City’s international population has grown 300% in 10 years
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 30, 2016) — The Lexington Global Engagement Center (GLOBAL LEX), the city’s office of multicultural affairs, celebrated its one-year anniversary Aug. 28. During its first year the center welcomed nearly 3,000 local and international citizens, immigrants, refugees and visitors from all different backgrounds.
Lexington is home to people who speak more than 154 different languages, and who currently make up 18-20 percent of the total population. Unprecedented growth of the international population reached nearly 300 percent in just this past decade. International investment, international students, and international academics and visitors from around the world bring a wealth of economic and cultural diversity to Lexington.
The international art gallery at GLOBAL LEX has featured exhibits from Middle Eastern artists, the Confucius Institute, and 13 local artists with foreign roots.
Currently, the center is featuring authentic Japanese works on loan from the Honorary Consul of Japan, David Carpenter, the executive director of the Japanese/American Society of Kentucky. Lexington (and all of Kentucky) has strong ties to Japan—both economically and culturally—and the center’s current exhibit highlights some of the traditional art and wardrobe pieces from the eastern country.
In its first year, GLOBAL LEX has also hosted many informative speakers and events, including a “Turkish Coffee Night” and a “Q&A on Syrian refugees.”
On a day-to-day basis, the center serves the entire community by providing multilingual assistance, cross-cultural education, citizenship classes, multilingual ESL Driver’s Safety, and a connection to trained interpreters and international communities throughout the city.