WorldCanvass: The Value of an International Education

Produced by International Programs at the University of Iowa, WorldCanvass® explores topics that are international in scope and central to our understanding of ourselves as part of the global landscape. Host Joan Kjaer blends discussions of culture, history, literature, language, politics and art with live musical performances, all in an effort to illustrate and illuminate the complexities that make us distinct from one another while celebrating our common humanity. The live productions take place from 5-7 p.m. one Friday a month in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol on the campus of the University of Iowa and are free and open to the public.

Preparing Americans for a global environment and attracting future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States is the mission of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. It is also the focus of the November 12 WorldCanvass in which we’ll be discussing Iowa’s role in shaping future leaders, expanding global understanding, encouraging citizen diplomacy and securing a future in the global economy. 

We’ll begin the program with a highlight event…the presentation by UI President Sally Mason of the inaugural “International Impact Award” from the UI and International Programs to Richard and Mary Jo Stanley, who have embodied global engagement and citizen diplomacy through their life’s work and their philanthropy. We’ll talk with the Stanleys about their commitment to international education, personal experiences that have shaped their perspectives, and the impact individuals can have on the world we all inhabit. 

A musical tribute will be provided by saxophonist Kenneth Tse and pianist Alan Huckleberry—an evocative and heart-stopping set of tangos from Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla. 

UI Interim Provost Barry Butler, Nursing Professor Connie Trowbridge, Nonfiction Writing Program Director Robin Hemley, and Assistant Dean of International Programs and Director of the Office for Study Abroad Janis Perkins will discuss the myriad overseas opportunities for UI students and faculty to study, engage in research and service learning, and experience other cultures by living in other lands.

We’ll meet the winners of International Programs’ photography and essay contests as well as two Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants who are living in Iowa City and teaching Turkish and Hindi to UI students for the next year: Ezgi Bahce from Turkey and Rajiv Ranjan from India. 

We wrap up the program with a discussion of two critically important aspects of international engagement in the 21st Century…citizen diplomacy and economic development. Ann Schodde, Executive Director of the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, UI Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas, and former legislator and activist Jean Lloyd-Jones will share their thoughts on the pivotal role the person-to-person connection can play in lessening international tensions and improving cross-cultural understanding. And Kathy Hill of the Iowa Department of Economic Development and Helen Jameson of Going Global in Iowa will shed light on how Iowa businesses are embracing challenges inherent in the global marketplace. 

Production partners are UITV, the Pentacrest Museums, KRUI and Information Technology Services. UITV records WorldCanvass for later broadcast over Iowa cable television systems and for distribution on Iowa Public Radio and KRUI-FM at the University of Iowa. Live streaming is provided at the International Programs website and all programs are archived on the Public Radio Exchange.

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