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Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

As institutions work to internationalize their campuses, gathering leaders from various offices to share ideas can be difficult. NAFSA webinars present a unique opportunity to bring multiple departments together to collaborate on university-wide issues related to international education.

“Your challenge on a big campus is how to get people involved and how to get them to take ownership of something that they don’t view as their responsibility,” said Joe Potts, associate dean of International Programs and director of International Students and Scholars at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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Sargent ShiverI wish to note the passing yesterday of Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. For many of us who are returned volunteers, it is our commitment to Peace Corps that led us to the international education profession, which I view as grounded in the same values of peace, collaboration, and international understanding.

In my case, these same commitments led me to my “first career” on Capitol Hill, working for more peaceful, constructive U.S. policies in Latin America, and then back to the Peace Corps, when President Clinton honored me by naming me the Peace Corps’ director for Latin America and Caribbean programs.  It was a natural and fortuitous segue to my second—dare I say final?—career in public policy advocacy for international education at NAFSA.

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Greg Mortenson
Image courtesy Central Asia Institute

Last night at the National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington, DC, I had the privilege of listening to Greg Mortenson speak passionately about his life’s work of building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. You may know him as the author of the bestsellers Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at A Time and Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is also co-founder of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute and founder of Pennies for Peace.

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Bill & Linda GatesAt a ceremony at the Library of Congress last Friday, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock congratulated this year’s recipients of the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, Bill and Melinda Gates. The Gates’ received the prestigious prize in recognition of their philanthropic work to improve the health, education, and well being of people around the globe, as well as their leadership in inspiring others to practice philanthropy.

Stock noted that the Gates’ humanitarian commitment to the developing world and their unwavering belief that “every person deserves a chance for a productive life” strongly complemented the vision of “people-to-people diplomacy” that the late Senator Fulbright pursued.

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Peace CorpsFifty years ago today, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, in now-famous remarks, challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country by volunteering a year or two abroad in the service of developing nations. Less than six months later, the new president signed an Executive Order creating the Peace Corps to serve as our country’s official vehicle for such service.

I was a sophomore in college at that time, and I knew immediately that I wanted to be a Peace Corps volunteer. I joined immediately upon graduation in 1963, when the Peace Corps was still new—the first wave of volunteers, sent out in 1961, had not yet returned.

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A Roundtable of Obama Administration Heavy Hitters Talk Development and EducationAn impressive assemblage of Obama Administration higher-ups gathered for a roundtable discussion last week at the annual U.S. Global Leadership Coalition conference, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) Administrator Rajiv Shah, and Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Daniel Yohannes. Discussion focused on the elevation of the profile of international development and the announcement of a new Global Development Policy, the U.S. Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, which seeks to “facilitate the stabilization of countries that are emerging from crisis or conflict, to alleviate poverty, to advance the basic welfare and dignity of all humankind.”

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Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Last Thursday, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held a hearing titled “Targeting Girls in the Name of Tradition: Child Marriage.” The hearing was chaired by Congressman Jim McGovern, who co-chairs the commission with Congressman Frank Wolf. “Education” was the buzz word on everyone’s lips throughout the 2-½-hour session, and given the integral role that education can play in bettering the lives of women and girls, it’s not hard to understand why.

Under the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the State Department has focused on the empowerment of women and girls as integral to the realization of many international development and U.S. foreign policy goals. Secretary Clinton highlighted her personal interest and commitment as First Lady during the 1995 United Nations World Conference on Women when she famously declared that “women’s rights are human rights.” This sentiment is echoed in a recent book penned by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (who spoke at the 2010 NAFSA Annual Conference in Kansas City) titled Half the Sky, which posits that the path to ending extremism and poverty is through the empowerment of women and girls.

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