OIR and Our Mission
The Office of Intercultural Relations (formerly known as Multicultural Student Services) is committed to creating a campus community that values and supports the cultural identities of each of our members. Through education and training, the Office of Intercultural Relations creates opportunities that develop and enhance internal skills and competencies that foster an inclusive environment. Our programs, activities, and events not only present unique and entertaining cultural experiences and celebrations, but also cultivates a climate of awareness, understanding, and respect of diverse individuals and groups.
A Message from the Executive Director
As our world population increases, so do the problems of mankind. Unfortunately, as United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan has soberly stated, “the bigotry, hatred, prejudice — these are the ugly symptoms of a sickness humanity has always and everywhere suffered.” It is for this reason that Intercultural Relations remains committed to preparing and empowering students to understand, and respect other cultures, and to learn how to move beyond tolerance, which states I won’t resist you anymore, and sensitivity, which states I will work at understanding that you have unique needs and preferences, to embrace diversity through education that focuses on individual and cross cultural acceptance.
Old Dominion University is an institution of diverse communities, and it is our diversity that promotes excitement, energy and a creative environment. Yet we must always strive to maintain our competitive edge by ensuring that diversity remains deeply embedded in everything that we do. […] You will see that this year we presented to the University community awesome programs and events that celebrated our diversity with food, folks, and fun. Most importantly, we created opportunities for meaningful dialogue and authentic interactions that moved us beyond our cultural comfort zones to begin the development of internal skills to foster an inclusive community.
OIR has a mandate to cultivate a climate of understanding and respect that yields authentic interactions with diverse individuals and groups. We invite you to join us in supporting a vibrant and diverse campus by joining those who are committed, cultural agents of change.
— Lesa Clark, Executive Director, Office of Intercultural Relations
The Office of Intercultural Relations strives to fulfill its commitment to students of diverse backgrounds by undertaking the following responsibilities:
- Support competitive and equitable recruitment and international orientation programs.
- Sponsor and support programs/activities which enhance the educational experience and understanding of cross-cultural impact from a global perspective.
- Establish collaborative University partnerships to ensure policies and procedures reflect our commitment to diversity.
- Design and implement critical cross cultural initiatives and programs that promote the celebration of diversity.
- Develop training and cultural modules that focus on the dynamics of social justice.