The Daily Iowan

A rise in the number of students around the world seeking higher education has been seen in undergraduate programs at the University of Iowa, but graduate and professional enrollment experienced the opposite trend.

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Three years after his arrival, Yasir Mohsin is fully integrated into the University of Iowa's substantial Iraqi community, 23 graduate and post-doctorate scholars in fields from geology to dentistry, along with their families. Some have made families here; most are sponsored by an Iraqi government initiative that pays for students' educations under the strict terms that they return to Iraq upon completion of their degrees. The students started arriving in 2011, as U.S. troops marked their official exit from Iraq, under improved security conditions, on Dec. 21, 2011. Most Iraqis anticipated returning with their degrees to a safer, more peaceful country.

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A smell of beef, peppers, and onions filled a room in the University Capital Center. Bulgogi, a traditional Korean dish made of a mixture of rice, meat and vegetables, was cooked and served to those who participated in the first Korean cultural class following a relatively new partnership between the University of Iowa and a Korean institute. Since the partnership, the King Sejong Institute has taught Korean language courses, and it is trying to expand the program to focus on more cultural-related classes.

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A report released by the International Student and Scholar Services shows that since 2007, the university’s international student population has more than doubled. The population is currently at 4,360, the highest it’s been in the university’s history, and of that number, roughly 60 percent are undergraduates. Seven years earlier, there were 2,153 international students.

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The United States and Chinese governments have agreed to increase visa lengths for business, tourism, and students. Student and student exchange visas were extended from the previous one-year limit to five years. Business and tourism visas increased to a length of 10 years.

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The Univesity of Iowa Tippie College of Business is planning a new initiative to let UI students and Iowa businesses work together on expanding globally. The UI’s Institute for International Business is creating a program in which students work in groups of four or five with a small business in Iowa to analyze risk and assess markets to help build a foreign entry strategy.

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The University of Iowa will soon expand its student presence even further across the Pacific. The UI was recently selected as one of eight signature partners for the 100,000 Strong Foundation for 2014-15. The foundation, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, intends to strengthen relations between the United States and China by encouraging students to study Mandarin Chinese both here and abroad, especially the latter.

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A 30-year relationship between Hebei Province in China and the University of Iowa might soon be taken to the next level. The UI International Programs, in partnership with the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures as well as Iowa Sister States, has recently been awarded a grant to open an American Cultural Center in Hebei.

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University of Iowa law Professor Mark Osiel was recently invited to Colombia by the Republic of Colombia and the Organization of Ibero-American States, an inter-governmental organization dedicated to promoting human rights in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world. “Since this is my area of scholarship, I’m periodically invited to countries undergoing transitions from war to peace and from authoritarianism to democracy,” he said. “Their leaders and citizens, including victims’ organizations, ask me to explain the range of possibilities for what’s loosely called ‘transitional justice.’ ”

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The University of Iowa has incorporated several new events into Homecoming Week to help students get more involved and give back to the community. Another initiative to keep a larger population of students involved is also being implemented. Virtual Homecoming will allow international and domestic alumni who aren’t able to be there to experience Iowa’s Homecoming in person to be able to experience it online.

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