Our university is home to over 1200 international students representing numerous countries across the world. International students represent a unique diaspora at Kansas State — one that is racially, ethnically, nationally and sexually diverse and inclusive. International Students at K-State and across the nation have great potential for promoting global peace and unity.
To provide a few examples, students from India and Pakistan attend K-State and other U.S. universities. It’s not news that India and Pakistan have complex and largely hostile relations due to several geopolitical events. However, only after meeting at universities in places like the U.S. do we realize that we are all the same. We share similar experiences and now the same language.
In this instance, Indian and Pakistani students at universities can promote regional peace and unity by hosting events together, celebrating each other’s festivals and hosting a well-facilitated dialogue session that aspires to discuss the complicated issues between the two nations. If this process is done peacefully at all educational institutions, it would be a game-changer in international relations.
Similarly, if Iranian and Saudi Arabian students put up similar events and celebrations, that could help develop and regenerate the relations between these two nations.
This effort should not stop at inter-country relations, but also include important topics of human rights. International students should utilize the resources available here at K-State and other educational institutions and learn more about social justice ideologies and embrace these identities. After doing so, international students should promote these ideologies in their home countries.
For example, international students should embrace feminism and fight for equal rights for women in their home countries. Similarly, international students should take inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement and support equity for minorities in their home countries.
Along with all of these, international students should align themselves with LGBTQ+ rights activism and promote marriage equality globally. Currently, only around 30 countries globally recognize same-sex marriage. This number is extremely small. There are countries where being LGBTQ+ could land a person in prison or worse — suffer capital punishment.
International students from such countries should educate themselves about LGBTQ+ rights and advocate for the same in their home countries. By doing so, we would be doing a huge service to our fellow LGBTQ+ community members and ensure that our home countries are a little bit more inclusive and equitable.
In addition to these, international students should also utilize the resources available to educate ourselves about similar important issues such as climate change, poverty, and inflation, and then promote globalization and global collaboration to tackle these challenges.
All of us at K-State are future leaders navigating a global society. K-State prides itself on creating the global leaders of tomorrow. We can become future heads of states across the world.
We need to carry forward this passion for global peace and unity in any field that we choose to go into. We need to engage ourselves in activities that contribute to global leadership and advocate for global unity and inclusivity.
International students and local students need to engage more within their communities to promote intercultural and universal peace and unity. All of us need to align ourselves with pro-globalization causes that promote healthy global growth and sustainability.
When we share our experiences and discuss solutions, we come across ideas we may have never thought of. Slowly but surely, we can accomplish our quest to create an equitable and united global society by taking smaller individual actions.
International students already possess the experience of studying abroad and making friends from different cultures and communities. If that friendship is utilized on a global scale, it would be beneficial for people worldwide.
To quote Baháʼu’lláh Baháʼu’lláh, “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”
Vedant Deepak Kulkarni is a Collegian contributor and a senior in management information systems and mass communications. He is also the international student affairs director in the Student Governing Association cabinet. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.