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MUDEC Méinden Spring 2021 #5
MUDEC Méinden Spring 2021 #5
Miami UniversityJohn E. Dolibois European Center logo
MUDEC Méinden-Weekly news from the MUDEC community for the MUDEC community-#lifelongMUDEC

Spring 2021 #5

February 22, 2021

  • Black History Month in Luxembourg
  • GIC 101 Class Explores Global Impact of Chocolate Industry
  • First Miami Wellness Day Features Virtual Yoga
  • Visiting Switzerland
Odds and Ends
  • Be My Valentine!
Black History Month in Luxembourg
by Hannah Sroka, MUDEC student
Luxembourg does not have its own recognized Black History Month, but it is still important to understand the country’s history of race and race relations. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Luxembourg did not form any of its own colonies. In fact, while nations like Britain, France, Spain, and Belgium were colonizing Africa and Asia, Luxembourg was focused on securing its own independence. This does not mean, however, that Luxembourg did not participate in the colonization process.
During the late 1800s, Belgium had colonized the Congo. In 1885, the territory became known as the Congo Free State and was under Belgian King Leopold II’s complete control. Leopold brutalized the Congolese people, driven by the belief that forced labor was necessary to maximize profit. One of the Congo’s most abundant resources was rubber, and if the Congolese failed to meet the almost impossibly high collection quota, they were killed or mutilated. The severing of hands and feet was common, and an estimated five to ten million Congolese perished.
Several Luxembourgish explorers, including Nicolas Grang, accompanied the Belgians into the Congo. Many of them oversaw the construction of the first railway in the Congo; about 2,000 workers died in the process. The Luxembourgish government supported the colonial expidites of its citizens, which makes it complicit in the brutalization of the Congolese people.
Despite being a very multilingual, multinational, multicultural country, modern-day Luxembourg faces many issues regarding race relations. In a 2018 report titled “Being Black in the EU”, 50% of Luxembourgish respondents said they felt discriminated against in the past 12 months. 20% of these respondents said that the most recent instance of race-based harassment took place at work or school. Many migrants have also struggled with integration, and they do not have a lot of representation in the government.
However, there is a way for things to get better. Prominent Black Luxembourgers, for instance, could be recognized more. Jacques Leur, a prominent politician who supported trade unions and Africa, has been called “the first Black Luxembourger”. Leur could have been the first Black legislator had he not died of complications from diabetes two months before the elections. There is nothing that publicly honors him; should that change, more people could be aware of how he changed the country.
Natalie Silva, the mayor of Larochette, has said that while she has faced discrimination and racism, she believes that holding people accountable for their words and actions will help. If people work to change their perceptions of others, significant change may happen, both socially and politically.
While Luxembourg’s history with race and race relations has not always been the best, and while there seems to be a long way to go, there is a path to success that involves embracing diversity and multiculturalism.
GIC 101 Class Explores Global Impact
of Chocolate Industry
Students in Professor Juan Carlos Albarrán's GIC 101 Refugee Migration class discussed the impact of the complex chocolate industry on poor countries, specifically Ghana and Ivory coast. As part of an analysis of one company's mission, they sampled chocolates from "Tony's Chocolonely," a small company that seeks a more balanced relationship between the farmers at the bottom of the industry and large corporate businesses that control the industry. The students shown here are meeting in small groups to discuss the product.
Students sample chocolates in small group Students sample chocolates in small group Students give thumbs up as they sample chocolates in small group

First Miami Wellness Day Features Virtual Yoga

Students strike yoga poses as they face toward the instructor's screen on the wall
by Megan Fogarty, MUDEC student
MUDEC students participated in a virtual yoga session during their first Wellness day this semester on Wednesday February 17. Kelsey Hopper, a MUDEC alum and yoga instructor in Luxembourg City, led an hour-long yoga session over Zoom for seven students in the Grand Hall of the Chateau.
Wednesday marked the first of five Wellness Days. These days were implemented this semester in lieu of a week-long spring break. According to Miami's Health and Well-Being website, these days should “promote programming and best practices around the eight dimensions of wellness: Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual, Environmental, Social, Financial, and Occupational.”  No classes, labs, exams or other academic activities can be held on these days.
(Fun fact: Oxford students spent their Wellness day snowed in, while MUDEC students enjoyed 50-degree weather!)
Student Claire Van Flandern felt calm and prepared following her day off. Van Flandern, a junior Finance major, used her Wellness day to relax as she had an interview for an internship the next day. “Yoga helped me calm and center myself before spending the rest of the day preparing,” said Van Flandern. 
Maeve O’Malley, a Junior MUDEC student, also attended yoga. “This Wellness day gave me an opportunity to not worry about school or where I’m travelling for the first time in a while,” said O’Malley. “It was nice to have a breath of fresh air and focus on myself for a day.”
Daniel Riecker, Student Activity Coordinator, also offered additional activities promoting the eight Dimensions of Wellness. 
Croissants and an array of English teas were available to students following the program. Students said they enjoyed yoga and would participate again in the future!
Students pose at Market Square Masked MUDEC students pose on a bridge with Lux City in background
Travel Section Banner

Visiting Switzerland

by Megan Smith, MUDEC student
As restrictive measures tightened in France, Belgium, and Germany, MUDEC students were still able to travel outside of Luxembourg. A large group of students headed to Switzerland, where they enjoyed the nice weather and the many sites to see.
The city of Zurich offered a big city feel, where one group was able to take a tour and shop through the Swiss chocolate stores. Another group was able to ski the Swiss Alps, only 40 minutes away from Zurich. Many of the resorts in Switzerland have been able to remain open this winter season, giving MUDEC students the opportunity of a lifetime. The weather made it an ideal weekend to enjoy the slopes, hiking trails, and city.
Switzerland scene Ski slope in switzerland Switzerland plaza
Odds and Ends
Group of students at round table, wearing masks and working on their valentines 2 students seated at table hold up their valentines 2 students seated at table hold up their valentines
Be My Valentine!

Students enjoyed a relaxing Valentine's Day at the castle with a postcard writing session. Sometimes there's nothing like a handwritten note home to express one's love and appreciation!
Château & Administrative Hours
Winter view of the Château de Differdange, where Miami's Luxembourg campus, the John E. Dolibois European Center, often abbreviated to MUDEC, is located

Château Hours

Monday-Thursday: 8:00-22:00

Friday:                     8:00-17:00
Saturday, Sunday: Open variable hours;                                     students, please                                           check Canvas

Administrative Hours

Monday-Friday:  8:30-12:30

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