May 30, 2011


Whether this is your first summer in Charlotte or you’re a veteran of sizzling outdoor temperatures and arctic indoor spaces, the long days and lighter traffic make it a wonderful time to explore neighborhoods, check out our diverse cultural institutions and attend some of the events in the area. With your own bed as your hotel and readily available public transit, enjoy a low cost, mini-vacation while studying, interning and working.

First things first, enjoy the outdoors!

Right on our beautiful UNC Charlotte campus is the newly dedicated Ruth G. Shaw Trail on the Toby Creek Greenway, part of the Carolina Thread Trail ( ). For additional greenways, parks, recreational facilities and aquatic centers throughout Mecklenburg County, connect to the Park and Recreation Department:

Mecklenburg County Greenway System (Photo courtesy of John Bethune)

While you’re outside, consider attending the 2011 Charlotte Shakespeare Festival. From June 2-19, the festival presents Moliere’s comic classic “Tartuffe” (in English). The place is The Green, uptown in the shadow of the magnificent Duke Energy building. Performances are FREE.


Need more culture?

Cultural festivals abound in Spring and Fall, but there are two events that satisfy our need for a change of pace from barbecue and watermelon. On Friday, June 3, check out Azucar- A Caribbean Celebration: . By the following weekend, June 10-12, you’ll be ready for A Taste of Charlotte : . There’s no charge to stroll past the booths on Tryon Street. You can buy special tokens to use for food purchases.

Still looking for things to do?

One gateway to events and activities in Charlotte is the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority site: . There you can find links to museums, dining, conventions, concerts and special events.

Don’t forget that  is the place to find out about events at the uptown performance venues such as Belk Theatre, Knight Theatre and Spirit Square.

For more complete listings of activities and venues throughout our area, the online calendar listings of ,  ,  and  are reliable sources of information.

May 24, 2011

Friday Friends Festival- June 2

On FRIDAY, JUNE 2, from 5:45pm to 7:45pm, join hundreds of community members from all kinds of backgrounds who are interested in getting to know someone who is distinctly different from them. This event is the kickoff to what can become an ongoing friendship that YOU build through a year-long commitment to meet regularly,ask questions and share your story. No, you don't have to meet on Fridays!

The event will be held at the Levine Museum of the New South where you will also have an opportunity to view the award-winning exhibit “COURAGE: the Carolina story that changed America”.

Don’t wait until Friday to register for this FREE and rewarding community event!

Registration required by Thursday, May 26 : 

Levine Museum of the New South is located at 200 East 7th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 

The Friday Friends Festival is organized by Mecklenburg Ministries whose mission is to promote interfaith relationships, foster racial and ethnic understanding, and inspire collaboration to address social issues.

Mecklenburg Ministries is a  501(c) (3) non-profit organization of 90 member congregations including: Baha’I, Center for Positive Living, Christian, Friends, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Latter Day Saints and Unitarian Universalist.

May 3, 2011

Swedish furniture meets German opera

“The secret of IKEA’s success” (Economist, February 26, 2011)

Ikea is known for its collection of affordable contemporary design home furnishings. When it comes to larger items, one key component to its cost (and profitability) structure is efficient packaging which also makes the company environmentally friendly. This appeals to many markets, but Germany in particular.

 According to this article, Germany accounts for 15% of all sales. Ikea “has become part of German culture: in 2009 a Hamburg theatre staged an opera about it, “Wunder von Schweden” (“Miracle from Sweden”), a biography of the ‘furniture messiah’ set to Swedish folk tunes.”

Does anyone else have an example of a global commercial success which has resulted in the creation of a work of performance art?

April 4, 2011

A Student Perspective - Former Ambassador Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad visits UNC Charlotte

On Thursday, March 24, Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan and the United Nations, addressed members of the UNC Charlotte community as part of the International Speaker Series. Former student and photographer, Aaron Cress, shares his impressions and photos.

“My overall impression of Dr. Khalilzad's presentation was it was very informative from a perspective of an individual that had the ability to see inside the government and also able to visit a wide variety of the people whom that government serves. I found it very interesting when he was talking about the green initiative to get school kids to take care of trees and how, in a country that expects so much from its government, this idea was not well-accepted. The points he made about youth going in one direction and a regime going in another was bound to have a boiling point. Yet it wasn’t clear how things would unfold. We are seeing more and more countries reaching that boiling point now, and Iraq and Afghanistan maybe models to look at for stabilization. Dr. Khalilzad also spoke about the different types of government the people in these two countries had had, and how they chose the opposite form of regime when new post-conflict constitutions were written (Afghanistan having had a weak central government chose a constitutional model with strong centralized leadership. Iraq, having experienced despotic leadership chose a parliamentary system).

From this view point it makes me appreciate the governing system we have in the United States where there is executive authority able to make a quick decision if needed, but also having the legislature to slow the decision-making process, each balanced by the Supreme Court system.

I am glad I attended and believe I have learned a great deal from a perspective that isn't a history book and is still current enough that it affects me.”

March 22, 2011

Celebrate International Women's Day

On Thursday, UNC Charlotte will honor and recognize several women as part of International Women’s Day celebrations worldwide. The event will take place in the Student Union (340 GHI) from 3:00-5:00pm.

For the last 100 years, International Women’s Day is when women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their struggle for equality, justice, peace and development. The day is recognized by the United Nations and many nations have made the day a national holiday.

According to the International Women’s Day website:, “The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy.”

This year's theme for International Women's Day is Equal Access to Education, Training and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women and Our History is Our Strength is the theme for Women's History Month 2011. The following link provides information on specific initiatives of the United Nations:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the following remarks in her International Women’s Day message:
“The United States continues to make women a cornerstone of our foreign policy. It’s not just the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing. Women and girls drive our economies. They build peace and prosperity. Investing in them means investing in global economic progress, political stability, and greater prosperity for everyone—the world over. So let us mark this day by finding ways to ensure women and girls’ access to education, healthcare, jobs, and credit, and to protect their right to live free from violence.”

March 7, 2011

Receiving and Giving Back

On Saturday, March 5, 2011, 2008 UNC Charlotte graduate and Sudanese refugee, James Lubo Mijak, was profiled in a lengthy article in the Charlotte Observer in an article “Survivor Gives Back”

The article comes full circle in an account of his forced flight from Sudan in 1987 at age 8 to his arrival in Charlotte in 2001, being granted U.S. citizenship in 2007, and finally having an opportunity to visit Sudan. So often it is said that one must know where one came from to know where to go and, according to the article, it was Mijak’s visit that brought into focus his desire and efforts to raise money to build a school in the village of Nyarweng. He still needs $40,000 to reach the $180,000 goal.

February 24, 2011

UNC Charlotte Alum Reports from Spain

Spring semester. Some of you are anticipating your graduation and foray into the next step of your life. It's likely that when spring fever hits, those who are not experiencing senioritis will still have a strong urge to do something other than school - at least for a little while. A former UNC Charlotte student took advantage of his academic schedule to study in Spain, pursued an internship in Mexico during a summer and is now living and working in Spain for a while.

A former guest blogger for NI, Ron has now launched his own blog with snippets and commentary on daily life in Spain and his experiences living and working abroad. So, after you flip through a few NI posts, check out Sin Salsa Blanca for videos, pictures and glimpses of what could be your next great adventure.

For information on how to study abroad during your academic year or during the summer, visit the Office of Education Abroad website for more information.