OSIL’s ‘Tomorrow’s Challenges’ series continues

Bret Belden

On the night of Wednesday, Nov. 16, UNH’s Office of Student Involvement and Leadership (OSIL) put on a talk by UNH Director of Memorial Union and Student Activities MaryAnne Lustgraaf, in the Memorial Union Building’s (MUB) Theater I, titled “Tomorrow’s Challenges: The Rise of Nationalism Vs. A Time of Greater Acceptance.”

Lustgraaf’s talk was a part of OSIL’s “Tomorrow’s Challenges” series, which takes place every other week from 6.-7 p.m in the same location. According to the OSIL’s website, each talk features “a variety of topics of concern for the future.”

This week’s discussion by Lustgraaf involved the topics of nationalism versus patriotism, refugees, immigration, emigration and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Approximately 30 students were in attendance at Lustgraaf’s talk, which started off by discussing the differences between nationalism and patriotism. In describing nationalism, Lustgraaf said, “We are obviously the best, you are not the best. That’s where nationalism gets us in trouble.”

She went on to discuss the nationalist mentality that is common in many countries, and used several examples of maps and different ways of writing the year to give the audience some perspective on the topic.

“A map can tell you an awful lot about your culture and how you see the world,” she said.

Lustgraaf also included a discussion about the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that every nation in the UN has signed on to adhere to. The document states all of the individual rights that every human has. With this, Lustgraaf encouraged students to “really try and learn; don’t assume similarities” when meeting people from other cultures.

Lustgraaf ended the talk by telling attendees to “take a bigger look at the world around you.” The goal of the talk was to give students perspective, and to get them to think about how they view the world, as well as to think about issues facing countries around the world such as refugee influx and immigration.

OSIL’s next talk in the “Tomorrow’s Challenges” series is on Wednesday, Nov. 30, and will feature The Sound: Independent News for the Seacoast publisher Matt Kanner who will discuss where people get their news.