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NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma will dedicate the newly renovated Hester Hall for the College of International Studies in a public ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, April 17, at 729 Elm Ave.

“It is our obligation to educate and prepare students to live in a global environment,” said OU President David L. Boren. “The dedication of the new home for the College of International Studies underlines the determination of OU to be a true leader in this crucial area.”

The College of International Studies at OU was established in 1996 by Boren as the International Programs Center. The center was created to coordinate and promote international activities and programs; enhance the international content of the curriculum and degree programs; increase the university’s outreach on international matters in state, national and international arenas; and provide Oklahoma and the region with a greater voice in our country’s international relations.

The newly renovated building features the exterior renovation of the west façade, which is now the new front door of the college and houses a two-story lobby, elevator and open stair. Another addition to the west façade is a new three-story element, which was renovated to house the dean’s and staff offices and a quiet study area on the first floor. New faculty offices and small conference and seminar rooms are located on the second and third floors. The one-story element houses International Student Services and Education Abroad as well as three classrooms, a seminar room, a formal conference room and the college’s living room. In addition, two new stair towers were constructed to improve building circulation and enhance emergency egress.

Upon recommendation of Boren, the OU Regents named U.S. Ambassador Edward J. Perkins as the first executive director of the International Programs Center and as the William J. Crowe Chair Professor in Geopolitics. Perkins, who served in that capacity at OU for 11 years, had served previously as a U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, the Republic of South Africa, the United Nations and Australia. He also held the distinguished post of Director General of the Foreign Service.

In January 2011, the OU Board of Regents approved a recommendation to elevate international programs to a College of International Studies in response to growing student demand. At that time, Boren announced a $2 million lead gift from Tulsans L. Francis and Kathleen Rooney to launch a $14 million campaign for the new college.

Today the OU College of International Studies houses the Department of International and Area Studies, the Office of Education Abroad, the Office of International Student Services, the OU in Arezzo Study Center and a number of other international institutes and centers. Together, these offices, departments and centers work to provide a range of opportunities for students to learn about the global community in which they live.

The college offers undergraduate degree programs in Asian studies, European studies, international studies, international security studies, Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies, and Russian and East European studies. The college also offers a Master of Arts in International Studies, which includes a global studies option and an area studies option. Students in the OU College of Law also have the option of pursuing a joint Juris Doctorate/Master of Arts in International Studies degree.

Since 2008, the number of OU students studying abroad has increased by 90 percent, from 640 to 1,219. Currently, one in four OU students study abroad during a four-year period.

OU currently offers programs in 82 countries and over 240 cities in six continents. One of OU’s most popular locations to study abroad is its program in Arezzo, Italy. With private support, OU purchased the Santa Chiara Monastery in Arezzo in 2010, which now serves as a European OU campus for more than 250 OU students and faculty-in-residence on a year-round basis. Two new study abroad programs modeled after OU in Arezzo are scheduled to open for student enrollment this summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Puebla, Mexico.

In addition to increased numbers of students studying abroad, OU has seen an increase in its number of international students. In 2008, approximately 1,400 international students were enrolled at OU; today, nearly 1,800 international students from more than 120 countries are enrolled. Additionally, more than 300 international exchange students joined OU during 2013-2014 for a semester or academic year experience at OU.

The college has earned an international reputation for its innovative programs emphasizing the importance of a global education, and has graduates in highly successful professional practice throughout the nation and around the world.

Last year, OU was selected to serve as Secretariat – or lead coordinator – for the U.S. Department of State’s nationwide Diplomacy Lab program. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made the announcement at a town hall meeting, noting that the Diplomacy Lab allows students and faculty members to explore complex global challenges facing the State Department and to contribute to the policymaking process through their research projects. Faculty members from the OU College of International Studies and the College of Law supervise the students and their research.

For additional information about the dedication ceremony or accommodations on the basis of disability, call the Office of Public Affairs at (405) 325-3784.


