Webster Athens Students Participate in International Conference

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The end of the Fall semester was a busy and challenging time for several Webster University Athens students. In addition to various cultural activities organized on the campus in December, students took part in an international conference dedicated to the issues of language, literature and translation that was organized by Kh. Dosmukhamedov Atyrau University. It was the first international conference for the MA TESL students and for those taking ENGL 2600-Introduction to Linguistics.

We exchanged our valuable experiences and became each other’s guides to new directions for such a rich unit as language."

The conference was held within the Dialogue of Cultures at the Crossroads of Civilizations program in the Republic of Kazakhstan. In the paper presented by Webster English department faculty, Dr. S. Michailidis, Dr. P. Manouka and G. Vasiliou, they expressed their interest and demonstrated their knowledge in the aspects of international communication, scientific research, and importance of students active participation in global forums and conferences. In their presentations, they stressed “Education prizes conceptual clarity, argumentative rigor, and the fair-minded consideration of the interests of all involved in or affected by learning efforts and arrangements, as well as the informed and well-reasoned scientific evaluation of educational aims and interventions.”

Students' Conference Experiences

Students, challenged and guided by the faculty also had the privilege to get acquainted with different ideas and topics that were covered by the other participants of the conference. When being asked about the event, the students pointed out that they could learn very much from this experience.

”We exchanged our valuable experiences and became each other’s guides to new directions for such a rich unit as language,” they responded.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to take part in the conference,” said student Michael Johnston.

“It was my honor to represent Webster at the International Language Conference. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said student Shiran Sherman.

The purpose of the conference was extremely relevant as the dialogue of cultures and civilizations is essential in a world that is becoming increasingly more cosmopolitan. Webster Students as the representatives of various countries, societies and cultures of the global community had an interesting and profound insight on the problem of language and translation. The papers which were presented by Webster Athens Graduate students by various country of origin and based on their educational and professional experience were the following:

  • Vassiliki Apostolopoulou, Areti Kostopoulos (Hellas) and Mireille Abhad (Lebanon) presented their paper on “Dimensions of Culture and Language within the Educational Environment: The Cases of Greece and Lebanon"
  • Sarah Nolan (U.S.) presented her paper on “The Complexity of the English Language and Its History”

It is important to mention that papers presented by the undergraduate students made a great impression on the organisers of the event, for they assumed that they were graduate students working on their master’s degree. It goes without saying that undergraduate students taking ENGL 2600- Introduction to Linguistics in the Fall Semester generated thought-provoking ideas and composed very noteworthy papers:

  • Abigail Tchiblakian, Olivia Ellman (U.S.) presented “Communication Barriers: Tonal Languages” in which they underlined that “Understanding of tonal languages serves not only to provide better understanding of the formation of languages, but also enhances the ability of both tonal and non-tonal language speakers to communicate with groups of people who form meaning in a different way.”
  • Elisavet Karagkeor, Elizaveta Kaysheva (Kazakhstan, Russia) spoke about “Language: A Subjective Expression or a Bond of Understanding”

The main idea expressed in the presentation was “trying to find the truth, knowing the history of the language, being able to put together the meanings of some words and getting the word that was originally learned without the etymological idea, which is what will fill your KNOWLEDGE of LANGUAGE.”

  • Shiran Sherman, Michael Johnston (Israel, U.S.) wrote on and presented “Language & Human Creativity: Aravrit”

Odyssey students from the home campus, Abigail Tchiblakian and Olivia Ellman, studying in Athens within the Fall Semester, expressed their appreciation of being involved in the international conference:

“With so many different national languages, to be able to learn and teach more communication methods is vital. It was wonderful to know that there are so many people concerned with such an important topic and are willing to put in the time and effort to make learning easier. I am grateful for this experience that I was able to take part in and thank everyone who made this happen!”

“I appreciated that there was such a wide array of topics covered as it created a well- rounded perspective on the impact of language’s effect on intercultural interactions. Overall, it was an engaging experience filled with dynamic commentary on language acquisition and the perception of meaning.”

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