Learn About Belgium at the Valparaiso International Center on January 23

Learn_about_BelgiumThe Valparaiso International Center (The VIC) will host a free presentation about Belgium on Friday, January 23, 2015, at 7 p.m., at the organization's headquarters, 309 East Lincolnway, Valparaiso. The event is part of The VIC's Fourth Friday series.

Belgium is a small European kingdom (only half the size of Lake Michigan) that has a long history, a multicultural society, and a key role in world politics as host to many offices of the European Union and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Deauke "Dove" Robbens will speak about her native country, focusing on its culture and how it differs from American society. She will talk about Belgium's culinary tradition (great chocolate and beer), its multilingual character (most Belgians speak at least three languages), and the everyday way of life of its citizens.

Robbens arrived in Valparaiso from her home village of Vikkele (population 140) in June 2014. She is in this country with her husband Renaat, who is CEO of the American Renolit Corporation, headquartered in LaPorte. She also brought her horse from Belgium to Indiana.

Fourth Friday at The VIC is a periodic series of presentations and discussions about various aspects of international cultures. The speakers are natives of the subject country or have some special expertise. Recent presentations have featured Myanmar, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Ethiopia, Syria, and Turkey.

Visitors to The VIC on Fourth Friday will have the opportunity to purchase a variety of fair trade items from around the world. Jewelry, handicrafts, and decorative articles suitable for Valentine's Day will be available. Fair trade products are socially and economically sustainable and provide underprivileged artisans and farmers with a fair income.

The VIC is an independent nonprofit organization that serves all of Northwest Indiana from its headquarters in downtown Valparaiso. It provides a forum to learn about different cultures through interactive events, festivals, classes, and discussion groups. The VIC also helps international residents and visitors adjust to their new surroundings through an online guidebook, "Open Doors to All." For more information on the Valparaiso International Center, visit its website at www.valpovic.org.