Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture, Kendall Heitzman, tells the story of Hiroyuki "Larry" Kasuga (M.S. industrial engineering, '53), a 93-year-old Iowa alum who is bringing alumni together in Tokyo, Japan.

This past summer, after a week of touring the University of Iowa’s study-abroad partner programs in Japan, our delegation joined Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas for an impromptu alumni gathering at a hotel in central Tokyo. We were not sure who would show up on such short notice, but about twenty alums did. The hotel had failed to provide us with any chairs, and I worried about one man in particular, who leaned lightly on a cane and in his self-introduction had mentioned that he was 92. I needn’t have worried; for over three hours, Hiroyuki “Larry” Kasuga (M.S. industrial engineering, ’53) made his way around the room, introducing himself and eager to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and to hear the latest word from his beloved Iowa.

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In his latest Dean's blog, Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas writes about the impact of international experiences.

While close to three-quarters of S&P 500 companies generate international revenue, the leaders of these companies have a long way to go in developing their global competencies. Yes, English has become the lingua franca of international business; but culture is always local. And far too few executives have the skills to be truly successful in unfamiliar cultural waters. Culture is far more than mastering a calendar of national holidays or knowing how to say hello. Negotiation varies from one culture to another, as do a vast array of expectations related to the business of getting things done, ranging from timing to process, from who decides to how to approach next steps. To be competitive, our graduates need to have the skills that allow them to approach new situations with confidence, to listen attentively to what is being said and what is not being said, and to understand multiple shades of grey. And an excellent way to gain such skills is to study, intern, or live abroad.

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We live in an age of new technology, expecting any day to wake up to yet another jaw-dropping device or a discovery that simply changes everything about the way we live and work. The rate of innovation in the modern age can be breathtaking, but technological advances have jolted humans into new and unfamiliar territory since the dawn of humankind. On the next WorldCanvass, we’ll contemplate the larger implications of the adoption of new technologies—how do they change the ways in which individuals interact, the sharing of information, the movement of people and ideas from place to place, and what does all of this mean to the shape and form of a culture? WorldCanvass guests will discuss “Encountering New Technology” at FilmScene on February 9, beginning at 5 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

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Iowa City ranked seventh in the Peace Corps’ 2015 listing of the country’s top volunteer-producing metro areas per capita. This is the first time the Iowa City metro area (defined as Washington and Johnson counties) reached the top 10 on the list of currently-serving Peace Corps volunteers.

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University of Iowa student Jeffrey Ding says he’s unsure yet how being named a Rhodes scholar will change his life, but he’s already getting more than the usual number of friend requests on Facebook. Ding, a senior from Iowa City, was selected as one of 32 American Rhodes scholars on Nov. 22 from a field of 869 applicants; 90 are named worldwide. He’ll receive $50,000 annually for two years and will have the opportunity to attend Oxford University in England.

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