International Panel Increases Cultural Awareness at Waukee High School
Suku Radia, CEO and president of Bankers Trust, was the keynote speaker at Waukee High School’s Annual International Panel on November 11. The goal of the panel was to increase cultural awareness by giving students a glimpse into the different upbringings, religions, values, and traditions among students at Waukee High School.
Upon arrival various global music videos played immediately immersing the audience in a diverse set of cultures.
“International Club allows students to understand one-another’s cultural differences. We strive to project that no matter who you are or what your background is, everybody can make a difference in the world,” Manu Naishadham, president of International Club, said.
Radia shared the hardships he endured and the choices he made to get where he is today. He was born and raised in a wealthy family in Kampala, Uganda. With the financial support of his family, Radia came to Iowa in 1971 to attend Iowa State University. Unfortunately, one year later his family was forced to give up their money, businesses and land after a devastating change in policy left many of Asian descent homeless.
Although his surroundings in America were different and the stipends from his family had stopped, Radia didn’t lose hope.
“My father told me to pay attention to my education. Education is something no one can take away from you,” Radia said.
He stayed determined, driven and worked hard to earned his degree. Radia emphasized the significance of not forgetting about one’s culture in the midst of a busy life. Placing an importance on cultural differences has helped him build a strong, positive environment at Bankers Trust.
“Culture influences our hopes, fears, loyalties and values. We can’t gloss over our differences and pretend they don’t exist. Understanding culture helps us to overcome racial and cultural differences,” Radia said. “When student cultures are appreciated and understood by teachers they do better in school.”
After the keynote presentation the student panel answered questions about their favorite traditional foods, sites to see in their home country and transitioning to a new culture.
More than 15 countries were represented including China, India, Iraq, Vietnam, Japan, Israel, Brazil, Denmark, Switzerland, Bosnia, Germany, Nepal, Ecuador and South Korea.
German teacher Tammy Getting founded the International Club more than 15 years ago. Starting with fewer than 10 students, the club has grown tremendously with now more than 30 members.