hosting and organizing over 40 co-curriculum cultural enrichment programs and community connection events of the school year. Then Aiman Ahmad, Pravi Sanke and Temi Famadewa presented global cultural enrichment programs of 2017-2018. Manasi Sathe, also presented Languages and Cultural Training Workshops to faculty and staff. Yimu Pan, Calvin Lien,  and Zamihah Jaafar shared social media of GA program, and Saufi Othman, Beisi Bai, and Ruhi Ranerjee presented community connection activities.

We also acknowledged community volunteers for their efforts and services. Three volunteers were Asian Indian Americans of Central Pennsylvania (AIACPA), International Cultural Exchange (ICE), and Harrisburg Chinese Community. The highlights of this event were the tongue twisters from ten different countries and the special dances – Persian dance by Elham Gholamiazizi, Chinese classical dance by Siyu Li and Indian classical dance by Manasi Sathe and Pravallika Sanke.

In recognition of contributions and supports from 58 Global Ambassadors, Donna Howard, Senior International Student Adviser along with Dr. Kulkarni and Anna Marshall,  presented them with the Certificates of Appreciation. Before the event ended,  Dr. Felicia, Director of Student Affairs and Engagement, gave her closing remarks to encourage Global Ambassadors to continue showcasing the world to our campus community. Lastly eight Global Ambassadors were awarded with the following awards:

  • Outstanding Leader: Ruhi Banerjee and Amany Mansor
  • Diversity Award: Mizuki Yamane and Sherina Mutesi
  • Outstanding Community Service: Manasi Sathe, Verley Valerius, Beisi Bai and Ellie Gholamiazizi.

“Learn More, Think Globally, and Expand Horizons” – Global Ambassadors motto

World Poetry Recital Luncheon 2018

Penn State Harrisburg Global Ambassadors Program hosted its second annual World Poetry Recital Luncheon today, Thursday, April 5, 11:30-1, in W107 (Gallery Lounge), Olmsted. Our Global Ambassadors, Amany Mansor & Sampson Yuan, hosted the World Poetry 2018. As many as seventeen poems were recited in fourteen different languages (Afrikaans, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Kinyarwanda, Korean, Malay, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu, and Yoruba) from various countries by our students, faculty and staff. We posted the following three poems that were crafted by our presenters. They are “Poem about Optimism in Life” (Written in both Arabic and English) by Mariham Beshay (Our Egyptian American student), “Longing For Home” by Hannany Salehuddin (our Malaysian Global Ambassador), and “Dream Keeper” by Angela Larks (our administrative support for the Chancellor’s Office).

Longing For Home

by Hannany Salehuddin

Looking at the hills,

I find myself longing

for the mountains back home

that curve the earth so beautifully.

Looking at the pale winter sky,

I find myself yearning for that warm, familiar ray of sun

that I can be close enough to touch it

and feel the sun warming my bones.

Looking at the dried winter trees,

I find myself longing

for the dense jungle standing gallantly

against the menaces of time.


Looking at the people around me,

I find myself wanting to return

to the friendly chinese coffee shop owner down the street

or the chatty malay fishmonger in the evening market

or the old indian neighbourhood bus driver

To return to a place where we live bagai aur dengan tebing,

like shoots of bamboo by the streams;

peaceful and ever so harmonious.

Though I am far away from home,

I know I must be like the Chengal trees in the rainforests.

Like its branches reaching for the sky,

I shall roam the places I have never been before

and let myself grow

with all the sights and wonders my eyes will see.


Like its roots deep in the ground,

I shall uphold my culture,

tak lapuk dek hujan, tak lekang dek panas,

let it never be ruined by rain nor shine,

instead let my culture be known

like the pride carried by The Kinabalu Mountain.

Alas, let it be known

how badly I miss Malaysia,

the place that I will forever call home.


