A Window to the Middle East

Learn. Increase global competency by visiting the library.

"What the United States does best is to understand itself. What it does worst is understand others." –Carlos Fuentes

As a preliminary exercise to the University Roundtable on America's Latino communities, here is a quick mini-quiz:

  1. What day does Mexico celebrate as its independence day?
    1. November 20th
    2. September 27th
    3. September 16th
    4. May 5th
  2. Cinco de Mayo commemorates:
    1. Mexican independence from Spain.
    2. Mexico's Battle of Pueblo fought against France on May 5, 1862
    3. the battle of the Alamo
  3. What is the official status of Puerto Rico?
    1. Territory
    2. Dependency
    3. Commonwealth
    4. Province
  4. Next to Simon Bolivar, Jose Marti is probably the most well-known figure in Latin American history. In which country is he celebrated as a national hero?
    1. Cuba
    2. Honduras
    3. Mexico
    4. Venezuela
  5. In which country is Spanish not an official language:
    1. Paraguay
    2. Brazil
    3. Chile
    4. Uruguay

So how did you do? (Answers at the bottom of this article). Over the past five academic years, the percentage of Hispanic students at Regent has increased steadily, from 3.33 percent in 2006-2007, to 4.46 in 2010-2011. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Hispanics of the total population of the United States is projected to grow from 15.5% in 2010 to 17.8% in 2020. The rapid growth of Pentecostal churches in Latin America and in U.S. Hispanic communities means that the increase of Latino students at Regent will likely outpace population projections. How ready is the Regent community for a future in which Hispanic culture and language will play an increasingly important role in our University and country?

Since 2007, the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), RU Global, has been an essential component of the Regent University Experience. According to the Explanation for the QEP model, "to be successful in [the] global environment, Regent graduates must be able to demonstrate global awareness, ethical commitments to individual and social responsibility, and intercultural competency. Hence, curriculum and programs at Regent will be designed to prepare our students for intercultural effectiveness in national and international settings."

Contributing to the success of the RU Global campaign is now a principal goal of nearly all Library activities. Library initiatives to support the QEP include:

  • Increased emphasis on collecting foreign books and films that promote a global perspective. Last year, the Library added 1,600 such items to the catalog.

  • Supplementing the annual QEP Roundtable by sponsoring a common read of a significant book from the region. For the 2010 Roundtable, the Library Book Club held a discussion with Rabbi Israel Zoberman on works by Israeli author Amos Oz. For the 2011 Roundtable, the Book Club will read and discuss The House on Mango Street, by Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros.

  • Library faculty reviews of resources that enhance global understanding in a bi-monthly feature in the Library blog, RU Global–Resources for World Leaders.

  • Promoting global literature through the Library Book Club. Since 2008, the Book Club has read works by writers from Afghanistan, Russia, Argentina, Iran, Israel, and Nigeria. Global authors in the 2010-2011 schedule include Velma Wallis, Sandra Cisneros, Chinua Achebe, and S.Y. Agnon.

  • Purchase of foreign language learning software, Mango Languages, which gives Regent students, faculty, and staff access to online instruction in 22 foreign languages.

The Library will continue to look for innovative ways to promote global learning and welcomes suggestions for programs and new purchases. Answers to quiz: 1 – C; 2 – B; 3 – C; 4 – A; 5 – B.


Harold Henkel, research librarian at Regent UniversityHarold Henkel is a research librarian and the Library's liaison to the School of Undergraduate Studies, the School of Communications, and the School of GLE. He also edits the Library Blog and coordinates the Library Book Club.