The University of Iowa

Dean's Message: Happy New Year

January 3rd, 2022
Happy New Year in scrabble letters

Dear all,

The close of the semester and the calendar year proved to be quite active in International Programs. On December 1, we welcomed Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale University who delivered a virtual talk entitled “History and Freedom, the Past, Present, and Future of Tyranny.” The lecture was followed by a virtual roundtable discussion on December 9 with scholars from Europe and the Americas that dealt with authoritarianism and threats to democracy across the globe.

IP is committed to making this type of programming available to promote conversation on critical issues of global importance. Such issues naturally involve COVID, and we are monitoring news of the Omicron variant closely. At this point, it is too early to tell how much of a disruption the new variant will cause for spring study abroad programming, but the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students will be the priorities as we move into the new semester. Students are eager for international experiences, and we will do our best to meet demand given the restrictions that the pandemic continues to impose.

Always keeping an eye on the future, our U.S. Passport Facility has already become quite popular in the few weeks since its opening. Faculty, staff, students, and members of the Iowa City community have readily taken advantage of the passport office’s resources to apply for passports or renew existing ones. As the office sits directly across from mine, I can say that it is a delight to see so many Iowans anxious to travel about the world.

Likewise, it is a pleasure to see our study abroad alumni build upon their global experiences to advance their careers. The current profile of journalist Lauren Smiley is one such example of how openness to different cultures can shape our most important choices. Lauren’s story underscores the impact of our global mission, as does that of Hao Zhou, an international MFA student, whose prize-winning film Frozen Out has already won the Student Academy Award. These profiles demonstrate the reach of the University of Iowa and its commitment to international education, research, and creativity. 

As always, you, the friends of International Programs, inspire us to extend this reach and commitment. In extending our deepest gratitude for your support in 2021 and your continued backing in 2022, please let me close with a video to express our warmest best wishes for the holiday season and the year ahead.


Russ Ganim signature