For Immediate Release — Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo's Cultural Harmony Week Includes Visit by Cambodian Genocide Survivor Dith Pran

GENESEO, N.Y. — The State University of New York at Geneseo has announced the schedule for its seventh annual Cultural Harmony Week, which will run Oct. 24-29.

The theme for Cultural Harmony Week 2005 is "InterFace: The Intersection of East & West Cultures."

"We want to evoke an image of all people being connected. We interface with each other. At times we are all so multicultural that literally our faces and features can be interchanged," said Michelle Singletary, interim director of the college's Office of Multicultural Affairs and coordinator of Cultural Harmony Week.

This theme will be explored over a six-day period with a wide range of programming, including the annual Cultural Harmony Week Lecture, an art exhibit and much more. All events are free and open to the public.

One of the highlights of the week will be a lecture by Dith Pran, who survived one of the bloodiest genocides in human history, the Cambodian tragedy set forth by the Communist Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. His story was portrayed in the Academy Award-winning movie "The Killing Fields." Another highlight will be a visit by Cathy Bao Bean, author of  "The Chopsticks-Fork Principle: A Memoir and Manual."

Here is a line-up of Cultural Harmony Week 2005:

Asian Pacific American History Project of Greater Rochester Photo Exhibit Opening and Reception

4:30-5:45 p.m., Monday, Oct. 24, Lockhart Gallery, 26 Main St., Geneseo

The exhibit will formally open with a reception and will run through Nov. 11. The photo exhibit is of Asian life and the intersection of Western and Asian cultures in the Greater Rochester area. A sneak preview of the exhibit also will be available from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, during the college's Family Weekend.

"Identity Through Art: Six Rochester Area Asian American Artists"

6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 24, Newton Hall 204

The Asian Pacific American History Project of Greater Rochester will screen this documentary and lead a discussion about the film. The documentary was produced by Rehema Trimiew and Yoshihiro Shimizu, MFA students in film studies at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Cultural Harmony Week Lecture: Dith Pran

7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 25, Newton Hall 214

Dith Pran survived one of the bloodiest genocides in human history, the Cambodian tragedy set forth by the Communist Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. His story was portrayed in the Academy Award-winning movie, "The Killing Fields." Pran and Sydney Schanberg, then a correspondent for The New York Times, covered the events leading up to the genocide, including the fall of the capital to the communist Khmer Rouge. Arrested by the Khmer Rouge, they were sentenced to execution, but eventually released. Exiled to the killing fields, the forced labor camps in the Cambodian countryside, Pran endured starvation and torture for four years. In 1976, Schanberg received a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Cambodia, and he accepted the award for himself and Pran. In October of 1979, Pran escaped to Thailand and to freedom. A photojournalist for The New York Times since 1980, Pran was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1985. He has testified several times before the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives and has received four honorary doctorate degrees. The 1998 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient, he is a member of the Asian American Journalist Association. Tirelessly working to expose the genocide, he compiled the stories in Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs of Survivors. Determined to educate the world and assure that the Cambodian genocide is not forgotten, nor repeated, Pran founded The Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project.

Oxfam Hunger Banquet

6-8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26, MacVittie College Union Ballroom

The Jewish Student Union produces this annual event to raise money for Oxfam America. An experiential dinner, participants in the Hunger Banquet leave with more than just food on their minds. They learn about distribution of wealth and poverty around the world. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the MacVittie College Union Ticket Office.

Pan-Asian Student Dialogue with Author Cathy Bao Bean

3:30-5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27, Sturges Auditorium (Sturges Hall 219)

Cathy Bao Bean will lead a discussion among the Asian students enrolled at Geneseo about issues of importance within mixed Asian communities. Geneseo's Asian students include international students; newly emigrated, first-generation, and fourth-generation Americans; and urban and suburban students who were adopted and raised in America. Some students are multilingual, while others speak only English, and the students come from a variety of nationalities and cultures from East and Southeast Asia. This dialogue is aimed at gaining cross-cultural understanding and strengthening ties within the college's Asian student community.

"Living & Laughing by The Chopsticks-Fork Principle" with author Cathy Bao Bean

7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27, Newton Hall 204

Rooted in the telling of one family's life, "The Chopsticks-Fork Principle: A Memoir and Manual" is a story for all families. In this humorous and poignant memoir, the author, an immigrant from China, recounts how she figured out to be herself, as well as how to raise a son whose white American artist father did things like paint the lawn. As Bean attempts to satisfy disparate cultural norms, she provides us with a unique window into the experience of a bicultural family. "The Chopsticks-Fork Principle" also is a manual that explains how anyone who steps outside the home can benefit by greater awareness of the diversity within and around us.

GENseng Production

4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28, Sturges Auditorium (Sturges Hall 219)

GENseng, the college's Asian American theater troupe, will explore ideas related to the sexual objectification of Asian women and men in this production. During a facilitated discussion after the performance, participants will examine several related issues including the sexual objectification of other people of color, media influences and other sources of stereotypes.

Cruise Around the World, Residence Life Office: Creating Campus Community Involvement

5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28, Red Jacket Quad

The Office of Residence Life invites you to Cruise Around the World. Students will move through 15 ports of call (residence halls) to visit different "countries." Travelers who successfully cruise through each hall will be entered into a raffle for door prizes, including a new DVD player. All travelers will need a "passport," which can be obtained from service desks in the residence halls.

Intercultural Night Dinner

6 p.m., Saturday Oct. 29, MacVittie College Union Ballroom

The sixth annual Intercultural Night Dinner is a tradition started by alumnus Runa Rajagopal, whose vision was an evening of food and culturally based entertainment representative of the many ethnicities and cultures that call SUNY Geneseo home.

For details, call (585) 245-5620.