George Hakim

Since I was born in a different country, I always recognized that having a global perspective was important at some level but never really understood how it could relate to academics. It wasn’t until reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe in high school that I began thinking about global studies. Reading cultural literature seemed to me like it should be a requirement of everyone. Learning about different cultures and ways of life is as important today as ever. When we study history, we mostly taught to memorize events and when they happened but lack the anthropological background that seems necessary to really understand their significance. We study things from a cause and effect point of view but rarely approach them from a different cultural view. Moving forward, a bigger focus on global studies will be essential to participate in such a connected world.
I have deep interests in visual communication. Art, photography, and design have a way of communicating that transcends language and culture barriers. Art can bring people together and bring information to people. I am also interested in how people learn. I think that the education system, specially in K-12 can be dramatically improved by making it more visual and kinesthetic. I believe that if educators partnered with designers, a much more efficient system of teaching can be developed. Learning foreign languages is another interest of mine and I’ve been teaching myself Chinese for that past six months. A big reason this trip to Cuba seemed like a good choice is that I took 5 years of Spanish in high school and always wanted to visit a spanish speaking country to keep my interest level in the language high.
Cuba has always been a fascinating place to me. When I heard that there was a trip begin planned as an honors seminar to Cuba, I knew I had to take it. It was somewhere that would be really difficult to go by myself so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Cuba’s rich cultural history makes it an ideal place to study art and design. With Cuba’s diverse cultural blend comes a heavy focus on art as a form of expression. It will also be interesting to see what the differences between modern Cuban art and post-revolutionary styles say about the progression of cuban ideologies and perspectives. I imagine that design also plays a big role, not only as an aesthetic occurrence but as a communication vehicle.  And of course, since Cuba is off-limits to American’s it makes it that much more interesting to go.
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