GlobalPhilly™ 2013 Poster Visits International Students


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Dominique Johnson, for GPA -- Graphic design has always been a passion for Ute Kraidy, ever since starting college at the Universidad de las Américas-Puebla in her native Mexico.

Kraidy’s Mexican and German multicultural background has driven her to gain professional experience beyond her home country, leading her to various places in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East while anchoring her in Philadelphia.

“My interests hover around multicultural and multilingual projects that bridge social and geographical distances,” Kraidy says.

Kraidy got involved with the Global Philadelphia Association while attending an event on behalf of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, a GPA member organization, where she serves on the Board of Directors. The event was a preview of GlobalPhilly™ 2013, Philadelphia’s first modern, international exposition presented during the fall of 2013.

A highlight of Kraidy’s collaboration with GPA was her involvement with the design of the official GlobalPhilly™ 2013 poster. One of her entries won the exposition’s poster design contest and as a result, she has been able to help create a number of materials that put a visual stamp on the series of events the make up the exposition.

“Strongly attracted by Global Philadelphia’s international nature, I have become a member of GPA myself, and I am gratified to see that my ties with Global Philadelphia continue to strengthen constantly,” she said.

The GlobalPhilly™ 2013 poster image is the Philadelphia Liberty Bell “from which emanate a plethora of flags from countries around the world,” Kraidy added. The concept conveyed by the GlobalPhilly™ 2013 image shows Philadelphia as a hub of significant international activity where different cultures not only come together, but flourish.

“The GP13 image displays that Philadelphia is home to people from many different cultural backgrounds and is a city that welcomes the world,” she explained. “The color burst of the flags against a solid black silhouette of the bell expresses the liveliness, dynamism and vigor that comes from diversity as showcased by the events of GP13.”

A Global Education

Asmaa Lahlou, the primary coordinator of GlobalPhilly™ 2013 and a Global Philadelphia Association staff member, sees GPA as a hub for globally-minded people. By taking advantage of resources and organizations throughout the Philadelphia region, she sees GPA creating a mutually beneficial regional synergy.

Lahlou, originally from Fez, Morocco, recently spoke to a class of fourth graders at the French International School of Philadelphia about GlobalPhilly™ 2013 and what they would hope to see when the program returns in 2015.

“My children go to this school and their teacher had asked me to come in and speak about what I do,” Lahlou said. “So I thought I would speak to them about the expo. These are kids who are globally-minded and open minded and are willing to learn about anything international.”

Lahlou has worked and lived all over the world in places like Europe and Asia before arriving in Philadelphia. She added that there are many American families who are sending their children to French International because they are seeking a global education.

An International City

PhilaFLAM was created by Marine Havel, GPA’s Media Director, almost two years ago with the help of other French speaking parents and teachers. It's part of a global program from the French government (Francais LAngue Maternelle) to help promote the native language and to keep a link for all the French people across the globe.

“PhilaFLAM has been created to help all bilingual children to keep their French alive, be able to read and write in French, and maybe one day to be able to study at a French speaking university,” Havel said. “It’s also a community where everybody enjoys being together, and being part of this wonderful area of Greater Philadelphia.”

Havel added that it can be a challenge working with students of many backgrounds, but that it is an amazing one and rewarding being able to see all the “young brains” build a strong open future for their generation.

“It's a ‘Saturday school’ but the commitment from the teachers and the parents is unheard of,” Havel said. “This helps the students to persevere and to feel part of this strong community. Students are not alone, and they're not different!”

Havel first met Zabeth Teelucksingh, the Executive Director of Global Philadelphia, when she was the president of another French association, Philadelphie Accueil. It was established with the goal of welcoming all French speaking expatriates and helping them during what can be a difficult time of integration.

“This city of Philadelphia is already an international city,” Havel said. She added that Global Philadelphia helps organize and build a stronger, international-oriented community.

Havel presented the GP13 poster to a class of sixth and seventh graders at PhilaFLAM, all of whom are bilingual.

Havel introduced the poster to her class as a game, asking them to identify the different flags they saw. She was impressed by her students’ ability to not only name the countries, but their knowledge of the countries’ culture and history.

“Philadelphia is a wonderful city, very friendly, open minded, and curious about other cultures, languages, lifestyles,” Havel said. “They’re not afraid of the future and the new social deal of the modern society. Welcoming people with different backgrounds, languages and ideas will be one of its strength.”