Ferris State University’s Globalization Initiative will feature Big Rapids native Sally Kantar, who is set to host a presentation, “Combating Oppression through Activism” on Tuesday, April 26 in the Interdisciplinary Resource Center (IRC) Room 120 beginning at 11 a.m.
Three years ago, Kantar moved to northern Thailand where she teaches young people on Thai-Burma border who were forced to flee their homeland, the Shan State of northern Burma. In that time, Kantar learned of the oppression of the Burmese people who for decades have suffered under the rule of a military regime in their homeland. Her presentation promises to be a compelling narrative of a young American woman’s experiences abroad and is designed to enlighten listeners to the horrific human tragedy that she has learned continues in modern-day Burma and to the work of the country’s young people to build a better future for their homeland.
“I would like people to become familiar with Burma’s history, where Burma is in the world and to the diversity of challenges and people in Burma. It’s not just a foreign place that is out of reach,” said Sally, the daughter of Ferris Languages and Literature professor Andrew Kantar. “It is a tangible location that needs help and assistance.”
Sally was born in Minneapolis, but grew up in Big Rapids. Her experiences abroad began at a young age. For two years, she and her family lived in Norway where she attended a Norwegian elementary school. Later, after graduation from Michigan State University where she earned a degree in Journalism, she spent two years in a Japanese fishing village near Nagasaki where she taught English to Japanese elementary and middle-school children as part of the JET program (Japan Exchange Teaching). From Japan, Kantar moved to Thailand to continue to teach in her current role.
Teaching abroad has proven to be an eye-opening experience for Kantar. She is eager to share her experiences as an educational opportunity for the Ferris and Big Rapids communities.
Kantar, who is visiting home in the United States visiting for a three-month period, has a strong message that will be the foundation of her presentation.
“It’s not just a hopeless cause. I hope that after hearing the presentation, and seeing the work that is being done by people in exile from Burma, that people will see that it is possible to change the situation and that it is not something that the world should just turn its back on,” she said. “It’s a situation that needs more attention and more support.”
In addition to Kantar’s 11 a.m. presentation in IRC, the day includes a panel presentation, “Global Reflections: An Open Dialog, Modern-Day Activism.” The panel discussion will consist of Kantar and Ferris faculty members Tracy Busch and Stephanie Thomson, both of whom teach courses in activism at the university. The presentation will take place on Tuesday, April 26 at 2 p.m. in FLITE Room 408, the Office of International Education.
The Globalization Initiative events featuring Kantar are free and open to the public and sponsored by the Academic Affairs, OIE, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Globalization Steering Committee.