Dream Keeper

by Angela Larks

Here I go again, another night, I’m buckled in tight
Where will this dream take me tonight!
Someone is chasing me, it’s him again
The man in the black coat, but no face, is reaching for me
I’m running fast but I’m losing the race
Someone wake me, I’m screaming can’t you hear me
Wake me, shake me, take my hand and help me flee

Dreams can be lonely, scary, and take you to unknown places
When I was young I dreamt of a bright future, no sickness, no war, no poverty
No hungry babies, no sad faces
I dreamt of flowers without the rain
Success but without hard work
Even though it’s stated, “No pain, no gain!”
Life not death, love that never hates
Forever young never old
Perky and tight and without folds

Dreams that seem so vague so far, so wide
Another place and another time, why is this taking up so much space in my mind
At night when I close my eyes my future and my past collide
Last night I dreamt of a place and time so long ago
The past is my future but the future is my past
It’s all jumbled up, mixed up, tied up, no flow
Another time, another place, perhaps another person, really was that me…looking back through a window and seeing who I used to be?
Or perhaps looking through that same window at what the future holds
The past is my future but the future is my past
Falling, falling into an abyss, someone catch me, someone wake me
Pull me back from this cold, dark, confusing space

Good morning Sunshine, I welcome you into this place
And darkness, dream keeper like no other, until we meet again
Hold safe my dreams, I know you can and I know you will
I can count on you just like a dear friend
But for now dreams, hush and be still!

Lunar New Year Celebration 2018

By Yimu Pan, Global Ambassador from China

Lunar New Year, one of the most important representations of Asian cultures, has been celebrated for thousands of years. It highlights people’s and families’ future wishes. Based on the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, each year is represented by a different animal. 2018 is the year of dog.

The 2018 Penn State Harrisburg Lunar New Year celebration was held on Friday, March 23, 2018. The event brought together people from different backgrounds, both from Penn State Harrisburg, and the Middletown community, celebrating, and extending well wishes for the new year.

Dr. Robert Crane, the Associate Vice Provost for Global Programs at University Park, and Dr. Felicia Brown-Haywood, the Director of Student Affairs at Harrisburg, kicked off the event with opening remarks. The crowd especially loved Dr. Felicia’s Chinese New Year song which caught everyone’s attention.

After enjoying the delicious food prepared by Royal Buffet and Grill, the first event was a cultural presentation, “Lunar New Year in Korea”, by Dr. Nakho Kim. It was followed by another cultural speech titled “The Unity”, presented by Yukun Yuan, a Global Ambassador from China. These two different perspectives expanded the audiences’ understanding of the Lunar New Year.

Additionally, there were performances which represented both modern and traditional Asian cultures. These performances gave the audience a feel of cultural backgtounds from Mongolia, Korea, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and more. The performances were impressive not only because of their entertaining quality, but also because of the cultural diversity and learning opportunity they provided. A Korean Song “Stay with Me” was presented by a Korean student, PyeongKang Kim and a Chinese student, Xuanrui Zhang. Additionally, Jose Jonhson’s Chinese Martial Art & Wellness Center, a group of local Americans, presented a “Martial Art Demo”. Later on, Chloe Cho and Ye Sung Hwang presented a Korean Church Song “Hallelujah” which illustrated the development of Christianity in Korea. At the end of certain presentations, the audience had an opportunity to win prizes by answering questions. The questions facilitated learning among the audience.

After the performances, there was a fashion show, which was one of the highlights of the event. The aim of the fashion show was to celebrate different types of traditional clothing because clothing is a direct representation of culture. The fashion show was divided into two groups, modern and classic. The classic fashion show participants showed off traditional clothing from their home country while the modern participants showed off their modern style. All the participants were enthusiastic and tried to express their culture to everyone through their outfits. The panel of judges consisted of professors, Global Ambassadors, and community volunteers from different countries. At the end, Consul Wu and Consul Wang from the Consulate General of China, New York, presented the fashion show winners gift cards provided by Royal Buffet.

After the event, a survey was conducted by the Chinese Student Association, that showed that the audience enjoyed the event. Among the performances, the martial art performance and Fashion Show were highly appreciated.

