Global Vision Week 2017

Iowa Arts CouncilGrand View created Global Vision Week to offer students, faculty, staff and the community opportunities to encounter belief systems, heritages and perspectives that differ from our own. The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of others, ourselves and our relationship to the world.

Global Vision Week is supported, in part, by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

Sharing Stories of Immigration and Belonging

This year’s topic focuses on increasing our awareness of immigrant and refugee experiences. The week’s activities will engage our minds to better understand immigration in Iowa and the world. 

For Global Vision Week 2017, we have organized events that offer breadth and depth in understanding our immigrant nation. We have also sought to bring in multiple disciplines and fields of knowledge and invite community members, both off-campus and on-campus, to feel a part of this important week.

See the various presentations below for Global Vision Week 2017.

Monday, October 16

Albert Ravenholt Visiting Scholar Address
Three Lies and a New American Truth
Speaker: Sayu Bhojwani, Ph.D., Founder and President, The New American Leaders Project
Time: 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
Location: Johnson Wellness Center, Sisam Arena

Dr. Bhojwani's talk will address three key myths about American identity that get in the way of building an inclusive democracy. Focusing on how to transform institutions for today’s America, Dr. Bhojwani will challenge the audience with some calls to action so we can build a democracy that works for the America of today and tomorrow.

GV Student Leadership Luncheon with Dr. Sayu Bhojwani, Ph.D. (by invitation only)
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Prairie Meadows Plaza View Room (SC201)

Stories from Somalia – Storyteller Dekow Sagar
Time: 3 - 4 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Principal Conference Rooms A & B (SC135/136)

Dekow Sagar is the author of Life in Exile: The Untold Story of Civil War and Refugee Life. The author shares his fascinating tale of growing up in a rural village in Southern Somalia, his terrifying escape from the civil war in the 1990s, and his life in the United States after being resettled.

To Catch a Dollar: Mohamed Yunus Banks on America
Screening of Documentary Film
Time: 6 - 8 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Speed Lyceum (SC103)

This film tells the story of the success of Grameen Bank and its impact in the US. Its founder, Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Prize, is known as the father of microcredit loans in Bangladesh. The film follows the journey of two women borrowers in the US and the changes their lives undergo over the course of a year. Working with borrowed money for the first time, they begin to realize their own potential and the power that comes with it. This is the inspiring, logic-defying yet true story of one man's idea, a strange new kind of bank, and the millions of lives it changed.

Members of the Solidarity Microfinance Program and Dr. Ryan Anderson, Department of Business, will be present for discussion following film.



The Future of Iowa Leadership: How Iowa’s past and present encourage and inhibit immigrant leaders
Time: 7 - 8 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Viking Theatre (SC500)

Facilitator Rob Barron

Join us for an interactive discussion on the path to civic engagement for Iowa immigrant communities.  Stories of first, second and third generation Iowans who have held elective office will be shared. Current Grand View students will also share the barriers they see to greater civic engagement from their communities. This event is open to the entire Central Iowa community.

Tuesday, October 17

The Feminist Resistance in Colombia – Carol Rojas
Time: 10 - 11 a.m.
Location: Student Center, Principal Conference Rooms A & B (SC135/136)

Join us and learn directly from Carol Rojas on popular education and intersectional organizing in a dynamic of escalating violence in post-accords Colombia. Carol is an organizer with the Feminist Antimilitarist Network, a grassroots organization in Colombia, recognized for its popular education model that supports demilitarization and eradication of systems of oppression based on sex, class and race.

Carol is on speaking tour with Witness for Peace, a politically independent, nationwide grassroots organization of people committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience. WFP’s mission is to support peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing U.S. policies and corporate practices that contribute to poverty and oppression in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Refugees in Iowa - Building Bridges Beyond Borders Panel Discussion
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Speed Lyceum (SC103)


  • Alyssa Clayden, Lutheran Social Services
  • Zeljka Krvavica, DHS-Bureau of Refugee Services
  • Claudia Kyalangalilwa, Catholic Charities

Moderator: Heather Brady

The state of Iowa has a long history of welcoming refugees from around the world. Tai Dam, Burmese, Bosnian, Vietnamese, Hmong are just some of the cultures represented by refugees that have moved to Iowa. Many of these individuals and families arrive with little to start their new lives. To succeed, it is often necessary to access the assistance of social service agencies. Panelists will discuss services available to refugees, obstacles preventing the utilization of services, and approaches to increase accessibility.

Student Study Abroad Experiences
Lunch and Learn Round Table (with participation from Grand View students)
Time: 12 - 1 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Irv & Elizabeth Ibsen’s Valhalla (SC207A)

Moderator: Dayne Logan

Grand View Students will discuss their personal study abroad experiences. They will tell stories about the lessons they learned and challenges encountered while living in other countries.

