On Becoming a Liturgist
By Michelle Koppinger
Liturgy (leitourgia) is a Greek composite word meaning, a public duty--a service to the State undertaken by a citizen. The meaning of the word liturgy has extended to cover any general service of a public kind--including the arrangement of these services or performing the public duty itself (to do such a duty).
The public service of the Urban and Regional Studies Institute (URSI)--in collaboration with an Educational Foundations course for International Students and the City of Mankato--is welcoming International Students into the Mankato community through The Historic Downtown Mankato Walking Tour.
Now, the Walking Tour could very well be hospitality at its best. Best put by another International Student during a course evaluation during his last day of class in Educational Foundations 106: “Keep the Walking Tour!” Yet, another International Student who completed the Walking Tour requested even more opportunities and structured settings for “parties” and “social gatherings” be provided in the community, in response to how “we” can best reach and welcome International Students/newcomers.
In one section of an Introduction to
the City class, instructed by Professor Miriam Porter, students in a work group
session discuss questions on where
they feel fear or oppression in
In the aftermath (i.e. racial profiling and religious
discrimination) of the September 11th terrorist attacks on
In an informal questionnaire provided to students in Education Foundations 106, MSU Instructor Doug Ganss received several responses from two class sessions of first year International Students, including:
How could we join off-campus activities without a car?
I want to know how I can visit any other place in
Why don’t the busses drive on Sundays or at nights?
Why do people here drive on the right?
Where is the
What is the first thing you do when entering into somebody’s house?
How old do you have to be to rent a car?
Where can I buy the Mods
Hair styling wax in
Where do American’s get haircuts?
How come the bars are open until ?
Why do Americans wear shoes [inside the house]?
Is there any winter fair in
I have noticed that Americans are ignorant when it comes to knowledge of foreign countries other than their own.
When I go [out]...there is a long line every time. In our country they work quickly in order not to keep customers waiting. Why [are] American’s actions so neglectful?
Students provided six pages full of questions and comments similar to those above, with topics ranging from American linguistic expressions and national culture to etiquette and local culture.
In spite of rampant media coverage
of all the racial profiling of Arabs and Muslims or anyone looking like them,
local International Students were being invited, through their Educational
Foundations 106 class, to experience an unprecedented opportunity. This ritual, by the very nature of the
campus-community outreach, found in the guided Walking Tour, the City of
Most local residents are largely
unaware of what’s taking place in their own community and its potential impact
for the future: a peace exchange that kindles fond memories of
Without exception, welcoming the
newcomer in small-town
The liturgy being proposed, then, is for URSI Students and Staff--and all other collaborators, for that matter--to continue providing, “expanding” and evaluating the impact of the Walking Tour with special emphasis on International Students, as an act of global peace relations. Beyond this writer’s opinion and experience, read on to see what the experts have to say:
“When more international
students are given the chance for meaningful study and opportunities to gain an
appreciation of our society, there will be less hatred of
Academic freedoms are among the most basic of our liberties, and it is important that we...share these freedoms with the rest of the world. Those who come from societies that are less open and democratic gain a tremendous appreciation for the freedom that they experience here, and help us to better appreciate values that are often taken for granted.”
--Henry Kaufman, Chairman, Board of Trustees &
Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO
Tour lays the groundwork for building relationships with “strangers,” increases
our understanding and appreciation of one another, dispels hatred and
misunderstanding, and finally, provides the groundwork for continued and
improved business and commerce. Patti
McGill Peterson, Executive Director of the Council for International Exchange
of Scholars (a private organization that administers the Fulbright Scholar
Program) and Vice-President of the
In declaring his support for International Education Week (November), Secretary of State, former General Colin Powell, acknowledged that the role of public diplomacy and international educational exchange [is] crucial to the development of enlightenment and civility around the world (Peterson, 2001). When Senator William Fulbright first proposed the Fulbright Program in the aftermath of World War II...he noted that mankind’s capacity for decent behavior seems to vary directly with our perception of others as individual human beings with human motives and feelings (Peterson, 2001).
Peterson concludes, “...it will take
a great many people from many countries working together to create educational
institutions that support the values of civil society.”
Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy--else we may find ourselves treading on people’s dreams--more seriously still, we may forget that God was there before our arrival.
Aside from reasons already noted
above, why should
September 1995. Fall Quarter, 1995. MSU had 607 International Students from 64 different countries.
January 1996. Winter Quarter, 1996. MSU had 592 International Students from 64 different countries.
March 1996. Spring, 1996. MSU had 566 International Students from 65 different countries.
Given these figures, how many
International Students did we welcome in the Greater Mankato community? Familiarize to our culture? Introduce to local tourism or Explore
During the Walking Tours, the
students’ (reasonable) requests were accommodated along the way. For instance, International Students asked if
they could go into the Two Fishes Recording Studio on
It is my hope for the
A past student in one of Dr. Janet Cherrington-Cucore’s course, Introduction to the City,
Blake Kotajauri heard about the Walking Tour
assignment and sighed. After the tour,
he provided the following feedback: “This tour opened my eyes to the greater
scheme of things. My image of
It has been through the tour guide experience that this writer has affirmed and reclaimed her ministry in public service. To lead some of the Walking Tours was not an added burden onto this writer’s fall schedule; in fact, the exact opposite was true--the very experience of fraternizing with the International Students is what helped this writer survive and get through the semester, refreshed. Approximately 15 years ago, this writer was a student in Professor H. Smith’s Intro to the City class and had the good fortune of experiencing Mankato for the first time through an enlightened lens.
1. Kaufman, Henry & Goodman, Allan E. “Educational Exchange for a Safer and More Secure World.” About IIE Institute of International Education.
(p. 1 of 2) <http://www.iie.org/iie/educational_exchange.htm>
2. Kotajauri, Blake. Student Impression. (2 pp.) <http://www.intech.mnsu.edu/cherrington/tour/tourpages/student_impression.htm>
3. MSU Statistics on International Students provided by Char Rheaume,
International Student Office Manager. (1 p.) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
4. McGill Peterson, Patti. “Another Kind of Army.” Council for International Exchange of Scholars. (2 pp.) <http://www.cies.org/cies/news_army.htm>
5. McGill Peterson, Patti. “Let’s Not Close the Door.” (1 pp.)
6. New Advent. CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Liturgy: (p.1 of 20) <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09306a.htm>
7. Non-Immigrant Visas.
Prepared June 1997 by the National Immigration Forum, 220 I Street,
8.. Rahman, Nawshin. “Diversity in