Put-in it Out There

Ever since the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, there has been plenty of speculation of Russia getting involved in elections. Yes, multiple elections. Recently in France, there was a vote for leader of the country and Russia happened to be found poking its head into yet another country’s election. Allegedly, at the very least.

What does this ultimately mean? Does this verify further that Russia did indeed affect the U.S. Election, since there is the potential for more than one country having found Russian interference? Who knows, honestly. I do know, however, that this will most definitely reflect poorly on Vladimir Putin the leader of Russia. With increased controversy, one could only assume that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, is possibly up to something in this as well, seeing as Russia and North Korea appear to be on, somewhat, fine terms at the moment. I worry for the safety of the United States, and the rest of the world for that matter, especially if all this turns out to be true.

While I wrote this article in order to bring light to this issue that has been a hot topic recently, I would like to note that I am by no means an expert in this topic, I can only regurgitate what I have heard in the news, from both sides.

I pray for our world. I pray for the future of humanity. Learning about this topic has me humbled for all of humanity. I hope that with the events that have been happening in the world can bring us together, not as different groups of people, but as humans who are trying to make the world a better place.

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Persian Calligraphy

I had the amazing opportunity to attended a Demonstration of Persian Calligraphy this semester. The man who led the class was from a family of Calligraphers who had been creating Calligraphy since he was 3. I had never thought about the fine details that there are in Calligraphy or how inspired this niche art truly is.

Calligraphy, according to the speaker, has been linked to spiritual awakening, noting that before he begins a new creation, he will pray and listen to classical hymns, to become more attuned to the mindset of those who originated Calligraphy as an art form. I was so amazed with how interested and inspiring this art form is. I had always though Calligraphy was more or less fancy writing. But it has so much more than that in its history and I am now more interested than ever in learning about Calligraphy myself.

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Eve of Nations 2017

In the Spring 2017 semester, I attended Eve of Nations, which was essentially an international fashion and talent show. The popular clothing of many corners of the Earth, such as Japan, India, and Mexico were present in this event. One strange thing that happened was at the beginning of the show, there was a fault in the power, which caused the video to stop but kept the music playing. Apparently, the entire show and music had to be synced perfectly for it to follow through properly. This lapse in electricity caused the entire event to be reset. It was a very fun event and I honestly really enjoyed getting to attend with friends. I have always been aware of fashion but was surprised by many outfits I saw. It was eye-opening and I was so thankful that I was able to be there.

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Armenian Genocide Concerts

Early this semester, with my husband, I attended a guitar concert which featured the University of Oklahoma’s Larry Hammet. The concert consisted of he and one other individual playing classic style guitar music.

His associate, who preferred to not have his name mentioned, created a beautiful piece which he played for our amusement. As he went on his next song, he noted that, “in this, I present the cries of lost loved ones during the Armenian Genocide, with the screams of these people being reflected in the strings.”

After leaving, my husband and I spoke for a long time about his words and how genocide still occurs to this day. It is a sore topic and one no one likes to think about, but that does not mean it doesn’t happen. To this day, there are still individuals in Syria and other middle eastern countries fleeing for their lives. Knowing that there are still others in pain and dying, it is horrible to believe it still occurs.

I am glad that I attended this event because of the discussion that it sparked and helped me to draw my attention to problems that are going on across the world, not just in America.

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International Club

As a member of Global Engagement Fellows, we prioritize the understanding other cultures, in many varying methods. One way we do this is through media, which allows us to view perspectives on cultures from the eyes of those who live within them. The Foreign Film Club allowed me to understand the problems of other people and how their cultural identities are affected by these issues. With movies, such as The Kite Runner and The African Doctor, which we watched this semester, I was immersed in the mindsets and views of those who are from other corners of the Earth. I believe this allows us to become more knowledgeable and open to understanding of others, as we can see firsthand from media, these people and their lives.

I am very glad that I am a member of this community, as it allows me to become culturally aware and has shown me how to effectively view and work with other cultures.

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International Event #2: Persian Poetry Night

On the night of November 30, I attended Persian Poetry Night at the University of Oklahoma. This was noted as being the first such event at the university, with hopes of it becoming a prolonged event for years to come.

The room was set up with many Persian/Iranian texts, decorations, and a table of Persian-inspired refreshments. There were many speakers at this event, most being students, with a few faculty also taking part in this occasion. All poems were first spoken in Persian, then translated into English.

Poems were first read by students enrolled in the Intermediate Persian course, with some definite parallels being made across all poems. Since this is poetry, it delved deeply into emotions, feelings of love and loss, as well as pulling out many metaphors. I could not help but notice how the English translations seemed to take into account the depth of the feelings which were being spoken of.

More poems were later read by those enrolled in the Beginner Persian course, with these poems holding a bit more concrete value within them. All were spoken on the behalf of an individual which was close to the speaker, or so it seemed. The only exception was a poem written in hopes to unify the world, despite all the factors which divide it.

I left the poetry reading with a new found understanding of the feelings and emotions caught up within the Persian language. So much is based on love and the pursuit of such. I found these poems to be both saddening, as well as up-lifting. I do hope more attend the next poetry night. It is definitely worth the time.