Overall, the event really embodied the essence of the Global Ambassadors program. On one hand, the event gave the audience an opportunity to learn more by bringing out the uniqueness of Asian cultures through presentations, clothing, and food. On the other hand, with the diversity of the presenters and the audience, each person had the opportunity to think globally by remembering that there is a whole world outside of their individual countries, and expand horizons beyond their individual cultures. As different cultures spread and influence each other, people become more open-minded. The presence of a variety of cultures add color to everyone’s life.

Learn More, Think Globally, Expand Horizons” – Global Ambassadors motto.

Global Programs Guest Speaker: Dr. Lazare Sebitereko Rukundwa

On March 23, 2018 from 3 – 4 pm, in the Gallery Lounge (W107, Olmsted), Penn State Harrisburg would be honored to have Dr. Lazare Sebitereko Rukundwa, present on: The Concept of “Us and Them”.

Dr. Rukundwa is a Humphrey fellow and holds a PhD in Theology from University of Pretoria in South Africa. His many accomplishments include being the founder and president of Eben-Ezer University of Minembwe, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, central Africa. He is also a professor of religious and community development studies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Additionally, Dr. Rukundwa is also a founding member of Burundi American International Academy, the Paramedical School Kamenge in Burundi, and the Complexe Scolaire d’Application in Minembwe-DRC. Furthermore, his work spans across many countries as he has been a visiting scholar in several colleges in Israel, as well as at Cornell University, and a visiting professor at Africa Hope University and International Leadership University in Burundi. Additionally, he worked as a consultant for Help A Child, located in the Netherlands, Burundi, DRC, and Rwanda.

In Dr. Rukundwa’s lecture, he will focus on the concept of “Us and Them,” which is commonly used in social constructs of almost every culture on the globe. This is because a culture is local before it embraces its outside world. Globalization is also a tickling term for some but yet heavily influenced and dominated by the culture of the powerful. Cultural exchange as a tool of mutual acceptance and respect can only be meaningful and sustainable in the spheres knowledge sharing. How much your brain brings to the table of negotiation matters. Knowledge sharing is embedded in one’s identity and values that she/he represents. Thus, academic diplomacy can reduce tensions, mistrust and promote dialogue between cultures.

We hope to see you at the guest speaker event in W107 from 3 – 4 p.m on Friday, March 23, 2018!

Read more about the event at http://harrisburg.psu.edu/story/11066/2018/03/16/visiting-scholar-rukundwa-discuss-social-constructs



The History Behind the Colors (Holi Pre-event Write-up)

By Manasi Sathe, Global Ambassador of Penn State Harrisburg

As a senior who is about to graduate in a few months, when I take a walk through the memory lane of college, and notice that some of my most memorable experiences were attending global ambassador events. Whether it was volunteering during Latino Gala, hosting the Diwali event, participating in the Lunar New Year fashion show, or dancing for Holi, the amalgamation of various events has given me and all the students a chance to gain more knowledge about cultural diversity in the world. The Global Ambassadors program has expanded the horizons of many people, by allowing them to think in a cosmopolitan view through learning new languages and customs from around the world. Attending each event has made students more appreciative of the cultural diversity around them, while preserving their own cultural roots.

This year, I have the privilege of being part of the planning team for the 2018 Holi event. Holi, also known as Festival of colors, will be held on March 2nd, 6-9pm 2018 in the Student Center of CUB. It is a Hindu festival observed in Nepal and India at the end of winter season on the last full moon of the lunar month Phalunga. Holi is split into two parts, Holika Dahan and Rangwali Holi. The first stage is celebrated the night before the main day by observing a purification ritual in which logs and dung cakes are burned, representing victory of good versus evil.

