Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University to host Cross-Cultural Symposium “Beyond Our Borders”

CONTACT: Troy Watkins,, 413.572.5523

Westfield – Westfield State University will host a Cross-Cultural Symposium titled “Beyond Our Borders” on Friday, March 22 at 9 a.m. in Scanlon Banquet Hall.

The event will offer a panel of speakers from various fields discussing journalism, literature, culture, and social activism centered around a focus on immigration, cross-cultural interactions, and their influence on global cultures. The event will also feature a luncheon social with reggae music, beginning at 2 p.m.

Carolyn Cooper, Ph.D., an author, literary clinic and cultural analyst, will serve as the keynote speaker. Professor Emerita of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr. Cooper’s work has been featured on several broadcast networks including Al Jazeera English TV, BBC Radio, BBC Television, National Public Radio, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In addition, she is the editor of the award-winning Global Reggae (2008), and author of two books; Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the 'Vulgar' Body of Jamaican Popular Culture (1993) and Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture At Large (2004).

Cathy Schlund-Vials, a professor in the Department of English and the Asian/Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut, will provide the opening address at the event. Panelists will include:

  • Nicholas J. Aieta, Ph.D., professor of history, Westfield State;
  • Julianna Campbell ’20, a junior majoring in English at Westfield State, she co-authored a paper on the intersection between art, math, and English that is awaiting publication in the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts;
  • Macarena Hernández, an immigrant rights activist, multimedia journalist, and educator;
  • Pastor Vicki Kemper, First Church Amherst
  • Airín Martinez, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, UMass Amherst, and a medical sociologist of chronic disease disparities among Latinx immigrants and their U.S.-born children;
  • Nelly Rosario, visiting artist in residence in Latino and Latina studies, Williams College
  • Cathy Schlund-Vials, Ph.D. professor of English and the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, University of Connecticut; and president, National Association for Asian American Studies

For more information, visit

Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society.

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