Greetings from Iowa City! I hope this message finds you well and that summer is off to a good start for each of you. Summer in IP means travel, and I am delighted to state that our COVID rebound continues with Iowa students spending parts of their summer in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Especially encouraging is the number of faculty-led programs running this summer, and indeed, we are grateful to Iowa faculty for reinvigorating their study abroad programs after a two-year hiatus.
To help students take advantage of these opportunities abroad, IP provides additional support through the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship program. Likewise, we are proud to announce the 12 UI winners of the Gilman Scholarship, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. To find out more about student experiences abroad this summer, consider joining our Facebook page and Instagram feed for UI abroad.
I was fortunate to conduct travel on behalf of the University of Iowa during a visit to Senegal May 20-30. The purpose of the trip was to extend and deepen key partnerships with two business schools in Dakar: CESAG and the Groupe École Supérieure de Commerce. Our colleague Dimy Doresca in the Tippie College of Business has spent several years developing these collaborations, which have included workshops on entrepreneurship as well as student, faculty, and administrative visits to Iowa and Dakar.
During the trip, we renewed our Memorandum of Understanding with CESAG and pledged to develop reciprocal programming ranging from virtual and in-person curricular development and other forms of joint programming. Dimy joined us on the trip along with Will Coghill-Behrends and Amira Nash from the Baker Teacher Leader Center in the UI College of Education. Will and Amira discussed opportunities for teacher training as part of global engagement initiatives and multilingual education programs. While exploring possibilities for Iowa students in Africa, we also spent time visiting secondary international and bilingual schools in Dakar in an attempt to recruit future Hawkeyes to our campus.
Our presence in Africa—and Senegal in particular—is bolstered by the number of Iowa alumni in Dakar. Early in our trip, we hosted a dinner for our alumni who were part of the Mandela Washington Fellows program, held every summer in Iowa City since 2016. The program is designed to familiarize young African entrepreneurs and leaders in a variety of fields with the U.S. university system, and allow them time to build networks in the fields of business, civic engagement, and public management. The Mandela Washington Fellows program falls under the direction of YALI—Young African Leaders Initiative, which has a regional office at CESAG. Currently, the UI is hosting 24 Fellows on our campus, and we are proud to build ties with such forward-looking future leaders.
In addition to welcoming the Mandela Washington Fellows, the UI also hosted the visit of a small delegation from the Chinese Consulate in Chicago near the end of June. We discussed current UI partnerships in China as well as support for current Chinese students and scholars at Iowa. While student travel to China will not resume in the immediate future, we are cautiously optimistic that study abroad opportunities will become available next year. The UI has many alumni in China and, while we have communicated with them virtually throughout the pandemic, we do hope to be able to visit these members of the Hawkeye family sometime within the foreseeable future.
Connecting with alumni has always been a large part of IP’s mission, as evidenced by our Global Alumni Spotlight Series which began last year. In June, we organized a webinar with Geoffrey D’Souza (political science, 2001) to talk about his time in Ukraine as well as his perspective regarding Russia’s war in that country. Geoffrey’s insights were quite illuminating, and we would urge you to watch the video if you were unable to attend the webinar.
In the interim, please let me thank you, our readers and friends, for all the support you lend to our global mission.
With all best wishes,