A Multicultural Perspective from Meramec

Posted on 05 December 2017 by admin

Meramec’s International Education Week features speakers passing knowledge from other cultures


By: Chris Hutson
Staff Writer


5Scholars and academics joined students on campus Nov. 13 and 14 for International Education Week, a special event designed to help others learn about the international experience of STLCC’s broad student body.

Hosted in BA 105, students and faculty alike were able sit in and listen to the many speakers talk of their times in different countries, the research they have been working on that affects our community, their personal struggles and their aspirations for the future.

Alijini Karamechic-Muratovic, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor in the department of anthropology at Saint Louis University, had much to say about the mental health issue running rampant in the Bosnian Community. Karamechic-Muratovic is a member of the large St. Louis Bosnian community and considers herself a “liaison.”

“There are great mental health needs in the Bosnian community that remain unresolved. That many of them are still not talking about it, and more importantly that some of this trauma that first generation Bosnian have experienced is really being passed onto the kids,” said Karamechic-Muratovic

According to Karamechic-Muratovic, she was brought on by SLU to spearhead many of her projects because she is a familiar face in the Bosnian community and doesn’t have the language barrier. Karamechic-Muratovic said there are many Bosnian Americans who do not talk about their experiences in the months following their move to St. Louis, especially those who are survivors of Srebrenica, where three thousand men and boys were separated from women, shot and thrown into a mass grave. There are estimated to be five hundred remaining survivors.

“I think there are many ways [the St. Louis community can help],” said Karamechic-Muratovic. Some service projects, we’ve been talking about the elderly for instance who are relatively isolated, never learned the English language, who would probably appreciate the opportunity to participate in activities to get out, just socialization
in general.”

Meramec’s own Dirk Voss, Ph.D., also had much to say about his own scholastic journey. As the lead professor of African studies at Meramec, Voss used his panel to discuss why he started African studies at Meramec.

Voss said he started the African studies program after he noticed his students had the Renaissance, Italy, America and WWII in their curriculum but nothing about Africa. At the time there were no teachers at Meramec qualified to teach African studies, so when his sabbatical came up he took it upon himself to get trained in the curriculum and then bring that knowledge back to STLCC.

Voss also described his recent trip to Germany and why we should look to them for higher education. According to Voss there are several great universities abroad that offer just as excellent an education as some prestigious Missouri colleges for a fraction of the cost. Voss also voiced some concerns regarding the recent change that is happening in the German school system.

“When I grew up and went to school there…teachers, whether it was high school, middle school or university professors got a lot of respect and status. But that’s eroding in Germany too,” said Voss.

Voss said that he believes that Germany is slowly becoming like America in that before just commanding respect of others was enough, but money is slowly playing a much bigger part in what determines status or even character in an individual.

Student Michael Hathaway attended Voss’s presentation.

“I enjoyed that the presentation was funny but also knowledgeable” said Hathaway.


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