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Learn about Sri Lanka at COD Asia Symposium.

Byline: Submitted by COD Newsroom

The College of DuPage will host the 27th annual Asia Symposium "Sri Lanka: History Roots, Culture and Contemporary Issues" from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in the Student Resource Center, Room 2000, on the college's Glen Ellyn campus, 425 Fawell Blvd. Tea will be served in the morning.

All programs are free and open to the public.

For a schedule of events, visit

Hosted by the Asia Committee and sponsored by the College's Global Education office, the symposium will feature presentations covering a broad range of topics related to Sri Lanka, including Sri Lankan history, the postwar Sri Lankan Tamil Experience, martial arts demonstrations, a COD Asia Club student fashion show, and a performance by the Northern Illinois University Chinese Music Ensemble.

For more information, contact Lubna Haque at

* At the 9:30 a.m. session, Christina P. Davis, associate professor at Western Illinois University, will speak on "Trilingual Blunders: The internet and the Postwar Sri Lankan Tamil Experience."

Her interests concern the intersections between language and media practices, educational inequality, and youth in conflict situations, with a geographical focus on South Asia.

This talk draws on interviews and social media analysis to explore the multiple, clashing ways Sri Lankan Tamil speakers living nationally and abroad interpret Tamil signage errors in relation to the position of minorities in the postwar nation-state.

* At 11 a.m., Maria Ritzema, an instructor at College of DuPage, will speak on "Sri Lanka: History of Ethnic and Linguistic Groups." Her interests concern the intersection of language, education, and politics, and migration, with a geographical focus on South Asia.

This talk draws on archival, oral history, and secondary source material to examine the history of Sri Lanka's ethnic, religious, and language groups and the political policies that led to the breakdown in relations between the two majority groups, the Sinhalese and the Tamils, and the migration of the small Burgher population.

The Sri Lankan government did not negotiate the decolonization process to nation-building with respect to their multiethnic society. A brief examination of the language and education policies of the government illustrates the growing fractures in society that eventually led to a decadeslong civil war.

* At 2 p.m., see the documentary film, "Ingirunthu" by director Sumathy Sivamohan. On a vibrant tea plantation in Sri Lanka, a deaf-mute, a struggling mother, and a researcher from Colombo are thrown together in the backdrop of escalating social and political violence.

This film is a mutli-textured, multi-narrative film about minority Upcountry Tamil tea plantation workers, who have lived on the margins of Sri Lankan society for generations, since their ancestors' migration from India in the 19th century. There will be a discussion led by Maria Ritzema, Ph.D.

* At 5 p.m., there will be a COD Asia Club Fashion Show.

* At 5:30 p.m., there will be a martial art demonstration by Jenni Park, master director, and her students. The NMA-PMAA All-Stars is founded by Senior Grand Master K.H. Park in 1990 in Naperville. It is an official Kukkiwon Certified Taekwondo & Martial Arts academy.

* At 6 p.m., enjoy a performance by Northern Illinois University Chinese Music Ensemble. It was one of the first college Chinese music group in the U.S. and currently is the only one in Illinois.

Established by Professor Emeritus Kuo-Huang Han in the 1970s, it gave several national and international concert performances between 1976 and 1978. Members of the ensemble learn to play assorted authentic Chinese instruments, such as er-hu (two-string fiddle), yang-qin (hammered dulcimer), pipa (long-neck lute), liu qin (small lute), ruan (medium lute), dizi (bamboo flute), and luo-gu (percussion instruments).

The addition of Chinese music ensemble to the already-flourishing NIU world music curriculum has helped broaden both musical and cultural horizon of students and the NIU community at large. With the mission of promoting Chinese culture through learning its music tradition, the NIU Chinese Music Ensemble promotes Asian cultural awareness and understanding through this unique performing art and ultimately helps enhance the cultural diversity in the American multicultural society.
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Title Annotation:Neighbor
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:9SRIL
Date:Apr 2, 2019
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