Spotlight on Fulbright: UI student Luke Juran makes a difference in India

As a Fulbrighter to India, I knew that I was expected to leave an indelible impact on the villages in which I conducted my research. After collecting considerable data from post-tsunami villages in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, I was finally presented with an opportunity to reciprocate the kindness that the villages had bestowed upon me.

While visiting a home in Paravaipettai, I noticed a shy, yet inquisitive girl peeking at me from a distant room. After calling for her to join the interview, I was confronted with the reason for her reluctance to join the group: the young girl, Sangeeta, was suffering from a severe cleft lip and palate.

Nearly three decades after IWP invitation, Havel finally made it to Iowa

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) was viewed with suspicion by Iron Curtain countries during the depths of the Cold War. The Eastern European writers who were allowed to participate could expect to be taken into custody immediately upon their return home, for debriefing to determine if their thinking had been polluted by contact with the decadent West.

Other writers were simply denied permission to depart for Iowa City. Among the writers from the Communist bloc who were prevented from attending, one stood out, although not immediately. The world is now mourning the Dec. 18 passing of Vaclav Havel, the widely honored first president of a democratic Czech Republic whose plans to attend the IWP were derailed 43 years ago.

UI Prof Starts as Chilean Ambassador in January

Though Roberto Ampuero will return to Iowa City today, he won’t return to his faculty position at the University of Iowa this spring semester. Instead, he’ll begin serving as the Chilean ambassador to Mexico in January.

“In the future, my students will not only enjoy having a professor who is at the same time an internationally published author but one who served as ambassador to such an important country as Mexico,” Ampuero wrote in an email.

Beyond study abroad: work, volunteer and intern opportunities around the world

In today’s globalized world, more young people are looking for jobs, internships and volunteering opportunities abroad. Student interest has increased in this area at the University of Iowa over the past few years as well.

As one of the University’s strategic initiatives is to increase study abroad and internationalization, International Programs’ Study Abroad office has added a Work, Intern, Volunteer Abroad (WIVA) advisor to assist students who are interested in this sort of experience.

Iowa universities see surge of Chinese students

Chinese students have flocked to American universities in record numbers in recent years, and officials at Iowa’s regent universities say to keep up they have added advisers and counselors, formed committees to monitor the students’ needs and pay special attention to orientation and language programs.

“China has happened to the United States, period,” University of Iowa Director of Admissions Mike Barron said. “They just simply have a lot of well-qualified students that their own universities can’t handle.”

Some novel approaches to discussing race at UI

Some novels deserve multiple readings. Some issues deserve sustained attention. And some relationships make things happen.

“Iowa and ‘Invisible Man’: Making Blackness Visible” will give audiences an opportunity to contemplate Ralph Ellison’s 1952 award-winning novel, “Invisible Man,” from a new perspective. With the help of the University of Iowa, Ellison’s fictional discussion of blackness also will join the ranks of great drama.

‘Lessons Learned in Cuba’ is topic of percussionist Spiro lecture Dec. 7

Ida Beam visitor and world percussionist Michael Spiro will present a free public lecture Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, from noon to 1 p.m. in 1117 University Capitol Centre about his extensive travel to Cuba and how those experiences have shaped his ideas about teaching.

Spiro’s presentation, titled “Lessons Learned in Cuba: Integrating Traditional Wisdom with Modern Pedagogy,” will explore how his ideas on teaching have evolved and developed as a result of his early visits to Cuba, especially in relation to his work developing cu

Green Politics conference Dec. 2-3 explores the environment from different angles

The upcoming third annual University of Iowa European Studies Conference will explore such diverse environmental topics as cinematic landscapes and green politics, modernization and ecological awareness in France, and how environmental concerns are portrayed in popular culture.

The multidisciplinary “Green Politics II” conference will be Dec. 2 and 3, 2011, in Room 315 Phillips Hall on the UI campus. All events are free and open to the public, and no registration is required.

Learn About Stanley Grants at ‘Speakeasy for Stanley’ Nov. 29

As you travel far and wide (or not) for Thanksgiving, remember that there is an opportunity for you to travel farther and wider still: with a Stanley Grant, which offers UI grad students up to $2500 for international research.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 9 p.m., come down to Sanctuary for a special Speakeasy for Stanley, where your colleagues and recent Stanley Grant recipients Kendra Greene, Lucas Mann, Inara Verzemnieks and Mieke Eerkens will offer us exciting tales of (research-based) adventure across the globe.

Ida Beam residency by percussionist Spiro includes Afro-Cuban Jazz Summit, high school Latin Jazz Festival

A weeklong Ida Beam residency by Latin percussionist Michael Spiro in the University of Iowa School of Music will include a free Afro-Cuban Jazz Summit Concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, in the Englert Theater in downtown Iowa City, and a Latin Jazz Festival for high school jazz bands, including a free concert at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in the Parish Hall of the Trinity Episcopal Church at 320 E. College St.

Locals share Thanksgiving with international students

Next week marks University of Iowa senior Linshan Li’s fourth Thanksgiving celebration. The Friends of International Students board members say more families are needed to help UI international students— such as Li — experience the American holidays.

And that’s where people such as Maria Ortega Kummer come in.

“I really hated to think that there were any students in Iowa City with no place to go on Thanksgiving,” said the Friends of International Students board member and Thanksgiving matching organizer. “Why don’t we at least try to link them for dinner?”

December 2 WorldCanvass to explore Iowa and ‘Invisible Man’

On WorldCanvass: Iowa and Invisible Man, host Joan Kjaer and her guests will reflect on the life and work of Ralph Ellison and his place among other African-American writers of his era; the staging of Invisible Man, happening first at the UI; the benefits of integrating performance into the classroom as a teaching tool; and the history of African-Americans at the UI and in Iowa.

Metropolitan Opera UI lecture series continues Nov. 30 with 'Rodelinda'

The University of Iowa Opera Studies Forum (OSF) will continue its 2011-12 lecture series coordinated with the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD theater screenings with a talk on Handel’s “Rodelinda” Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, presented by Michael Eckert. All lectures take place at 5:30 p.m. in the University Capitol Centre conference seminar room 2520D and are free and open to the public.