By Karen Pearlman
Rancho San Diego — A Sept. 4 discussion on Chaldean culture and traditions will kick off a semester-long workshop series called “The Diversity Dialogues” at Cuyamaca College that aims to encourage students to embrace diversity.

The interactive workshop, from 11 a.m. until noon, is the first of six scheduled classes this fall. The dialogues are free and open to the public.

The first class will focus on the origin, culture, practices and traditions of Chaldeans in the world, and specifically in San Diego. The college enrolls many Chaldean students because of the large Iraqi refugee population in East County.

All workshops, with the exception of one on Sept. 9, are in Room I-207 in the student center on campus. The Sept. 9 class will be in Room I-104.

The hourlong workshops are designed to give students a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures, construct environments that foster cultural learning, and to apply principles of cultural competency to personal, professional or academic life.

To provide students an opportunity to further delve into diversity issues, the college this fall has developed the Cultural Competency Institute, a series of additional workshops created by Tanis Starck, director of the San Diego State University Cross-Cultural Center.

Cuyamaca students who attend at least three of the semester workshops earn a diversity and leadership certificate that will be accepted as credit at San Diego State University toward the school’s multicultural competence requirement.

Here is the schedule: “Diversity at Work,” 1:30-2:30 p.m. Sept. 9; “Social Justice,” 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sept. 26; “Standing in Solidarity: Supporting the Interests of Students on Campus,” 10-11 a.m. Oct. 2; “Cultural Narratives,” 10:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 8; and “Making Spaces Safe: Introduction to Safe Zones,” 12:30-1:30 p.m. Nov. 7.

Karen Pearlman • U-T