Photo credit: Jacque Braun


Hester Hall

Press Releases



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE       CONTACT: OU Inst. US-China Issues, 405/325-3580
NORMAN, OK - An international jury has selected the Taiwanese novelist and screenwriter Chu T’ien-wen (朱天文) as the winner of the fourth Newman Prize for Chinese Literature. She is the first female Newman laureate. Sponsored by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for U.S.-China Issues, the Newman Prize is awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding achievement in prose or poetry that best captures the human condition, and is conferred solely on the basis of literary merit. Any living author writing in Chinese is eligible. A jury of five distinguished literary experts nominated the five candidates last spring and selected the winner in a transparent voting process on September 17, 2014.
Ms. Chu will receive USD $10,000, a commemorative plaque, and a bronze medallion at an academic symposium and award banquet at the University of Oklahoma, Norman on March 6, 2015. The event will be hosted by Peter Hays Gries, director of the Institute for US-China Issues, which seeks to advance mutual trust in US-China relations.
“All five nominees are exceptionally talented and accomplished writers,” said director Gries. “It is a testament to Chu T’ien-wen’s remarkable literary skills that she emerged the winner after four rounds of positive elimination voting.”
The Newman Prize honors Harold J. and Ruth Newman, whose generous endowment of a chair at the University of Oklahoma enabled the creation of the OU Institute for US-China Issues. The University of Oklahoma is also home to Chinese Literature Today, World Literature Today, and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
This year’s Newman nominees represent some of the most respected names in Sinophone literature over the last several decades. The nominees from mainland China included Yan Lianke, Yu Hua, and Ge Fei, from Taiwan, Chu T’ien-wen, and from Malaysia, Chang Kui-hsing. Yan Lianke (阎连科), nominated by Carlos Rojas (Duke), was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize and has won numerous awards in China and the Europe. Yan is well known for his daring formal innovations and searing social commentary. Yu Hua (余华), nominated by Zhang Ning (张柠, Beijing Normal U.), is arguably the most well-known Chinese novelist after Mo Yan. His novel To Live was adapted into a well-known film and his later novels have continued to garner critical and popular praise alike. Ge Fei (格非), nominated by Charles Laughlin (U. Virginia), was a well-known avant-garde writer in the 80’s and 90’s. Starting in 2004, however, Ge released a new series of novels which Laughlin describes as a form of “lyrical idealism” that has made him one of the most beloved and influential novelists writing today. Chang Kui-hsing (張貴興), nominated by Shu-mei Shi (U. Hong Kong), has been called one of the greatest contemporary craftsmen of prose fiction in Chinese. With novels that resonate with the smells and textures of South-East Asian rainforests, Chang’s work arises from a singular talent who will leave behind one of the most distinctive bodies of work in world literature.
While the deliberations were tough, after a process of positive elimination voting Chu T’ien-wen emerged as the winner. Chu’s work Fin-de-Siecle Splendor, according to her nominator, Margaret Hillenbrand (Oxford), has elevated the Chinese short story to new heights. Rooted in the vibrant particulars of Taiwan, her short stories reveal how and why short fiction may be the genre most suited for our times.
