The first known New Year’s celebrations took place over 4000 years ago in ancient Babylon, in the spring on the eve of the vernal equinox, to celebrate the new moon and the rebirth of nature. Today, celebrations of New Year around the world vary, both in timing and in traditions. For the Western New Year, celebrated from December 31st –January 1st, cities around the world put on fireworks displays, have televised parties and count down until the clock strikes midnight.


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On Sunday, December 9th, seven VIU students and staff ushered in the holiday season at the Jingle All the Way 8K Race. The race was held in downtown Washington, DC and included over 4,000 participants. Participants ran past the monuments the Capitol, and other DC landmarks. Even on a chilly and damp December morning, the racers were cheerful and excited, running to benefit the local Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization which builds homes for people in need.

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All through November, VIU collected donations of non-perishable food items for the Capital Area Food Bank, a non-profit organization that provides meals for local people in need. At the end of the month, VIU Student Affairs staff delivered the donation to the Food Bank distribution center – VIU had collected 165 pounds of food!

The Capital Area Food Bank was founded in 1980 to serve the needs of the local community. Its mission is “to feed those who suffer from hunger in the Washington metro area by acquiring food and distributing it through its network of partner agencies; and educating, empowering and enlightening the community about the issues of hunger and nutrition.”

Currently, the Capital Area Food Bank serves over 2.1 million meals each month and expects to distribute over 30 million pounds of food, including 15 million pounds of fresh produce, to families in need.

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On November 27, 2012, Dr. Victoria Ashiru led her Labor Relations class on a field trip to the AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington, DC. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations is the umbrella organization of 56 U.S. labor unions, which collectively represent about 12 million Americans.

“The purpose of this field trip was to take the lecture out of the classroom and into the real world. I believe that taking the students to the AFL-CIO office will help them better understand and also get a better picture of how the U.S. labor relations systems seek to achieve major objectives of employment relationship (equity, efficiency, and voice) by striking a balance.”

AFL-CIO’s Facilities Manager, Mr. Zobrisky, served as tour guide to the VIU students and explained the history of the union as well as its current challenges with employers and the legal system. He also shared the history of the building and every single one of the 42 conference rooms that hold over 4,000 conferences a year.

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Following the growing trend toward globalizing education, last month, the U.S. Department of Education published a new international education strategy for 2012-2016.

This strategy comes on the heels of the second International Summit on the Teaching Profession held on March 14-15, 2012 in New York and the 13th annual International Education Week,November 12-16, 2012.

The goal of the 2012 Summit was to explore three specific topics: 1) developing school leaders; 2) preparing teachers for the delivery of 21st century skills; and 3) preparing teachers to work and succeed where they are most needed.The U.S. Department of Education, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Education International (EI), the global federation of teacher unions, together with U.S.-based organizations—the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Asia Society, the Council of Chief State School Officers(CCSSO), the National Education Association (NEA), and public broadcaster WNET as well as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) participated in the summit.

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