Kusum Knapczyk wins 2021 ACTFL Global Engagement Initiative Award

Kusum Knapczyk, Lecturer of Hindi Language of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, has won the 2021 ACTFL Global Engagement Initiative Award. Kusum has built relationships with the Delhi Young Artist Forum, artists, dance and yoga instructors, and Indian magazines (to which students submit work) over the years and her students are able to deepen the exploration of topics like gender inequality, climate change, education, and the caste system, through these community-based experiences. Here's what Kusum's nominators had to say about her:

"Kusumji's community-engaged Hindi classes have been among the best educational experiences of my time as an undergraduate. Her creativity in arranging community interactions for us was truly endless. We had workshops with Hindi-speaking artists, poets, writers, and lyricists. Even though we could not go to India, I feel that I learned so much about life there from these community interactions. Far more than classes based on textbooks and tests, these classroom experiences really increased my motivation to learn Hindi and my sense of connection to India." - Student nominator

“Kusum Knapczyk’s insight is that language is a medium of relationship, both within a ‘culture’ and across cultures. She does not treat language classes merely as training for fluency in a new language: she treats them as opportunities for self-development as well as opportunities for development of right relationships with other users of the language...Duke students become world-ready not only because they have improved their knowledge of Hindi but more importantly because they have learned to relate collaboratively and respectfully with human being who live half-way around the globe.” - Faculty nominator

Congratulations Kusum!