On Wednesday afternoon, January 16th, we went to a “Say My Name” workshop at the Nord Center at CWRU put on by Center for International Affairs, as they do at the start of every semester. As the notice read, the “Say My Name” workshop is “part of the center’s Global Talk Series, which provides assistance to faculty and staff in the areas of internationalization, international student support, and study abroad.”
On this day, the workshop was conducted by Ms. Elizabeth Miller, Assistant Director of International Student Services, who displayed wisdom as she explained to us how important it is to pronounce a person’s name correctly because it is such an intrinsic part of her/his being. We agree and always do our best to say someone’s name as it should be said.
Ms. Miller then called forth international students who came to Cleveland from China, Iran and Spain to talk about why people in their homelands are named as they are and guide us through pronunciation exercises. The origins of names are a fascinating topic and it was interesting to hear about the different traditions from all over the world.
It is the mission of the Center for International Affairs to provide “leadership, expertise, and support to the Case Western Reserve University community, cultivating a dynamic international presence and inspiring a culture of global understanding and responsibility.” To complement the mission of the Center, we watched a video that was made in response to an incident in 2017 when name tags belonging to students of East Asian descent were shamefully ripped off dormitory doors at Columbia University. In the video, foreign-born students explained the meaning and special significance of their names. For instance, one young woman was named Mulan, after the popular film, because her parents believed in gender equality and wanted their daughter to be a fighter for what she believed was right.