Rangwali Holi is the main event, where everyone dances and throws a handful of gulal (color powder or water spray) on each other to signify the harmonization of people of all ethnicities with no barrier of language or religion.  Interestingly, the concept of colors originates from the legend of Radha and Krishna. The supreme deity fell in love with the goddess Radha, but she was concerned with their differences in color, his being blue. As a solution, his mom advised him to playfully paint her face to overcome their differences. Today, lovers continue this tradition to make sure their own faces match gulal.

This year, the Holi celebration will include cultural performances consisting of dances, songs, authentic Indian cuisine, and a chance to play with colorful powder in the courtyard. Attendees will be able to get the whole Holi experience and feel like they are celebrating in India. If you are an Indian international student that misses home and wants to relive your memories of Holi celebrations from India, or if you are a non-Indian student that want to learn more about the Indian Culture and history behind Holi, we welcome YOU to join us! Luckily, It is one day before spring break so all of us can rejuvenate before break and enjoy this festival together! Looking forward to seeing new faces at the event! For more events like this, visit our events calendar.

Note: All pictures featured are Penn State Holi celebration photos (courtesy of Penn State Harrisburg Global Ambassadors Program)


Welcome “Nian” in the United States: A 2018 Lunar New Year Pre-Event Write-up

By Yimu Pan, Global Ambassador from China

Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival and “Nian”年 in China, is one of the most important festivals in many East Asian countries. As its name shows, it is the New Year according to the lunar calendar. In the solar calendar, the commonly used calendar, Lunar New Year falls in the months of January or February, and each lunar new year is represented by 1 of the 12 creatures of the Chinese Zodiac – 2018 is the year of the Dog. As a Chinese person who has celebrated the Lunar New Year for years, I am going to introduce this fantastic representation of Chinese culture from varieties of aspects.

The Chinese word for Lunar New Year, “Nian”年, comes from an interesting story. A long time ago, there was a monster, Nian, coming out and eating people in a village on the New Year’s Eve. Those unarmed villagers had no way of defeating Nian. Coincidentally, an exorcist passed by and he knows Nian’s weakness, the color red. He told villagers to put up red paper on their front door, hold red envelope in their hands, and light up firecrackers. When Nian saw all the red around the village, the monster ran away and never came back. This story not only gives an eye-catching origin of the Lunar New Year in China, but also demonstrates the activities that we still do today. Red is the theme of this festival; People decorate their home with red items. The red paper those villagers put up is now called Spring Festival Couplets. People still hang them up by their front doors and they also have their wishes for the coming year written in couplets on these red papers. Red Envelopes (Packs) have been used for elders to give wishes to children. Red Envelopes are the children’s favorite because they always come with money inside.

Dumplings and Fishes are special foods eaten during the Lunar New Year celebration. Dumplings are also called “Jiao Zi” in China. They are the shape of one type of valuable currencies used in ancient China, which represents wealth. There is a story about the fish. People make a whole fish dish at New Year’s Eve but the fish is not meant to be fully eaten. It has to be saved until the next day. Such custom comes from a Chinese phrase 年年有余 Nian Nian You Yu (May every year ends with ample surplus). “Yu”余 pronounced the same way as fish “Yu”鱼in Chinese and “Yu”余 means surplus. This whole phrase means surplus for every year.

Lunar New Year is the time for family reunions. For financial reasons, countless number of people travel across half of China looking for jobs in cities to support their family back home. Those people work hard for a whole year and finally get a break during Lunar New Year. Millions of people travel thousands of miles to their home during this holiday. After the whole year of separation, they can finally see their children and parents.

Even in America, Many East Asian immigrants and visitors celebrate the Lunar New Year. Most common celebration is people getting together, playing games, watching performances and having a feast. These activities give people the taste of home when they are faraway. This celebration is much simpler than it is back home. However, the emotion that people hold for the Lunar New Year is the same wherever they are.

As an international student from China, this is my first year celebrating Lunar New Year away from home, and I can’t wait to watch performances and enjoy dinner at Penn State Harrisburg. This year, I am excited to be on the planning committee as a Global Ambassador to volunteer for this annual campus wide celebration, which is to be held on Friday, February 23, 6-9pm, in the Student Center of Capital Union Building. We welcome you to join us for the 2018 Lunar New Year celebration!

