GRCC launches symposium to commemorate United Nations Day



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


Oct. 18, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is bringing together experts in geography, international relations and political science to commemorate the founding of the United Nations.

GRCC’s inaugural UN Day symposium starts at 2 p.m. Oct. 21. Organizers plan for it to be an annual forum devoted to fostering an understanding of the United Nations’ mission, American foreign policy and political geography.

“Reflecting over the course of the past 68 years, especially in light of the many wars, atrocities and injustices across the globe that have occurred since the U.N.’s creation, it is fair to criticize this international organization for not often enough achieving its goals,” said geography professor Michael DeVivo. "But by the same token, the U.N.’s mission is formidable, and one must acknowledge that despite its failings, there have been many accomplishments.

“Certainly, pursuit of its ideals is an imperative, and commemorating the founding of this international forum compels all of us living in the United States to recognize that concomitant with the privileges of freedom and opportunity is the responsibility of global citizenship.”

The following learning opportunities are being made available to the West Michigan community:

  • 2-3 p.m. — “Plenary Lecture: The Role of Journalism in Post-Soviet Central Asian Countries,” by Dr. Leon Yacher, geography professor at Southern Connecticut State University.
  • 3:15-4:15 p.m. — “Roundtable Discussion: The United Nations: Retrospect and Prospect,” featuring Gordan Vurusic, associate professor of political science at GRCC; Keith St. Clair, professor of political science at GRCC; and Dr. Joel Westra, associate professor of political science at Calvin College.
  • 6:30-7:30 p.m. — “Keynote Address: In Pursuit of Peace: Israel and the Palestinian Authority” by Dr. Yael Aronoff, Serling Chair in Israel Studies and associate professor in international relations at Michigan State University’s James Madison College.
  • 7:30-7:45 p.m. — “Closing Remarks: Global Citizenship and Higher Education” by Michael DeVivo, geography professor at GRCC.

Yacher and Aronoff will also speak on GRCC TV’s “Conversation with a Geographer.” Each is available for media interviews.

The public is invited to all the events, which will be held in room 108 of GRCC’s Sneden Hall, 425 E. Fulton. If you anticipate a need for an accommodation or have questions about accessibility, please call GRCC’s Disability Support Services at (616) 234-4140 in advance of your visit or program participation.

Sponsoring the event are GRCC’s Social Sciences department, the Grand Rapids chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, and the GRCC “Honors” Chapter of the International Geographical Honor Society. For more information about the event, click here.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.