International Accents

E.g., Thursday, November 27, 2014
E.g., Thursday, November 27, 2014

The WiderNet Project, a service project within The University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science, focuses on the improvement of educational technology systems by helping primarily universities, secondary schools, and hospitals worldwide furnish people with access to computers, digital information, and the Internet.

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A new course has been developed for Spring 2010, (008:164) entitled “Topics in Transnational Literature: Journeys Across Cultures in African and Caribbean Literature and Film.” In this class, Professor Marie Kruger will explore many kinds of journeys through film and literature.

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WorldCanvass received a few interesting things to broadcast for the holidays this year: a talking drum, internet in a box and a childrens’ book about HIV/AIDS. This can only mean one thing: a trip to Africa!

The new International Programs public programming initiative explores topics that are international in scope and central to our understanding of ourselves as part of the global landscape.

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Last weekend’s marathon was an example of the extraordinary international activity at the University.  Sometimes, with so many things going on (not to mention classes and research and day-to-day business), it seems that campus events compete with each other for more-or-less the same audience, making it difficult to gather more than a handful of people in the room even for special guest speakers.  But last weekend, despite the high level of activity, there were groups of 40 to 50 or more at many of the events we sponsored!

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Those of you who are familiar with Cliff Missen’s WiderNet project will not be surprised that its eGranary Digital Library (sometimes known as “internet in a box”) has made a difference to many adults and children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other parts of the world. For those of you who are not familiar with the eGranary project, you might be interested to see a short clip that highlights the difference it has made to a small school in Nigeria and to the children whose lives have been impacted by the resources to which they now have access.

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Thinking about the majority of students who stay on campus during their years at the University, it is intriguing to consider what leads those nearly 20% of UI undergraduates who study abroad to make that decision and to stick to it. Our own Mark Salisbury has been exploring the factors that shape intent to study abroad for some time. One of the findings of Mark’s research is that women are much more likely to study abroad than men because of gender differences in how students respond to interactions with their peers and to the academic environment.

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The annual Open Doors Report is published today by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The report shows that international student enrollment at the University of Iowa continues to grow in line with national trends, but is substantially ahead in areas such as international undergraduate student enrollment. While international student enrollment grew by 8% nationally, at the University of Iowa we saw an increase of 10.5% last fall, with an impressive increase of about 40% at the undergraduate level.

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As President Obama visits China for the first time today, it is an opportune time to remember that the University of Iowa has strong ties to China in areas ranging from the research activities of our Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS) and our Confucius Institute, led ably by Professor Chuanren Ke, to the undergraduate education we are currently providing well over 600 students from China.

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Joan Kjaer kicked off WorldCanvass before a full house on November 13, 2009, for the inaugural program focused on human rights. The Old Capitol Senate Chamber was alive with intrigue as the guests discussed important issues in international human rights.

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The tide now rolls in peacefully along the southwest shores of Leone, Samoa, a stark contrast to the violent waves that sent the island into chaos after a violent tsunami struck early last week. Recent UI graduate Kelly Berger, who teaches on the South Pacific island, saw the devastating storm and its aftermath.

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We are having the wrong public debate about global warming — and we are running out of time to get it right. It’s important to discuss carbon caps and taxes or other mitigation strategies, but a good chunk of the population views these as restrictive and burdensome. We miss a larger and more affirmative point if we only have that discussion.

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This music video was made to commemorate the 2009 visiting writers for the International Writers Program at the University of Iowa. Directed by Azeem Sajjad, this music video stars the writers themselves and features Fflur Dafydd as the singer. Camera work was done by Lauren Haldmen, and edited by Vicente Garcia.

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The English Corner, a part of Bridges International, is designed to change all that. The group sponsors a range of activities — everything from a tailgate to a New York City trip to Catch Phrase game nights — in an effort to help form connections between students hailing from different countries.

“It is an opportunity for American students and international students to communicate in a casual setting to not only improve English proficiency but to build friendships,” said Stephen Wong, a third-year UI pharmacy student.

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Of average height and build with salt-and-pepper hair, Jonathan Kuttab’s physical qualities may not have been too imposing, but his words quickly captivated his audience as he began his speech: “Can there ever be peace in Palestine?”

And he answered with a emphatic “Yes.”

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Lisa Weaver’s third-floor office is still bare. She only began teaching journalism at the UI in August. She moved to Iowa City in June. Before that it was Pittsburgh. Yet even before that it was China, Indonesia, East Timor, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Weaver spent most of her extensive journalism career in China, where she went in 1987. Now, she’s using that experience in her class on international journalism.

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International Mondays Fall 2009 Lecture Series

All lectures take place from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A.

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I had the opportunity recently to attend two events that are exemplary of the ways in which International Programs works to connect our campus and community in Iowa to the globe. The first, a lecture by Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, a native of Ethiopia and distinguished professor at Purdue University, was exemplary of the connections between human rights issues and agricultural science.

The other event—actually a full-blown conference, the Obermann Humanities Symposium (co-sponsored by International Programs)—highlighted a new breed of public scholar who champions engaged humanities research.

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Watch an interview of 12 African women leaders speaking about gender issues, their encounter with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their fight for women’s rights.

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Whenever mentioning “1989”, people in the West instantly think about the protesting students in Tiananmen Square. In fact, although starting in Beijing and led by the students there, the democratic movement was a nation-wide event, drawing together people from all walks of life.

Twenty years on, I remember vividly every detail of that day when I organized a demonstration among the workers from my Nanjing factory in support of the movement. It was Sunday, May 28, a week before the crackdown in Beijing.

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For many UI students, winter break means home, family, and a reprieve from classes. For others, the month off means visiting a foreign country, more than 1 billion new faces, and three weeks of intensive, hands-on learning.

Expanding its course offerings this year, the INdIA Winterim program provides students with the opportunity to study issues of social justice and entrepreneurship in a developing country.

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UI Associate Professor of history Laura Gotkowitz was recently awarded the American Historical Association’s John E. Fagg prize for 2008 for her book, A Revolution for Our Rights: Indigenous Struggles for Land and Justice in Bolivia, 1880-1952.

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Thousands of UI students can struggle when trying to pick out a major. That includes senior Abby Milloy, who felt that there might be something missing from the UI’s. So she created her own.

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Nine students from The University of Iowa ‘s College of Pharmacy were among 17 UI students who got to literally step into their subject matter and make a difference. Students learned how to partner with nonprofit organizations and local communities to address health care, social services, and environmental quality needs in less developed countries. After spending the semester planning service projects, the students traveled as part of a project team to Xicotepec, Mexico for a week in the spring of 2009.

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About a week ago, I attended an informal brown-bag lunch presentation by Professor Stephen Vlastos based on his research on post-war Japanese national myths.  The presentation was the first in the fall roster of events offered by IP’s Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS), led by Professor Sonia Ryang.  These presentations are valuable to me as dean since they allow me to hear about the vibrant research and teaching efforts of University of Iowa faculty (and, perhaps less surreptitiously than I like to imagine, to gauge the interest these events muster!).  I was pleased to see that th

A pile of hundreds of bubble-wrapped computers lurks in the UI Communications Center waiting to be shipped away. Destination: Africa.

For the UI-based Widernet Project, established in 2000, delivering more than $500,000 worth of equipment is practically second to delivering accessible information.

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