On Saturday, February 2nd, I attended KSA’s annual Korean Culture Night as a Non-IA event. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as I arrived I could quickly tell how popular of an event it was on campus with the line wrapped around the inside of the union. We all slowly streamed into the performance hall and took our seats, with popular Korean pop songs playing over the speakers while we waited. I will admit to singing along to most of them and probably annoying my friend sat beside me. As the event began, they started to play videos of their own version of a popular Korean drama, and it was easy to see how much effort and dedication this club put into their event. The first performance of the night was a group of girls who performed a traditional fan dance, which was really interesting to watch as I’d never seen any type of fan dancing before. Next, a group of older adults came on stage with multiple types of drums and instruments that I’m not able to name, and played traditional Korean music for the crowd. The music started off soft but eventually became very loud and intense, and it was fun seeing the musicians on stage be so immersed in their form of art. Taekwondo club also decided to join this event, performing a set for the audience that made me feel even more inflexible than I already am. After these two events there was a mixture of different dancers, singers, and musicians. Some groups danced and sang to different Korean music, breakdanced, or just sang with the accompaniment of a guitar or a piano. One of my favorite acts of the night was a violinist, who was accompanied by a piano player and performed different Korean pop songs flawlessly. Finally, the closing acts were Queen of Aces and TPOK, OSU’s two Korean pop cover groups. Introduction videos were shown and they soon began there sets, which I was really impressed with. These groups obviously put a huge amount of time and effort into their passion, and I really respected them and felt glad that I was able to be their and support them. As the event came to an end, I honestly was a bit sad because I’d had such a great time. The club that put on this event, called the Korean Student Association, calls this their biggest event of the year and I could see why. KSA aims to promote the education of Korean culture to its members and the university community, which they definitely succeeded in doing. Music is something that I love, and it’s always fun and interesting to hear and learn about the different music of other cultures. I would definitely encourage anyone to attend this event next year or other similar events, as it was truly one of the most enjoyable nights I’ve had in a while.
I attended the event “Gigs for Guatemala” on November 29th, which was eligible for an IA credit. This was an event that I was interested in going to before I knew it was for credit within the program, as I always love seeing different live acts and I was happy to support such a good cause. Throughout the program, a woman spoke about the many different girls that we would be helping through our donations that currently lived in Guatemala. Many of these girls live in dangerous towns, where gun violence, gangs, and sexual assaults are common. They are not given many opportunities to achieve their dreams, but with the program “Champions in Action” that they are a part of, they are given the chance to grow out of poverty and follow their goals in life. This event was put on by AWOW, or Advocates For Women of The World, so many of the acts were very female oriented and empowering, which was amazing to see. A wide variety of acts performed, such as comedy improv groups like “Fishbowl Improv”, bands like “The Manatee Room,” dancers, acapella groups, and a spoken word poet. Some of the acts that really resonated with me were “Inaayat”, an Indian dance team who combines acting, music, and dance, and Sabsie Ali, a spoken word poet. The Indian dance team was a beautiful show where no words were spoken, but they were able to tell a powerful story simply through their facial expressions and movements. Sabsie Ali performed two of her spoken words that she writes which covered topics such as misogyny and bisexuality, and I was shocked at how emotional and intense it was, as I had never seen a spoken word poet before. I also really enjoyed how they incorporated different cultures into their acts, giving a wide variety of performances. Ohio State is so diverse with so many different clubs and performers, I think events like this should always be able to and happy to have many different performances from different backgrounds and cultures for their audience to enjoy. After attending this event I’ve been really interested in joining AWOW, and I plan on attending meetings in the future to see if it is a good fit for me. I love their message of helping and empowering all women around the world, and I am excited to hopefully attend more events or even join in the future.
On November 1st, I attended the American Enterprise Institute event featuring Dr. Michael Rubin as a Non-IA event, where they debated on terrorism in the Middle East. Terrorism in the Middle East is a very loaded topic, so I was interested to listen to what each person had to say and their varying opinions. This topic is also something that I have never dived deeper into and formally educated myself on, with most of my knowledge coming from the news and social media. Michael Rubin spoke first, and being completely honest with myself, much of what he said was slightly difficult for me to understand as I had little prior knowledge of the topic before hand. However, I was still able to learn a lot and I heard a lot of facts and issues surrounding terrorism in the Middle East that I previously did not know. Michael Rubin began by stating that terrorism is driven by ideology rather than grievance, contrary to what most people think. He continued by saying that people want to believe that terrorism is driven by grievance such as poverty, hunger, corrupt governments, etc. so that there is a tangible problem that can be fixed, but in reality it is a much more complex and difficult problem that can not so simply be addressed. He also discussed how the Quran can be interpreted in different ways, introducing the idea of ‘abrogation and religious interpretation’. Extremists often interpret the Quran in a way such that if two verses contradict each other, the last verse automatically cancels out the first so they only have to follow the one that matches their viewpoints. Another really interesting point was also brought up that I had never thought of, where he explained that the United States needs more people in security that speak more than just Arabic, as there are so many different languages and dialects that we could be missing.
The next speaker discussed many similar topics as Michael Rubin and they often agreed on many issues. He spoke about how the United States needs to have less military engagement in the Middle East, as the war is never going to be won with brute force and it is only going to end with the US going bankrupt. Instead of military force, he argued that we should create more social engagement with the Middle East with more cultural exchange, where we can educate people on this topic. Overall, the war against Radical Islam is a war of ideas, not guns. A lot of interesting points about immigration were also discussed, such as immigration into Europe and assimilation in the United States. They discussed how immigration into Europe is rapid and not controlled or regulated much at all, which the guest speaker believed was a ‘breeding ground for radicalism’. I found this discussion in particular interesting as I have never really heard much about immigration in Europe rather than the United States. I also learned how refugees and immigrants are typically relocated into a few select cities, which can sometimes make it difficult to assimilate into the culture of the United States. However, in the 1960’s, immigrants were located all over the country according to their skill sets and where they were needed, and this was able to help them assimilate into the culture fairly easily. Although a lot of what was discussed was slightly hard for me to understand, I feel that I learned a lot about this topic and was introduced to ideas and opinions about this topic that I had never thought of before attending this session.
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