Chu was born in 1956 Taipei into one of Taiwan’s most prominent literary families. Her writing career began in the mid-1970s, with whimsical and sentimental pieces that led critics to dub her a latterday acolyte of Eileen Chang. Her literary stock rose steadily throughout the 1980s, boosted by the appearance of harder-hitting works such as Yanxia zhi du (City of Hot Summer, 1987), until the publication of Shijimo de huali (Fin-de-siècle Splendor) in 1990 caused it to soar rather more spectacularly. Fin-de-siècle Splendor was her breakthrough work, trading romanticism for decadence, and crafting a full-blown, mature style that melds classical grace with street slang, and bears the imprints of Taiwan’s fraught linguistic past. That style found its apotheosis in Chu’s award-winning novel Huangren shouji (Notes of a Desolate Man, 1994), whose gay narrator parlays with a host of thinkers, writers, and philosophers in a text which is perhaps three parts story and seven parts metaphysical rumination. After a period of literary reclusion, Chu reinvented herself again in 2007 with Wuyan (Words of a Witch), a work which probes still more insistently into the nature of writing itself. Chu T’ien-wen’s career as a screenwriter has been no less illustrious. Her collaborations with Hou Hsiao-hsien have yielded many of the landmark films – from Beiqing chengshi (City of Sadness, 1988) through Ximeng rensheng (The Puppetmaster, 1993) to Qianxi manbo (Millennium Mambo, 2001), and several more besides – which helped to turn Taiwan’s New Cinema movement into a global brand.
“Chu T’ien-wen is a multi-faceted cultural figure,” Margaret Hillenbrand writes, “a novelist, screenwriter, and essayist who excels at each of those different forms. But in recommending Chu’s short-story collection Fin-de-siècle Splendor for the Newman Prize, I am calling particular attention to the place she occupies in modern Chinese-language literature as a superb practitioner of short fiction, arguably that literature’s most triumphant genre. As any attentive reader of literature from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the diaspora over the last century can testify, the history of this literature is, to a degree perhaps unparalleled elsewhere, one shaped, driven, and dictated by brilliant short stories. And as a writer of short fiction, Chu is prodigiously talented. Texture, fragrance, color, and taste leap out from her uncommonly crafted prose with such force that they suck the reader into the text in ways not usually associated with the short-story form – a genre which is supposedly too fleeting to be immersive. Chu T’ien-wen’s writing refutes this received wisdom. This is partly because Fin-de-siecle Splendor pays homage to Taipei, the city of Chu’s birth, over eight fluidly conjoined tales which speak to each other as much as they live vividly in their own right. Yet it also because of her flair for carving crystal-cut literary moments, in which the constituent elements of a scene – air, light, mood, character – are each summoned up so precisely that they coalesce into a tableau that sears itself on the reader’s eye.”
Mainland Chinese novelists Mo Yan (莫言) and Han Shaogong (韩少功) won the 2009 and 2011 Newman Prizes for Chinese Literature respectively. Mo Yan went on to win a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012. Taiwanese poet Yang Mu (楊牧) won the 2013 Newman Prize.
For more information, please visit the Newman Prize homepage. You can also contact:
- Peter Gries, The University of Oklahoma, 405/325-1962 (US Central Time).
- Margaret Hillenbrand, Oxford University, +44 1865 280390 (London UK Time).



Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe Honored by Time Magazine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Suzette Grillot, College of International Studies,

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma is a second home to Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe from Northern Uganda who today was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
Sister Rosemary’s mission in Uganda is to save the women, girls and children who had been victimized by years of civil war perpetuated by Joseph Kony.  She began a school to rescue these young women and children to provide them with practical skills so that they may have a sustainable future.  She is credited with saving thousands of young people, restoring their hope and ability to live.  As a Time 100 honoree, Sister Rosemary will attend a Time Gala on April 29 to receive her award.
There is no other American university more involved at Sister Rosemary’s school in Uganda than OU, whose students and faculty are at the forefront of service learning with their regular support of and engagement with her school, St. Monica’s School for Girls, in Gulu, Uganda.  Beginning more than four years ago, students and faculty from the OU College of Medicine, OU College of Law, OU College of Engineering and other programs have been working, learning and serving at St. Monica’s.
OU alumnus and co-founder of Pros for Africa, Reggie Whitten, says, “It's well known that Sister Rosemary has changed the lives of thousands of young people in Africa.  What is not so well known is that she has influenced so many young people right here in Oklahoma by being such a great role model for our students. She is truly a modern day Mother Theresa.”
The OU College of Medicine sends students, interns, medical residents and physicians to the clinic at St. Monica’s to serve the school’s community.  OU physicians also visit the Medical School at the University of Gulu to enhance training of local medical doctors.  In addition, the OU College of Medicine sponsors an annual gala in Oklahoma City to raise funds that will support the tuition of one Ugandan medical student each year.  For many years Dan O’Donoghue, OU Health Sciences Center professor, has been working with Sister Rosemary and Pros for Africa.  O’Donoghue says their goal is “to help the people in Uganda in the way they want to be helped – not to tell them what they need.  By being there and serving, we can be transformed by them.”
For the past three years, students and faculty from the OU College of Law also have been engaged at St. Monica’s School for Girls and the Law School at the University of Gulu.  These experiences provide law students unique professional opportunities to serve as volunteers in a developing country and to be inspired by the work of Sister Rosemary.  “This is an extraordinary honor for an incredible woman,” says the Dean of OU’s College of Law, Joe Harroz.  “Her work has touched thousands of lives, and her love of others knows no bounds.  We are all better for knowing her, and we cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the 2014 Time 100.”
One of the most urgent needs at St. Monica’s School for Girls is clean water and proper sanitation.  Students from OU’s College of Engineering and Water Center have traveled to Uganda to develop and install eco-latrines so that the school’s residents have access to more hygienic conditions.  Professor Dave Sabatini, Director of OU’s Water Center, says, “Sister Rosemary is truly an amazing woman, and I am so pleased that our students have had the opportunity to work with her on water and sanitation projects in Uganda – a truly life-changing experience for them.  Sister Rosemary’s bravery, vision, passion, and, even more impressive, her unconditional love in the face of unbelievable challenges, make her story inspirational.”
One of the sustainable sources of revenue that Sister Rosemary has developed to support her school and students is the production of pop tab purses.  These beautiful items are made with tabs from aluminum cans, which, once sold, provide a source of income to the women and girls who produce them.  Students at OU’s College of International Studies have organized and implemented pop tab drives to collect and deliver tens of thousands of pop tabs for Sister Rosemary to use at her school.  “Sister Rosemary has been such a source of inspiration for all of us,” says Suzette Grillot, Dean of OU’s College of International Studies.  “We cannot thank her enough for the work she does in Uganda, for the education she has provided to us, and for the continual source of joy and goodness she always shares.  If you want to change lives, take the first step and read Sewing Hope, or watch the film by the same name – both of which document Sister Rosemary’s projects and the plight of the girls at St. Monica’s.  Believe me, your life will be changed as well.”
For more information about Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe and the University of Oklahoma’s international programs in Uganda, see our YouTube video here  You may also contact Suzette Grillot, Dean of OU’s College of International Studies, at or 405-325-1396.
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The College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma is pleased to announce that Laura Brunson is the new Director of the Office of Education Abroad.

Ms. Brunson is completing her PhD degree in Environmental Science as part of the WaTER Center at OU with a focus on drinking water quality in developing countries. Much of her graduate research has focused on the removal of fluoride from groundwater in Ethiopia - work that has been funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and an EPA STAR Fellowship. Laura has served as an Adjunct Professor in the College of Business where she taught courses on Social Entrepreneurship for several years. She has twice led student groups to Costa Rica to engage in hands-on learning. Laura earned her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma where she began her studies as a National Merit Scholar. Throughout her career, Laura has worked for a nonprofit humanities organization, held jobs in sales and customer service, and was a founding member and Board Vice Chair for Sustainable OKC, a local nonprofit. Given her background, Laura has employed a combination of business and technical skills to provide consulting services for water development projects in Ecuador and Rwanda - and she has traveled overseas often for research and professional activities. Laura also delivered a TEDxOU talk about her research, specifically sharing with the audience how cow bones can contribute to clean water in developing countries. Laura brings to the Office of Education Abroad years of international travel and study experience, a strong commitment to international education and a passion for student learning. We are very excited to have Laura Brunson joining us as the new Director of Education Abroad!

