MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2017 Activities by Category - Multicultural Activities

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"Chinese Mayor": Retooling China's Heartland

Christopher Leighton, Associate Professor of History

Feb/02 Thu 06:00PM-09:00PM E51-285

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Prereq: None

While the prosperity of coastal China’s export-oriented economies have captured international attention, much of the country’s old industrial heartland lags behind. Plagued by pollution, declining heavy industry, and corruption, how can these cities be transformed? Preserving the stability and prosperity of China will rely on how well that question can be answered. 

Zhou Hao’s 2014 documentary, “The Chinese Mayor,” offers and intimate view of this problem and a frank picture of Chinese government in action. Granted unusual access to Geng Yanbo, the 54 year old mayor of Datong, a prototypical rustbelt city—China’s most polluted—of 3.5 million, it follows his struggles to transform the city. The mayor grapples with local businesses in decline, angry and dispossessed residents who protest, and complicated national-level politics.  

Participants will watch a documentary film, share a meal of Chinese food, and discuss these questions. No prerequisites; all welcome.  Please sign up here.


Sponsor(s): History
Contact: Christopher Leighton, E51-288, 617 324-5134,

African Methodist Episcopal Worship

Ora Gladstone

Jan/29 Sun 09:00AM-12:00PM Lobby W11 - RAC, No jeans please

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/27
Prereq: RSVP 617-610-1060

Join the Addir Fellows Interfaith Dialogue on our visit to St. Paul's AME.

Meet 9:00am Lobby - W11.  RSVP -, 617-610-1060

Sponsor(s): Chaplain to the Institute, Addir Fellows Interfaith Dialogue
Contact: Ora Gladstone, W11-035, 617-610-1060,

American Sign Language Beginner Class

ASL and Deaf Culture Officers

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/08
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions
Fee: $20.00 for enrollment

The ASL and Deaf Culture @ MIT is proud to announce that we will be offering a beginner's ASL class during IAP.

A series of 8 classes will be held on-campus (location TBD) on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30PM-5:00PM, starting January 9, 2017. The list of dates are: Jan. 9, Jan. 11, Jan. 16, Jan. 18, Jan. 23, Jan. 25, Jan. 30, Feb. 1.

Enrollment is limited and we are requiring that ASL students pay $20 (once) to participate in the course. If this price prevents you from being able to join the class, please get in touch with

This ASL class will be taught by a Deaf instructor who has taught ASL at MIT several times in the last few years.

If you are interested, please sign up:

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education

Sponsor(s): American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Club
Contact: American Sign Language and Deaf Culture officers,


Jan/09 Mon 03:30PM-05:00PM on-campus TBD
Jan/11 Wed 03:30PM-05:00PM on-campus TBD
Jan/16 Mon 03:30PM-05:00PM on-campus TBD
Jan/18 Wed 03:30PM-05:00PM on-campus TBD
Jan/23 Mon 03:30PM-05:00PM on-campus TBD
Jan/25 Wed 03:30PM-05:00PM on-campus TBD
Jan/30 Mon 03:30PM-05:00PM on-campus TBD
Feb/01 Wed 03:30PM-05:00PM on-campus TBD

ASL and Deaf Culture Officers

Arabic 101

Jad A Elmourad, Undergraduate, Al Baraa Abd Aldaim, Undergraduate

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Limited to 50 participants
Attendance: Attending all sessions is strongly preferred
Prereq: None

The goal of this class is to develop proficiency and ability to communicate in Modern Standard Arabic using listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. By the end of the class, the student is expected to:

1- Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of Arabic phonology and script

2- Demonstrate an understanding of basic grammar of contemporary Arabic: The Verb, Subject, adjective, masculine and feminine.

3-Demonstrate basic skills in reading and speaking Arabic.

The class goes over an introduction to Arabic dialogue and sounds, the Arabic alphabet, and the structure of simple Arabic sentences + Arabic vocabulary through different topics including: greetings, family, food and clothing + basic Arabic sentences: the verb, subject and adjective +familiarity with some aspects of the Arab world culture.

The course also refers to Alif Baa, and Al-Kitaab fii Ta ‘allum al-‘Arabiyya textbooks.

