Spring is trying to make its way to Iowa City and while progress has come in fits and starts, vernal renewal should be in full force once this message reaches you. We’ve got some catching up to do, so please let me fill you in on activity here in International Programs.
Between February 28 and March 2, we had a tremendous Provost’s Global Forum on the topic of Teaching Anne Frank. Events included a WorldCanvass forum, a K-12 teacher workshop, and the Joel Barkan Memorial Lecture delivered by Ronald Leopold, director of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. This year’s Provost’s Global Forum started in January, with an exhibit at the Pentacrest Museums entitled “Let Me Be Myself.” The exhibit toured the state, and attracted thousands of visitors, many of whom were middle and high school students. The activity around Anne Frank culminated April 29 with the planting of a sapling taken from the chestnut tree outside Anne’s window in Amsterdam.
Many of the speakers connected to the Provost’s Global Forum came from overseas to Iowa, an example of the world once again opening up to international travel. I myself was able to go abroad for the first time in three years—on this occasion—to the United Arab Emirates. Our colleague from the Tippie College of Business, Dimy Doresca, accompanied me. The purpose of our trip was to lay the groundwork for recruiting international students from the Middle East and Africa. Our visit consisted of meetings at a business exposition called “Trade Winds,” sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Dimy and I met with numerous commercial officers and education specialists from the Middle East and Africa, and made inroads into connecting with school principals and counselors in an effort to bring more Hawkeyes from that part of the world. We feel optimistic about our prospects, and will keep you posted on recruitment as the process develops.
Our trip was not hindered by the war in Ukraine. We continue to be heartbroken by the images coming from this horrific invasion and have made it a priority to meet with our students from that country and tend to their needs. To educate our community on the rise of authoritarianism and its effects, International Programs organized a WorldCanvass forum on March 31 entitled Corruption, the Rise of Populism, and the Future of Democracy. The WorldCanvass event was followed by a symposium April 1-2 of the same name, featuring internationally renowned scholars to discuss threats to the neo-liberal order in Eastern Europe, the Americas, and Asia.
Despite turmoil in the world, Iowans still seek to explore it with a vigor that is both refreshing and inspiring. Please see the profile of Kristin Vogel, whose fall 2020 study abroad plans to Peru were delayed only to be realized this past fall by a life-changing semester in Ecuador. These stories of student success are at the core of what International Programs represents.
Student experiences such as Kristin’s are not possible without the support of our wonderful friends. The One Day for Iowa campaign in late March was the most successful in IP’s history, while the annual board meeting of the Stanley-University of Iowa Foundation Support Organization in April underscored once again the invaluable contributions of the Stanley family to international education at the University of Iowa. We are so very fortunate to count them—and each of you—among our supporters, and wish you the very best as we navigate this ever changing world together.