Rebecca Cruise Named Assistant Dean of the College of International Studies
CONTACT: College of International Studies (405) 325-1396
The University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies announced today that Dr.
Rebecca Cruise has been named the new Assistant Dean of the college. Cruise currently serves
as the Special Advisor to the Dean and Instructor in the College of International Studies.
Dr. Cruise received her Ph.D. from OU in 2011. She also earned an M.A. in Political Science
from OU and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Portland.
Cruise’s research interests center on security studies and comparative politics, with a focus on
issues of security community, international organizations, post-conflict resolution, political
participation and gender. She has conducted significant field research throughout Europe and
Latin America. Her work has been funded by the University of Oklahoma, the German
Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)
among other sources.
With her appointment as Assistant Dean in the College of International Studies, Dr. Cruise will
also serve as Assistant Professor in the Department of International and Area Studies where she
teaches a number of courses, including Understanding the Global Community, Global Security,
Comparative National Security, Women in International Security and International Activism.
Currently, Cruise is working on a book manuscript entitled Eastern Efficacy: Female Political
Participation in Post Communist Europe. She co-authored the book Protecting Our Ports:
Domestic and International Politics of Containerized Freight Security and has published articles
in academic journals such as International Politics, Journal of Homeland Security and
Emergency Management, and Croatian International Relations Review.
Dr. Cruise is also a regular contributor to and co-producer of World Views, an award-winning
weekly radio show featuring experts in international affairs that airs on OU’s NPR affiliate,

IAS Dream Course Brings Top Experts to OU

By College of International Studies (405) 325-1396

The University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies will bring in some of the nation’s top experts in the field of International Relations to campus through its Dream Course, “9/11 and the War on Terror,” this fall.  

Dr. Mariam Mufti, Assistant Professor of South Asian Politics, will teach the course. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University before joining the CIS faculty. Her research centers on regime change and political participation, and she teaches courses on US foreign policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan.  

As part of the Dream Course, students and others in the OU community will have the opportunity to attend lectures by five guest speakers specializing in areas related to counter-terrorism and state-building in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Richard A. Clarke will open the series with a lecture entitled “9/11 and the Challenge of National Security” on Wednesday, September 25 at 5:30 pm. The talk will take place in the Robert S. Kerr Auditorium of the Sam Noble Museum, with a reception to follow. Clark is the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States. He also served on the National Security Council as Chief Counter-terrorism Advisor and as Special Advisor to the President on cyber security. He is the author of Against All Enemies (2004); Your Government Failed You (2008); and Cyber War (2010).

A panel discussion on “The Challenge of Religious Extremism in Pakistan” with guest speakers Joshua T. White and Shamila Chaudhary will take place on Wednesday, October 9 at 6:00 pm in the Scholar’s Room of the Oklahoma Memorial Union. Joshua T. White is an International Affairs Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, and previously served as a Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Shamila Chaudhary served on the on the National Security Council as Director for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Previously, she utilized her expertise in South Asian politics as a member of the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State. Attendees are also invited to join the panelists at a reception following the talk.

The third event in the series is a brown bag lunch and lecture by Dr. Andrew Wilder entitled “Rebuilding Post-War Afghanistan.” The talk will take place at noon on Wednesday, October 30 in the J.J. Rhyne Room in Zarrow Hall. Wilder is the director of the Afghanistan and Pakistan program at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). He also founded and served as Director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) in Kabul, Afghanistan's first independent policy research institution. His many writing credits include the book, The Pakistani Voter: Electoral Politics and Voting Behavior in the Punjab (1999).

The Dream Course will close with a dinner and lecture by Dr. David Kilcullen on “Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.” The dinner will be held in the J.J. Rhyne Room in Zarrow Hall at 5:30 pm on Thursday, December 5. Kilcullen is the founding President and CEO of Caerus Associates, a strategic design consultancy. He also served the US State Department’s Secretary of State as Special Adviser for Counterinsurgency. He spent time in Iraq as Senior Counterinsurgency Adviser and in Afghanistan as Counterinsurgency Adviser to the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). He is the author of The Accidental Guerilla (2009); Counterinsurgency (2010); and Out of the Mountains (2013).




CONTACT: Jacque Braun
Marketing/PR Specialist, College of International Studies
405-325-4953 or

NORMAN, OKLA. – Six University of Oklahoma students taking part in the yearlong overseas Arabic Language Flagship Program returned from Alexandria, Egypt after successfully reaching Level 3 speaking proficiency on the Interagency Language Roundtable scale. This is equivalent to the Superior level of proficiency in the Arabic language on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) scale.  For the past two years, OU students in the Arabic Flagship Program achieved a 100 percent success rate reaching the designated goal of proficiency level in Arabic.