Please sign up here

Contact: Jad El Mourad, elmourad@MIT.EDU

2nd session

Jan/10 Tue 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD
Jan/12 Thu 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD
Jan/13 Fri 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD
Jan/17 Tue 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD
Jan/19 Thu 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD
Jan/20 Fri 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD
Jan/24 Tue 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD
Jan/26 Thu 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD
Jan/27 Fri 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD
Jan/31 Tue 08:00AM-09:30AM Location TBD

Al Baraa Abd Aldaim - Undergraduate

1st session

Jan/10 Tue 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD
Jan/12 Thu 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD
Jan/13 Fri 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD
Jan/17 Tue 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD
Jan/19 Thu 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD
Jan/20 Fri 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD
Jan/24 Tue 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD
Jan/26 Thu 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD
Jan/27 Fri 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD
Jan/31 Tue 03:00PM-04:30PM Location TBD

Jad A Elmourad - Undergraduate

Bamboo Bicycle Frame Making Workshop

David Wang, Founder of Bamboo Bicycles Beijing

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/09
Limited to 12 participants
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions
Prereq: None!

Workshop Overview

In the workshop everyone will make four bamboo bicycle frames and participate in a discusison about how the experience of building a bicycle and the bamboo bicycle itself might be used in different contexts. 

The workshop is broken down into three super fun stages: 1) Prepare and design your frame, 2) build the frame, 3) install bike components and go for a ride!

Please note that we have a maximum of 12 people in the workshop, but will build only 4 frames in each workshop. So, it might be best to do this with a friend so you can share the frame!

Photos from the 2016 Class!

What is a bamboo bicycle?

A bamboo bicycle is just another bicycle. However, we believe it’s special because making a bamboo frame is an accessible and fun experience regardless of ones skill level. In addition to this bamboo frames are: 1) light (~1.7kg); 2) vibration dampening; and 3) simply beautiful. The first bamboo bicycles was made in the 1890s, and in the past 10 years more and more people have been exploring how to use this material to make unique and personalized bicycles.

About the instructor

The course instructor, David Wang, has taught over 400 people to make their own bamboo bicycles in 2-day workshops in Beijing (Bamboo Bicycles Beijing). After arriving at MIT as a student in Urban Studies and MIT Sloan, David is excited to work across the MIT community to explore the potential of bamboo bicycles as method for building community and empowering young people.


Sponsor(s): MIT-SUTD International Design Center, Urban Studies and Planning
Contact: David Wang, 617 895-8280, DWANG8@MIT.EDU

Bamboo Bike Workshop!

Jan/17 Tue 09:00AM-05:00PM MIT IDC, wear clothes that can get dirty; bring music!
Jan/18 Wed 09:00AM-05:00PM MIT IDC, wear clothes that can get dirty; bring music!
Jan/19 Thu 09:00AM-01:00PM MIT IDC, wear clothes that can get dirty; bring music!
Jan/20 Fri 09:00AM-01:00PM MIT IDC, bring a helmet!

We will make 4 bamboo bike frames. It will consist of a two intensive build days, a detailing/personalization half day, and a half day to install components and RIDE!!!


David Wang - Founder of Bamboo Bicycles Beijing, Candy Yang - Assistant, Prima Li - Community Leader from Beijing

Experiencing How Jews Worship

Ora Gladstone

Feb/03 Fri 04:00PM-08:00PM Meet in Lobby W11

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 02/01
Prereq: RSVP and cell #-need to know who's coming

Join the Addir Fellows Interfaith Dialogue as we visit 2 very different Friday night/welcoming-the-Sabbath services: 1) 4:40pm Young Israel of Brookline (Orthodox/Traditional - ID required, cell phones off, no electronics/photos, women-no slacks). 2) 6:15pm Temple Beth Zion (Spiritual, New Age, song-filled) followed by a kiddush/light meal.  Call Ora 617-610-1060 to participate and for meeting instructions.

Sponsor(s): Chaplain to the Institute, Addir Fellows Interfaith Dialogue
Contact: Ora Gladstone, W11-035, 617-610-1060,

Experiencing How Muslims Worship

Ora Gladstone

Jan/27 Fri 11:45AM-03:00PM Meet in Lobby W11

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/25

Join the Addir Fellows Interfaith Dialogue on our trip to the I.S.B.C.C. (Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center) for the weekly sermon, Jum'ah/Friday prayer, and a tour of this beautiful center. Women head scarf and no bare arms please.  So we know you are coming - at 617-610-1060 by 1/27/16

Sponsor(s): Chaplain to the Institute, Addir Fellows Interfaith Dialogue
Contact: Ora Gladstone, W11-035, 617-610-1060,

Ikebana: The Art of Japanese Flower Arrangement

Hiroko Matsuyama

Feb/03 Fri 02:00PM-03:30PM E40-496, Pye Conference Rm

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/11
Limited to 20 participants
Fee: $10.00 for Materials (due at time of registration)

Create your own flower arrangment with Hiroko Matsuyama, instructor from the Ohara school of Ikebana, in an IAP course on this ancient Japanese art.

