The whirlwind of activity in International Programs this past month has put me in the holiday mood! November in our office centers around International Education Week, but given the number of events we had planned, I believe a more accurate title would be that of International Education Month.
This year, the festivities started with our WorldCanvass program on November 7, where we conferred our annual International Impact and Global Student Awards. Continuing to grace this IP event, Joan Kjaer interviewed Andy Code, who was honored for his work in promoting health care, education, and social justice in the developing world. The generosity of Andy and his wife Susie deserves prestigious recognition, and the ceremony was made even more special by holding it in the Stanley Museum of Art. Joining Andy were our Global Student Award winners, Ryann Hubbart and Frankline Matanji. Ryann is an undergraduate student who completed a Critical Language Scholarship in Jordan and is now serving as a peer mentor in the UI Arabic program. Originally from Kenya, Frankline is pursuing his doctorate in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. In his advocacy for international students, he has held a number of crucial leadership roles on campus.
The week of November 7 was capped by the dedication of the International Ballroom on Friday, November 11. President Wilson led the list of speakers that included representatives from the Iowa Memorial Union, the International Student Advisory Board, Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate and Professional Student Government, and International Programs. These groups have partnered to rename the 2nd floor ballroom in the IMU to honor the international students and scholars who have enriched our institutional mission for nearly three centuries. This recognition comes in the form of flags representing the countries sending international students and scholars to Iowa this year. As of this fall, there are 106 flags that proudly highlight the global reach of the University of Iowa. The banners complement those adorning the IMU footbridge during the Bridging Our World event, held each fall and spring. Having a permanent, indoor display that celebrates the contributions of our international students and scholars underscores the centrality of global education at the University of Iowa. The flags are glorious, so please take a moment to visit the International Ballroom the next time you are on campus.
WorldCanvass and the dedication of the International Ballroom constituted the build-up to International Education Week, held November 14-18. The UI hosted over 30 events, including activities organized around writing, inclusion, food, music, dance, and scholarship. This year’s theme was “Growing Global Hawks.” In this vein, a webinar entitled, “World Education, Our Stories from Asia and the Pacific Islands,” sponsored by IP’s Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, was especially noteworthy. The panel was entirely student-led and was among the most popular of all the virtual events we have organized over the last three years. Hearing narratives from students in a variety of fields who spent time pursuing their research and teaching in places such as the Marshall Islands, Singapore, and Japan helped to personalize the experiences and made the idea of pursuing international education more accessible. IP plans to hold more student-oriented webinars in an effort to inspire more Hawkeyes to go abroad in the future.
During International Education Week, IP was delighted to host Mr. Bernie Burrola who gave the keynote address for our Commitment to Internationalization Lecture Series. Bernie is a former U.S. State Department official who now serves as Vice President of the Office for International, Community, and Economic Engagement at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. His talk, entitled, "Combatting Nationalism: Why the World Needs More Internationalization," examined the backlash against globalization while outlining a series of initiatives to foster collaboration as a means to solve worldwide problems. Bernie’s visit, as well as several of the events held during International Education Week, were made possible by the Stanley-University of Iowa Foundation Support Organization (SUIFSO). If for no other reason, International Education Week is important because it allows us to showcase the generosity and impact of the Stanley Support Organization.
Culminating a very busy month was the Fall Break Meal Event on November 21. Modeled on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, this activity invites international and domestic students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the Iowa City community, to enjoy the most American of traditions as the fall break begins. The meal provides an opportunity to pause from the semester and make new friends. We were delighted by this year’s high turnout (over 170 guests) and are deeply grateful to the many volunteers in IP as well as the Office of the Dean of Students who staffed the event. Special thanks go to Shuhui Lin and Brandon Paulson from International Student and Scholar Services for the time they took to plan the meal. Final appreciation is reserved for our dear friend Beverly Brandau who annually supports the fall break meal through her unfailing generosity.
My hope is that each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving where you could catch up with family and friends while decompressing just a bit. The end of the semester and winter break are fast approaching, so please let me wish everyone a smooth conclusion to the fall term and a peaceful holiday season.
All my best,
International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement. IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.