Teaching in Critical Times: A Philosophy of Engagement Round Table Discussion
Time: 2 - 3 p.m.
Student Center, Speed Lyceum (SC103)


  • Kevin Gannon, Director, CETL, Grand View University
  • Kevin Lam, Department of Urban and Diversity Education, Drake University
  • Emily Shields, Director, Iowa Campus Compact and Adjunct Instructor, Grand View University

Panelists will discuss some ways classroom learning is shaped by the contexts, culture and histories teachers and students bring into the classroom. We will focus on ways teachers are shaped by their social identities and personal experiences outside the classroom, and philosophical approaches that can empower us to work against biases so we can make schools a place for students to explore equity and justice for themselves and others.

Empowering Refugee Youth: Voices from the Field Panel Discussion
Time: 3 - 4 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Speed Lyceum (SC103)


  • Sam Gabriel, Genesis
  • Nancy Mwirotsi, pi 515
  • Henny Ohr, EMBARC
  • Christina Sibaouih, Iowa College Aid; Refugee Resource Center

Moderators: Tiffany Berkenes and Veronica Ouya

Panelists will discuss their strategies for empowering youth and families to navigate their new homes, successes and challenges in overcoming barriers to social services, and methods of encouraging and challenging youth and families to become self-advocates.

Interfaith Potluck Student Interfaith Group
Time: 6 - 9 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Principal Conference Rooms A & B (SC135/136)

During this interfaith potluck, students, staff, and faculty will gather together to bridge the religious gap through diverse cultural food and lively conversation. There will be religious trivia, international religious music, and photographs of amazing faiths that exist today.

The Quest for HomeLand and Security: Storytelling Workshop with Akwi Nji, Director of The Hook
Time: 6:30 - 8 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Viking Theatre (SC500)

Akwi Nji will work with students to examine the various layers of what it means to adopt the literal land and cultures of a new country while maintaining the traditions of the homeland. This theme leaves room for students to address feelings of being an outsider in a land that should feel like home. We'll certainly play with metaphor and symbolism of "home" and "land" or "earth" and soil. I find that immigrants and refugees carry within them vivid memories of the land from which they come as those memories are steeped in the senses and sensory memory is most powerful. This will leave room to address, in their works, the sense of struggle—internal as well as external—allowing participants to pay homage to their original homes.

Wednesday, October 18

Immigration and the Global Business World
Lunch and Learn sponsored by the Modern Languages Department
Time: 12 - 1 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Irv & Elizabeth Ibsen’s Valhalla (SC207A)


  • James Arnold, Lasersoft II
  • Janice Arnold, Cartuchos Lasersoft
  • Monica Hanson, Retired Pediatrician
  • Saed Ibsais, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Don McCormick, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Linda Sabic, Keller Williams
  • Bret Sikkink, Knotion
  • Clemen Wilcox, Clemen Wilcox & Associates LLC

Participants will go around the room sharing personal stories about traveling/studying abroad, culture shock, and surprising commonalities.

"And who is my neighbor?" Faith and Immigration Panel Discussion
Time: 1 - 2 p.m.
Location: Luther Memorial


  • Erica Johnson, American Friends Service Committee
  • Dr. Mohamed Khan, President of Masjid an-Noor Muslim Community Organization
  • Vern Naffier, Retired Lutheran Pastor

Moderator: Angela Larson

Panelists will hold a dialogue about the connection of faith to issues of immigration, speaking about the ways their personal faith commitment or the faith of their organization has led them to work on behalf of immigrant communities.

DIY Immigration – Then and Now
Presentation by Rasmus Thøgersen, Executive Director of the Museum of Danish America
Time: 1 - 2 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Speed Lyceum (SC103)

Thøgersen will give an overview of the historic immigration from Denmark to America and comment on the drastically different—and occasionally similar—conditions facing modern-day immigrants. The facts will be combined with personal observations on being a recent immigrant in charge of a cultural heritage institution that is dedicated to telling these stories.

Out to Africa: The Philosophy of Life after Death in African Religions
Presentation by Dr. Ahmadu Baba-Singhri, Grand View University

Time: 3 - 4 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Principal Conference Rooms A & B (SC135/136)

Professor Baba-Singhri will discuss diverse religious practices in Africa, comparing traditional religions with Christian and Muslim practices.

Stories From the Tai Dam Community Panel Discussion
Time: 4 - 5 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Speed Lyceum (SC103)


  • Som Baccam, Nationwide Insurance
  • Theresa Backham, American Enterprise Group
  • Toni Minard, Independent Marketing Consultant
  • Bopha Mom-Baccam, Freelance Make-Up Artist
  • Dinh Van Lo, Des Moines Public Schools

Moderator: Dr. Matt Walsh, DMACC-Urban Campus

Participants will discuss the challenges their community has faced over time and the success strategies they have developed. They will focus on their experiences of the journey and arrival in Iowa, as well as the traditions refugees carried with them. Finally, they will give their impressions of the kind of leadership that has emerged over time.

