Event connects international and American students

Shengjia Wan listens as T. Ryan Hall, President of ESLi, discusses potential ideas for the upcoming event. The International Student Diplomats meet on Feb. 2, 2017 to discuss how the recent ban has affected students at Western Kentucky University. The meeting was held to organize details of an upcoming event to promote interaction between International and American students, while showing support for those who have been affected.

Jamie Williams

The International Student Diplomats are planning a social event in response to President Donald Trump’s executive orders blocking immigration from certain countries and supporting building a wall on the United States-Mexico border.

The event, Love Has No Borders, will involve Valentine’s Day activities with an international twist and aims to connect international and American students.

“I want this bubble of international students to break and all of us to mix together,” Nima Moradzadeh Esmaeili, president of the Association of Iranian Students, said.

Esmaeili said a lot of American students have been having problems with international students lately and even said a couple of Iranian students were shouted at and asked to leave the country.

“I don’t want to fight them,” Flavio Chavarri, president of the International Student Diplomats, said. “I don’t want them to hate us.”

Chavarri said some students have approached the diplomats to ask them to do something in response to the immigration ban, even if they can’t fix everything completely. The diplomats hope to ease worries of all international students — not just those who were personally affected by the executive order.

“The ISO [International Student Office] can do something to bring a little bit of light or find a golden lining,” diplomat Srijita Chattopadhyay said.

“Honestly, I am up for this challenge,” Esmaeili said. “It is a challenge, but I’m up for it, and I’m not going to give up.”

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Love Has No Borders will feature speed dating between international and American students. There will also be karaoke for international students to sing in their native languages.

Several speakers will be at the event including students from countries mentioned in the executive order. The speakers will talk about their home countries so guests can learn about them on a more personal level.

The Association of Iranian Students will also provide a way for guests to sign an online petition against the immigration ban. Signing the petition will be optional, but it will be available to students who feel like they want to do something more.

“It’s not going to be political,” Esmaeili said. “If they want to support it, they can support it.”

A prize will be awarded to the Greek organization that brings most of its members to the event. There will also be food for event guests.

Love Has No Borders will take place Friday from 5:30 – 10 p.m. at the Faculty House.

Reporter Jamie Williams can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]

The original photo caption with this story referred to the subject as Sangria Wan. The photo subject’s name is Shengjia Wan. The Herald regrets the error.