Week of events to promote global education

Ed Swaray

International Education Week – designed to attract foreign students to the United States and broaden American students’ horizons – begins today with more than 35 events planned by several University colleges.

The events emphasize the priority the University places on international education, said Jennifer Schulz, communications coordinator at the Office of International Programs.

“Having international education at the University is an important aspect of our learning process,” she said.

A new award for international alumni highlights this year’s education week, Schulz said.

The Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals recognizes former students or friends of the University who are leaders in their post-University work or professional careers.

“The goal of this award is to increase the visibility of their achievements and to highlight the global impact of a University of Minnesota education,” said Gene Allen, executive director of the Office of International Programs.

Allen said a selection committee headed by Shirley Baugher, dean of the College of Human Ecology, chose nine winners to receive the first round of awards. The winners are from India, Hong Kong, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Korea, Morocco, Norway, Uganda and China.

Their names will be announced at a ceremony in Northrop Auditorium on Friday, Schulz said. She said she hopes the awards will raise the profile of the University’s international alumni and students so they will be nominated for other awards as well.

“International alumni and students have been forgotten for too long,” she said. “It is time we recognized their accomplishments.”

International Education Week began in 2000 when the U.S. departments of State and Education declared that the third week in November would encourage policies and programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future foreign leaders to study in the United States.

Since then, the Office of International Programs has supported and publicized these events at the University, Schulz said.

This year’s events include an International Film Festival -showcasing four movies Monday through Friday night – an international potluck Tuesday, a wine-tasting etiquette event and discussions on post-conflict reconstruction and development strategies and violence and trafficking of women and children.

Ali Galaydh, a Humphrey Institute professor and coordinator for the post-conflict reconstruction and development strategies discussion, said the week provides a chance to focus on the peacemaking issues many countries face.

“Peacemaking leads to the cessation of hostilities,” he said. “And peace-building helps to sustain peacemaking over time.”

Galaydh said the program will feature two speakers – one from Sierra Leone and one from Serbia – who will share their perspectives.

Daisy Santosh, an education graduate student from India, said International Education Week enhances the University’s learning environment.

“The essence of International Education Week is to give us an open mind and help us understand that people from different cultures have different needs,” Santosh said.