Spoken Word Performance: Speak Up, Speak Out
Grand View Poetry Club and Akwi Nji, Director of The Hook
Time: 6:30 - 8 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Viking Theatre (SC500)

Come hear our own Grand View students read and perform their original poems at the Speak Up, Speak Out Poetry Slam. This will be a dynamic night of sharing cultural and personal insights. So join us!

Thursday, October 19

World Food Prize Address
Tackling Malnutrition with Bio-fortification: Challenges and Opportunities
Speaker: Maria Isabel Andrade, Ph.D., Senior Sweet Potato Breeder for SSA and Asia, International Potato Center
Time: 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Speed Lyceum (SC103)

An estimated two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiency globally. In looking for solutions to this challenge, breeders began improving the Vitamin A content of the sweet potato by the process called bio-fortification. There are opportunities and limitations of bio-fortification as an approach to address malnutrition. With the introduction and conventional breeding of the orange flesh sweet potato and its carefully designed outreach and nutrition programs, over two million households in 10 African countries have started cultivating and consuming this bio-fortified crop.

Creating Community in the Art Classroom (by invitation only)
Presentation by Visiting Artist William Estrada
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:50 p.m.
Location: Rasmussen Center 112

Educator and Visiting Artist William Estrada from Telpochalli Elementary, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Arts Partnership in Education and Urban Gateways will meet with Art Education students to share his approach to creating a welcoming classroom environment that serves as a community for all students. 

Immigration Justice: a Case Study in Ally Arts-based Responses in Des Moines.
Presentation by Darcie Vandegrift, Department of Sociology, Drake University
Time: 1 - 2 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Principal Conference Rooms A & B (SC135/136)

Drawing on El Sistema and the use of classical music in social justice work in Latin America, the Minuet MANY Unity Rally created a local response to anti-immigrant militias in Iowa. The challenges and possibility of arts-based civic advocacy will be discussed in this session.

GV Community Family Photo Shoot
Visiting artist William Estrada
Times: 2 - 4 p.m. - Students and Staff, 4 - 5 p.m. - Faculty and Staff, 6 - 8 p.m. - Community
Location: Student Center, Outside - entrance by the welcome desk (in case of rain, lobby by the welcome desk)

Educator and Visiting Artist William Estrada from Telpochcalli Elementary, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Arts Partnership in Education and Urban Gateways will collaborate with students from Design and Art Education classes to break down the walls between campus and the surrounding community as part of Global Vision Week. Free portraits will be taken on campus for students, staff, faculty, and the greater community. The images will be part of an art installation in the Student Center’s Unity Point Center for Student Engagement (the hallway outside the Principal Conference Rooms) from October 22-29. The images will be given to all participants at the closing reception on Sunday, October 29, 1 -3 p.m.  

Multicultural Poetry Reading
Heather Derr-Smith, Anasia Sturdivant, and Paul Brooke will be performing for the multicultural reading.
Time: 7 - 8 p.m.
Location: Student Center, Speed Lyceum (SC103)

Derr-Smith's first book, Each End of the World, was published in 2005. The poems are about the 1991-1996 wars in the former Yugoslavia (Yugoslav Wars), where Derr-Smith volunteered in a refugee camp in Gašinci, Croatia in the summer of 1994.

Anasia Sturdivant is a performance poet, who became involved in Ames Poetry Revival, secured sponsorship of the Ames Public Library and ACCESS assault care center. Her interest in social work and activism make her poetry meaningful and memorable.

Paul Brooke has published three books, most notably Sirens and Seriemas: Photographs and Poems of the Amazon and Pantanal. His poetry focuses deeply on nature and culture, as he travels the world learning about indigenous peoples.

Each poet will read for 20 minutes. After the reading, there will be refreshments and a book signing. Please stay around to ask the poets questions on their performances.

Friday, October 20

What It Means to Be Muslim and an Immigrant in America
Presentation by Abshir Omar
Time: 12 - 1 p.m.
Location: Humphrey Center, Rodholm Room 

Abshir Omar, Somali refugee and Des Moines City Council candidate, will speak about being a Muslim in America today and tell the story of how he came to this country as a child to escape the Somali civil war. He is President of the Iowa Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and active in Des Moines as a community leader and businessman.

October 2-27

Photo Exhibit: Danish Children Growing Up American
Photographs from the collections of, and presented by, the Danish American Archive and Library (DAAL)
Location: Library, 1st floor south window area and the Student Center, Prairie Meadows Photography Gallery (SC200)

This traveling photographic exhibit walks visitors through the world of Danish immigrant children at the turn of the 20th century. The panels feature 50 photos showing various stages of a child’s life at the time, from infancy to their early teens. Among other things, the exhibit shows immigration, both to and from Denmark, children at play, the clothes and costumes they wore, life on the farm, religious life, and education. Although the photos depict Danish children, their experience is universal among immigrant children then, no matter what their nationality. In fact immigrant children today are still experiencing some of the same or even greater challenges that these earlier Danish children faced.

Download full Schedule

Have a Question? I Can Help.

Dr. Heather Brady
Global Vision Week Coordinator