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IEW: international students celebrated as US foreign policy imperative

The US education sector celebrated international students, international education sector and exchange this week during International Education Week, led by the Departments of Education and State.

International Education Week is held between November 15-19. Photo: pexels

The US Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and the Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission were just two of the many bodies promoting Fulbright in the US

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reminded that the US “recognises that international education is an integral part of building and sustaining a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world”, while his colleague deputy secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman emphasised that international education is “more important today than ever”.

“From Covid-19 to the climate crisis, the biggest challenges we face cross borders, regions, and domains of expertise – addressing these challenges will require us to work together in deeper and more creative ways. The biggest opportunities before us to build sustainable and inclusive economies, to uphold human rights, are very much the same,” she said.

“When students and scholars come to the US to study, and when American students choose to study abroad, we strengthen ties between the US and other nations, and between our current and future leaders in business, academia, and public service.

“We are proud that the US remains the world’s top destination for international students,” she added, citing the finding of the 2021 Open Doors report, released this week.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona noted that as the US recovers and rebuilds from the pandemic, “we see more clearly than ever, that communities and countries are interconnected”.

Institutions across the country put on special programs, such as at the University of Kentucky’s International Student Leadership Team hosting the Korean language film Lady Vengeance, as well as a cultural fashion showcase and talent show featuring its international student community.

Brigham Young University–Hawaii celebrated IEW 2021 virtually, meaning F-1 and J-1 students engaged in their program activities including AT, CPT, OPT on the continental US could join.

Lenisi Pasi, an international student advisor from the International Student Services department said, in preparation for the week, the department “committed to the overarching goal leading us to this week: to extend our reach as far and wide as possible, bringing the world to our sphere in Moanuiākea (the vast Pacific) at Brigham Young University–Hawaii”.

“The decision to celebrate virtually with the world allows us to reach a greater audience of professional educators, administrative colleagues, new-found friends, prospective students, including newly admitted international students,” she added.

BYUH events included a virtual open mic night, as well as an online event focusing on Moanuiākea. Photo: BYUH

Lehigh University in Pennsylvania welcomed Dawn Michele Whitehead from the Association of American Colleges and Universities as its first global citizenship scholar-in-residence.

During her visit, Whitehead delivered a keynote address on developing a global civic mindset and how universities can provide learning opportunities to cultivate its development, as well as a workshop on “Making Global Learning a High-Impact Practice”.

“During International Education Week, we are able to really highlight what good teaching and learning looks like in practice and allows us to bring in someone with the kind of reputation and skill that Dawn has to help us as we think about how we engage faculty who are maybe new to working in this area with us,” Cheryl Matherly, vice president and vice provost for International Affairs at the institution, said.

“We are able to really highlight what good teaching and learning looks like in practice”

At Alabama’s Auburn University included among its IEW activities ‘pie day’, which assistant provost in the Office of International Programs, Andrew R. Gillespie said “may be especially appealing to The PIE News group”.

“We celebrate IEW and US Thanksgiving by having our international students come through for seasonal pies – apple, pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato,” he said.

“We used to do a full TG dinner in the hotel but our numbers grew too large to fit all of our international students so now we give them traditional pies.”

New York University utilised its global network based in Shanghai, Florence, and New York for a session on global perspectives on race and identity, and held an Afro Creatives event “aimed at uplifting the beautiful diversity and multiplicity of the African diaspora through art”.

Rice University held “one of its most beloved IEW traditions” the Mini World Cup Soccer Tournament, while food was also on show.

New Jersey City University celebrated the food and sounds of the Middle East, and University of South Carolina Beaufort’s cooking demonstrations featured cuisine from Turkey.

Alongside events such as those hosted by College of South Nevada across the week to promote international opportunities for both CSN students and faculty or Miami Dade College’s board game event for students, faculty and staff to learn to play Mexican Loteria, Cuban Dominoes and Pachisi, US consulates and embassies worldwide put on special events.

The US Consulate Kolkata ran a Leadership & Innovation workshop led by Fulbright alumna Sudeshna Dutta focusing on ’21st century skill development’, EducationUSA Estonia held an American English Club and the branch in Montenegro hosted a tips & tricks session for presenting in English.

The US Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and the Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission were just two of the many bodies promoting Fulbright in the US.

Like the University of Kentucky, the University of Maryland also screened movies from Korea, showing both Minari and Academy Award winner for best picture Parasite, along with a meeting of its Conversational Korean Club.

In the 75th year of the Fulbright program Maryland also held a special event for Visiting Fulbright Student and Scholars at UMD and UMD Fulbright Alumni.

Within the Fulbright portfolio, the Fulbright-Hays Program offering grants for US K-14 pre-teachers, teachers and administrators, pre-doctoral students and postdoctoral faculty, as well as institutions and organisations, also celebrated its sixth decade this year.

“Flagship programs like the Fulbright-Hays Program – now marking its 60th anniversary – promote the exchange of ideas and collaboration across the globe,” Cardona added.

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