Note: All pictures featured are Penn State Lunar New Year 2017 celebration photos (courtesy of Penn State Harrisburg Global Ambassadors Program)

Diwali Pre-Event Article – An Outsider’s View

written by Irenitemi Famadewa

I remember, about four years ago, during my freshman year at Penn State Harrisburg, I had the amazing opportunity to be able to experience the beauty and joy of a cultural celebration that was new to me. Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a Hindu holiday that is celebrated in India, Pakistan, Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

My first Diwali, in Fall of 2014, was such a new experience for me. That year, I was invited to be a fashion show judge for the show. I remember getting ready to wear my first Sari (a traditional female garment that involves a lot of draping). The Sari I was lent was SIX YARDS long! I was so confused as to how to magically turn the fabric into the beautiful outfits the other girls had on. Luckily, I had the help of an amazing group of experienced Indian girls that made me ready for Diwali. Then I headed up to event and was amazed at the performances, the music, and the awesome food!

  • Consulting with Marcel, a former GA from Germany, about the fashion show.

Fast-forward two years to Diwali 2016. The Diwali celebration had grown even bigger at this time. In 2016, the event had over 300 attendees and multiple performances ranging from dance performances, musical renditions, a fashion show and good food as always. The student center sparkled with lights and brightly colored decorations that really captured the festival of lights. Last year, I had the great opportunity to participate in the Diwali fashion show where I wore yet another Sari with the help of my friend Taanushree and Nishi, two international students from India. The Fashion show participants were from all over the world. Each participant strutted down runway confidently because of how great the colors of the traditional outfits made them look and feel. It was a great experience of cultural bonding that showed that regardless of cultural background, the language of celebration is universal across cultures.

  • Traditional instrumental performance.

Looking back, as I prepare for my last Diwali as an undergraduate student, I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to the wonderful students, faculty, and community volunteers who have shared this part of their culture with me. Now, equipped with my very own Lehenga (a traditional India outfit), and a pair of Jumka earrings, I am ready to once again celebrate the festival of lights! I hope I see you all at our Diwali celebration, October 20th, from 6-9 pm at the Student Center. The event will be hosted by four Global Ambassadors: Pravallika Sanke, Ever Barillas, Tomi Famadewa, and Manasi Sathe.

Meaningful, Delightful, and Bright

Meaningful, Delightful, and Bright

– Moon Festival 2017 Pre-event Essay by Francesca Angeles

Every year, most countries in East Asia celebrate the Moon Festival – a mid-Autumn, harvest, and thanksgiving celebration held on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Lunar Calendar. From the name itself, we can tell that this festival is celebrated with a full moon watching over everyone but it’s actually more than that. It’s a meaningful, delightful, and bright event that brings together families even from different ends of the world. The Moon Festival, also known as the Harvest Festival, is mostly celebrated in countries and regions such as China, Korea, Hong Kong, Macao, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and Taiwan, but the festivity is growing as people from different countries also observe the Moon Festival even though they are miles away from their homeland.

In a world where geographical boundaries are surpassed by the growing accessibility to travel, it is inevitable for us to see the Moon Festival celebrated all-throughout the world. I interviewed Dr. John Haddad from the School of Humanities and found that he used to live in China and Hong Kong for a total of three years, and he has found meaning in the Moon Festival as this celebration brought together families over a thoughtful festivity. The over 3,000-year Moon Festival tradition is meaningful because it served as a holiday with staying power – so much has become modern but this celebration brings a primal and ancient appeal that reminds us of why we give thanks to the blessings that the universe has showered us. In this day and age, the Moon Festival is observed by many individuals and groups around the world.

Professor Jingjing Cai, also from the School of Humanities, gave insight on the Moon Festival and why it remained a delightful event. As a foodie, her best memory of the Moon Festival is the moon cake. Besides being a delicious Chinese delicacy, its round shape also symbolizes the reunion of families. Eating moon cakes under a full moon easily reminds people of how much they value and long for their families and friends especially during this celebration. The taste of the moon cake is just as delightful as the thought that it brings to those who are reminded of their families during the Moon Festival.

