Tak Toyoshima, creator of the comic Secret Asian Man, spoke about the power of comic books Monday as a vehicle to deliver diversity messages during UCF’s International Breakfast – the signature kickoff event to International Education Week.

More than 300 people attended the event, which began by acknowledging the terrorist attacks in Paris last week.

Bill Merck, UCF’s chief financial officer, welcome the audience and spoke about the deep sadness he felt when he reflected upon the terrorist attacks in Paris, Beruit and other places around the world.

That’s why events like those scheduled all week at UCF are so important, he told the audience. These activities are all about learning about other cultures and beliefs and finding ways to work toward greater understanding and unity, not violence.

Toyoshima also mentioned the French cartoons published in Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper in France, about comics chronicling the pulse of society. But he kept his talk focused on using comics to help educate students and adults about diversity both in the classroom and in mainstream society. Terrorists attacked the French newspaper’s headquarters in Paris in January.

There were also performances by the Latin Jazz Quintet, the Filipino Student Association Dance Troupe and a Chinese multicolored ribbon dance.

Other activities are planned this week including an International Fair organized by the International Student Association from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.

A schedule of activities on the main campus and at regional campuses is available at www.iew.ucf.edu