Registration: to register, please contact Christine Pilcavage at Your registration is not complete unless you have paid your $10 registration fee. You will forfeit your registration if you do not pay by Wed. January 11th and your place will be given to the next person on the waiting list

Sponsor(s): Center for International Studies, MIT Japan Program
Contact: Christine Pilcavage,

ISO Guide to American Culture

Dana Riechman, International Student Programming Administrator & Advisor

Jan/31 Tue 03:00PM-04:00PM E19-202, 50 Ames St

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Prereq: none

Why do Americans say "Hi, how are you?" and do not wait for the answer?

The MIT International Students Office staff will answer this question among others with a brief introduction to American culture (or refresher if you are already familiar). 

Open to all students, spouses & partners, faculty, and staff.

Contact: Dana Riechman, E18-219S, 617 253-3795, RIECHMAN@MIT.EDU

KYUDO: Japanese Archery

Joyce Wu, Jim Boorstein, Sam Kanner

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Limited to 15 participants
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions
Fee: $20.00 for instruction

Kyudo, or Japanese archery, means the "way of the bow" and was considered the highest discipline of ancient Japanese samurai. Kyudo is based on standing Zen meditation used by Zen Buddhist monks as a means of cultivating self-awareness. Beginners will receive instruction in the basic form of kyudo.  Training will take place on the first day (1/14), followed by actual shooting on the second day (1/15). People are required to come on Saturday to be trained in order to shoot on Sunday.

Cosponsored by Byakko Kyudo.

Sponsor(s): MIT Japan Program, Center for International Studies
Contact: Christine Pilcavage, E40-431, x8-8208,


Jan/14 Sat 01:00PM-05:00PM MAC Court

Kyudo training


Jan/15 Sun 09:30AM-03:30PM Rockwell Cage, North Court

Kyudo shooting

MIT Language Conversation Exchange presents: Intro to Languages

MIT Language Conversation Team

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

Get a taste of a new language - have you always wanted to try to learn Russian, Hebrew, French or Italian hand gestures? Now is your chance!

The MIT Language Conversation Exchange is committed to building a community that helps language enthusiasts meet native speakers and exchange languages and cultures. All MIT community members welcome. Visit us at

Contact: MIT Language Conversation Team, E23-441, 617-253-1614,

Intro to Italian Hand Gestures

Jan/09 Mon 03:00PM-04:00PM 8-219

Learn the most important aspect of communicating in Italian - using your hands! You'll learn the most useful, unique and fun ways to express yourself without ever speaking a word.

Sylvie Scholvin

Old and New in Hebrew

Jan/17 Tue 03:00PM-04:00PM 8-219

Hear how this biblical language came back to life and learn some words, old and new, in Hebrew.

Timna Churges

From Russia with Love

Jan/23 Mon 03:00PM-04:00PM 8-219

Learn how Russian is more related to other European languages than you would think.

Sylvie Scholvin

Excuse My French

Jan/30 Mon 03:00PM-04:00PM 8-219

Perfect your pronunciation and pick up a few more key words in French.

Charly Jouve

MIT Language Conversation Exchange presents: Lunch around the World

MIT Language Conversation Exchange team

Jan/11 Wed 01:00PM-02:00PM 14N-417
Jan/18 Wed 01:00PM-02:00PM 16-644
Jan/25 Wed 01:00PM-02:00PM 16-644
Feb/01 Wed 01:00PM-02:00PM 16-644

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Repeating event, participants welcome at any session
Prereq: none

Weekly lunch mixer for language enthusiasts to meet native speakers and exchange about language and culture! All MIT community members welcome. Native speakers of the following language will be present: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Hebrew, Punjabi.

Please let us know if you are coming at

Sponsored by Graduate Student Life Grants, Committee on Race and Diversity, and Global Studies and Languages

Sponsor(s): Global Studies and Languages
Contact: The MIT Language Conversation Exchange Team, E23-441, 617 253-1614,

The Japanese Tea Ceremony

Kyoko Wada

Jan/28 Sat 02:00PM-03:00PM W20 306

Enrollment: Limited: First come, first served (no advance sign-up)

Join us for a Japanese tea ceremony performed by Mrs. Kyoko Wada, who has been studying the Japanese Tea Ceremony for more than 30 years. She will share "the happiness of the tea ceremony" with you and invite you to take this opportunity to leave your worries and problems at the door. Be transported to Japan by the calligraphy, ceramics, flowers, lacquer, and incense. Experience the four elements of the "way of tea:" harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. Imagine how they can bring harmony into our daily interactions. Take the first step of what can become a lifetime of study and meditation. No limit but advance sign up required (see contact below) Signup by: 28-Jan-2017 Contact: Kyoko Wada,

Sponsor(s): SpousesandPartners@mit
Contact: Kyoko Wada, 20 Chimneys - W20-306,