Ciao,

Alexis Keeling

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The U.S. After the Loss of Castro

November 25, 2016. This is said to be the day of the death of Fidel Castro, a former military leader of Cuba. The least one could say is that he lived a life full of controversy, from the Cuban Missile crisis, to the U.S. embargo with Cuba, up to his leave of office in 2008.

With all this in mind, those whom are afflicted with death deserve respects paid to them, regardless of how others viewed them. Now, I believe it will be very interesting to see how the global community will be affected by his death.

Since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, leading to President Kennedy establishing a trade embargo with Cuba shortly thereafter, Castro has caused both Americans and Cubans to view one another in a tainted light. This all being said, the trade embargo with Cuba has been officially lifted for roughly a year now to the publication of this post.

I do not believe it would be far-fetched to believe that relations between Cuba and the United States will improve now. With the sole individual viewed as most responsible for these actions, I believe it is now time for those who opposed this man to withhold from seeing Cuba in the perspective with which they have for five and a half decades now. Trade may increase between the countries as well as tourism, with potential to boost both countries’ economies.

In the end, I think it is a sad day to see most anyone pass on, regardless of your previous view of them. With Fidel Castro now gone, it is now time to let the past be the past and look past the problems of Cuba, as the man who took on the brunt of these actions is no longer active. I do hope to see the day where relations are restored fully.

Ciao,

Alexis Keeling

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Foreign Film Club: The Year My Parents Went On Vacation

The night of November 17, 2016 was movie night! With the Foreign Film Club. This initial meeting for this new club began in Headington Hall, with the viewing of the Brazilian film: The Year My Parents Went On Vacation.

This film was based on the life of a young boy, no older than 10, who loved football (soccer), but was left t live with a distant relative. All he knew was that there was some sort of conflict going on within the country, just as his parents ‘decided to go on vacation’. It was rather fearful, for I could not imagine having to go even one month without hearing from my parents, let alone a whole year!

Without wanting to spoil the film, I will simply say that I enjoyed the movie, though I am not entirely sure why. It felt like a film that would hit home very hard to those who were very aware of all the conflict which had occurred at the time. Not being educated over the content, as well as explanation of the conflicts not being present within the film, I feel additional research over the inspiration of this film would be necessary for most of us which attended this viewing.

I said earlier I enjoyed the film, and I did. It was not only the movie, but also the time and people involved in the club. All seemed so very nice, with many being open, talking with others. I am very happy to have joined this club, and have very high hopes for it in the future.

Ciao-

Alexis Keeling

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Brexit: An Update During the American Election Craze

It is 2016 and no topic in the entire world is under more of a magnifying glass than the quickly approaching U.S. Presidential Election. Virtually nothing this year has even come across the front page of newspapers quite like the upcoming election. Nothing. Except Brexit.

Brexit, or the Britain Exit, is the leave of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). The EU is a partnership of 28 countries which have formed an alliance as like-minded entities. The UK, made up of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, have collectively agreed upon referendum to officially vacate the EU, hence. Brexit.

Though I did not initially understand what Brexit would cause, It has occurred to me over the course of this election just how divided the United States is, and it honestly applies to this as well. While Britain and Wales voted strongly in favor for leaving the EU, Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain in the EU.

I feel this could turn out poorly for Ireland and Scotland in the eyes of the global community. The UK leave is a package deal, with all four countries exiting the EU together, with no way for the countries of Ireland and Scotland, who opposed the exit, to stay in the EU. Not only are outside countries looking at Ireland and Scotland to have joined the leave with the rest of the UK (though their vote held majority for staying in the EU), likely in a negative light, I could see England and Wales seeing these other two countries as double agents in a way, having voted against what the other UK members desired.

In addition to this, Theresa May, the new Prime Minister of Britain since the vote for Brexit, has been vocal in her desires to restrict the number of immigrants taken in to England. This could compound negatively along with the Brexit vote for them, resulting in a culmination of conflicts of interest that Britain may not see as of yet. I do wonder what could happen to EU citiznes residing within the UK, and viceversa.

I do not foresee doom and gloom for the UK, but these countries are divided based on their voting stance, as well as being seen in a darker light now than before the election. Perhaps something good will miraculously come from this. I hope for all our sake that this is true.

Ciao,

Alexis Keeling

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International Event #1: Iran Nuclear Discussion

On September 8, 2016 my husband and I attended a discussion concerning the new nuclear arms deal with Iran. Before diving in to the meat of the discussion, I will say that I felt very unaware of many of the topics discussed, even though I had heard stories related to them to some extent for the most part.

The ambassador of Iran, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, stated that the deal was considered a win-win. While holding massive intrusive measured in the search for nuclear weapons, Iran had hopes of gaining peace in efforts to create nuclear technology.

Over the course of the discussion, the intrusions of the United States in Iran was a very hot topic. The stretched from the U.S. looking to suppress the advancements in nuclear technologies in Iran, to this same suppression in France, whom Iran had hopes in making deals with.

With no way of noting everything that was mentioned in the discussion, one of the key, final statements made by Mousavian during the night was that “if Iran truly wanted to produce a nuclear bomb, they would”, Safe to say, controversies of all sorts were present in this discussion.

While I found much of the content somewhat skeptical, I left feeling much more educated in the subject matter, knowing that this sort of raw discussion is rare to stumble upon, especially for this sensitive topic.

Without a doubt, I do hope that future deals be able to ultimately please all concerned with them.

Ciao,

Alexis Keeling

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