I also talked to one of our fellow Penn State students, Evelyn Bai, who gave her personal insight on the celebration. As an international student, she has not celebrated the Moon Festival with her family for years now and it is really heartwarming to have our Penn State community celebrate the Moon Festival altogether. I love how Evelyn pointed out how the moon serves as the bright light that reminds people of the memories they have shared with their families when they were younger.

A lot of us came from different countries with different cultures and from different walks of life but the idea of thanksgiving and reunion somehow unites everyone especially those who are away from their families. The Moon Festival may be a Chinese festivity but it has become a universal celebration where we can all share a part of ourselves to others so we can make them feel that Penn State is a home away from home.

See you on the 6th of October from 6:00 to 9:00 in the evening at the CUB Student Center for the annual Moon Festival celebration! Four students, Francesca Angeles, Gexi Guo, Mizuki Yamane and Yukun Yuan, will host the evening program. The event is sponsored by Penn State Harrisburg Global Ambassador Program and the Chinese Student Association.

May we connect more people together and bridge friendships in this awaited event!


International Panel Discussion – First Event of the Semester

  • International Panel Discussion Panelists
Welcome new students, old students, and faculty and staff!!!

On behalf of the Global Ambassador program, I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who attended the International Panel Discussion held on August 31st, 2017.

Professor Mohammad Ali, Assistant Professor in Management

The panel discussion was the first Global Ambassador event of the semester and we were pleased to have three professors join three of our outstanding Global Ambassadors on our panel. Our first panelist, Professor Mohammad Ali, from Pakistan is an Assistant Professor of Management. He came to the US to pursue his masters in the early 2000’s. He was able to give a fresh perspective as a professor but also as a former international student.

Associate Professor of Education, Behavioral Sciences and Education

Our second panelist was Dr. Martha Strickland, an Associate Professor of Education. She has taught English in several nations across Africa and Asia. It was a pleasure having her join the panel this semester as she was able to give international students a professor’s view on common problems they face in the classroom.

Siddhi Patel, Global Ambassador from India

We also had Siddhi Patel, a graduate student and Global Ambassador from India who was able to share her unique perspective on successfully completing a dual degree as an international student.

Tosin Adeyemo, Global Ambassador from Nigeria

 We also had Oluwatosin (Tosin)Adeyemo, a graduate student and Global Ambassador from Nigeria who was able to give advise to students pursuing a STEM degree. Additionally, we had  Ye Zhang, an undergraduate from China studying Finance and Accounting who was able to give advise to undergraduate students on the various resources the campus has to offer.

Ye Zhang, Global Ambassador from China

During the discussion, new students were eager to ask questions about changes in education, culture, and social life in the United States compared to their home countries.

Our panelists also shared their stories and encouraged all the students to have an open mind and to never be afraid to ask questions. One common advice the panelists gave was that students should always remember what brought them to Penn State Harrisburg in the first place and to never lose sight of the purpose. Overall, it was an amazing event! Special thanks to all the Global Ambassadors that came out to volunteer for the event. For information about our upcoming events, please check out our Events Calendar.


Throwback – World Fest 2016

by Irenitemi Famadewa

As we head over to the fall 2017 semester, we would like to look back at one the most exciting events of Fall 2016, the World Fest. The World Fest is a bi-annual event hosted by the Global Ambassadors and the International Affairs Association / Rotaract Club. The event is a showcase of the over 50 different countries represented in the Penn State Harrisburg community. The event started with a display board showcase of 50 different countries put together by students, faculty and staff. Each attendee was given a passport and had the opportunity to have that passport stamped at every display board they visited. The event ended with a parade of nations and an amazing array of cultural performances in the newly built Student Enrichment Center. To view more images from this event check out our Facebook Page and Flickr page