Award-winning artistic director, Isabel Cisterna, spoke to Conestoga students about global citizenship and the importance of being active in the community on March 7, at an event celebrating International Women’s Day.
“We wanted to bring awareness about global citizenship to the Conestoga community and let them know there are no boundaries, even if you are an immigrant,” said Jenny Cordoba, a first-year human services student. “There are no boundaries to become who you want to be.”
Students in the program assisted the Student Life department with the event.
“It is important because Conestoga College is multicultural,” Cordoba said. “We have international students and I think it is really important for them to understand other cultures so that we can all fit in and we can become a community.”
Cisterna founded Neruda Arts, a non-profit organization, in 2001 and serves as the artistic director. Neruda Arts celebrates diversity through the arts and supports new Canadian and emerging artists. The organization introduces audiences to music artists from different cultures around the world. The goal is “to nurture a healthy community that celebrates diversity through the power of the arts.”
In 1991, Cisterna immigrated to Canada from Chile and has been actively involved in bringing cultures together through music and arts. She spoke to Conestoga students about what it means to be a global citizen and how it is important to become involved.
“These opportunities are everywhere and being a global citizen is not about eating Mexican food, it is not about travelling to an exotic place and think that you have seen it and think that you have done it,” Cisterna said. “It is not about one week of volunteer work … It is about something much larger. I am not going to tell you what it is because I am still rediscovering year after year what it means to me. But I can tell you there are things that you can do here that will impact the world. And there are things that you can do in the world that can impact here.”
Brooke Horsley, a first-year human services student, helped out at the event and explained why International Women’s Day is important to her.
“It is inspiring women to be what they want to be and to stay strong and to be positive. Know that other women are struggling too and you can lean on other members of the community to help inspire you,” she said.
Anyone interested in volunteering at Neruda Arts can visit the website at www.nerudaarts.ca.