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K-State Today

October 23, 2023

Connecting cultures: Wesch builds global bridges through academic exchange

Submitted by Michael Wesch

During a recent field research trip to study the Cao Đài Mother Goddess festival in Southern Vietnam, Michael Wesch, professor of anthropology, created and posted a five-minute video to showcase the beauty and significance of the festival. The video was shared nearly 200 times, mostly by Cao Đài adepts grateful for the way Wesch captured the spirit of the festival. 

After the festival, Wesch traveled with five of his Cao Đài friends to South Korea to present at the World SangSaeng Forum, featuring top scholars and members of new religions across Asia.  

At the conference, Wesch forged relationships with several prominent Asian religious organizations and initiated plans for future academic exchanges. These include hosting a conference on Asian New Religions at K-State in fall 2024 as well as developing a Pan-Asian study abroad program for K-State students in spring 2025, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Cao Đài.

Building on his February 2023 study abroad trip to Vietnam, Wesch continues bridging cultures and religions through digital media, scholarship and high-impact, cross-cultural experiences.