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Santa Monica College Presents Citizens of the World  

By Ann K. Williams

January 7, 2011 -- Santa Monica College wants to give its students more than degrees and good jobs, college administrators say. It wants them to take their places as active members of a world community.

And in keeping with that ambition, a variety of programs with topics ranging from the pollution of the planet's seas to Chinese Lunar New Year to international costumes and racial stereotyping in Hollywood will divvy up $20,500 in “mini-grants.”

“We’re very pleased with the interesting mix of project proposals that we believe will further embed global citizenship into the student experience at SMC,” said Pete Morris, Faculty Leader for Global Citizenship.

“The range of projects that are planned demonstrate the diverse and passionate vision our professors have for integrating issues of local and global concern into the curriculum and extracurricular life of the college.”

The awards come from the Global Citizenship Council, a special fund set up in 2007 by the college's Board of Trustees.

Representing the sciences, biology professor Garen Baghdasarian plans to give his students a chance to study the effects of plastic “micro-pollutants” in the oceans up close, in field studies. He also wants to share what he knows with the community at large at special events.

New Years means different things to different people. Counselor Kathy Flynn, along with librarian Brenda Antrim, wants to use her award to create lunar new year displays, including an altar display representing Japanese Girl's Day, otherwise known as “Doll's Day.”

And four departments will zero in on Hollywood, with its global reach and power to affect our imaginations.

The Dance, Music and Theatre Arts departments will produce “Feast your Eyes on the Flavors of Hollywood: A Taste of Egypt, India, Germany, Austria, France, Africa and More,” a performance by actors, singers and dancers featuring original Hollywood costumes.

Besides reveling in gorgeous fashion, The Broad Stage production will address stereotyping during “the Golden Age of Hollywood.”

And English professor Hari Vishwanadha plans to invite author Yunte Huang to give a lecture on his book "Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective."

"Students should find [Huang's] critical examination of Charlie Chan's role in American culture quite interesting, as it raises issues of racial stereotypes and the ways in which minorities negotiate the complex and variegated cultural landscape of the U.S.," Vishwanadha said.

These are just a few of the grant-winning programs SMC faculty and staff have dreamed up to broaden their students' horizons.

The awards support classwork, lectures, performances and displays planned for the Spring and Fall semesters at SMC.

For more information, go to


“The range of projects that are planned demonstrate the diverse and passionate vision our professors have for integrating issues of local and global concern." Pete Morris

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