The students who participated in the overseas program were Cade Roberts, Muskogee, OK; Genevieve Schmitt, Portland, OR; Thomas Parker Simpkins, Arlington, TX; Parker Selby, Yukon, OK; Jordan Cannon, Braman, OK; and Tiegan Willoughby, Ponca City, OK. These students spent the 2012-13 academic year in Alexandria, Egypt immersed in the Arabic culture while studying at Alexandria University.

“OU students studying Arabic in summer intensive programs domestically and overseas in Morocco and Egypt are increasingly receiving positive feedback from their programs – a testimony to the national reputation our Arabic program is building nationwide,” said Mohammad Al-Masri, director of the Arabic Flagship Program. “OU proves to be a very attractive environment to study Arabic and achieve superior skills.”

The Language Flagship leads the nation in designing, supporting, and implementing a new paradigm for advanced language education. Through an innovative partnership among the federal government, education, and business, The Language Flagship graduates students who will take their place among the next generation of global professionals, commanding a superior level of fluency in one of many languages critical to U.S. competitiveness and security.

Founded in the fall of 2008, the OU Arabic Language Flagship Partner Program is a merit-based undergraduate program designed for learners of Arabic who seek to achieve superior language proficiency while pursuing degrees in the academic majors of their choice. The program offers an innovative five-year curriculum in Arabic language and culture designed to produce graduates with dual strengths in Arabic language proficiency and their chosen career fields.

To learn more about the Arabic Language Flagship Program housed within the College of International Studies at OU, visit


Smith Named Max and Heidi Berry Chair
CONTACT: College of International Studies (405) 325-1396
The University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies announced today that Mitchell P.
Smith has been named the Max and Heidi Berry Chair in International Studies. The OU Board of
Regents approved the appointment on March 28. Smith currently serves as Chair and Professor
of the Department of International and Area Studies in the College of International Studies.
An expert on European politics, Smith has been the Director of OU’s European Union Center
since it was founded in 2001 to promote knowledge of the EU on OU’s campus. He has also
served as the Director of Graduate Studies for both International and Area Studies and the
Department of Political Science. Smith teaches courses in comparative politics, international
political economy and the European Union, among other topics.
Smith has authored books on comparative politics and the European Union, including
Environmental and Health Regulation in the United States and the European Union: Protecting
Public and Planet (2012) and States of Liberalization: Redefining the Public Sector in Integrated
Europe (2005). He recently edited the book Europe and National Economic Transformation: The
EU After the Lisbon Decade (2012). His articles have appeared in a number of journals such as
West European Politics, The Journal of Legislative Studies, Politics & Society, and Journal of
European Public Policy.
Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley,
his master’s degree in International Political Economy from the Woodrow Wilson School of
Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and his doctorate in Politics from
Princeton University.
Before joining the faculty at OU, Smith taught at Swarthmore College and Middlebury College.
He also received a Fulbright Fellowship in European Union Affairs and spent time as a Visiting
Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, Belgium and a Jean Monnet
Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.



Student aims to educate youth on trafficking

Student aims to educate youth on trafficking

Middle and high school-aged children will receive an education on human trafficking this semester and next year after an OU student won a $10,000 grant to promote a sustainable, peaceful future.

University College freshman Lucy Mahaffey was one out of about 100 people who received a Davis Projects for Peace grant about two weeks ago. Since hearing she’d received the grant, she’s been working with the state superintendent of education and state coalition director to develop a curriculum to teach teenage children about human trafficking, Mahaffey said.  Read more...

More than 80 countries showcased at 43rd annual Eve of Nations

Cultural representatives from at least 80 countries brought the world to OU Friday night, all on a single platform in the Lloyd Noble Center.

The International Advisory Committee’s 43rd annual Eve of Nations showcased and celebrated the cultural diversity of OU’s international population through the media of fashion, food, dance and music. The main event was a dance competition between fifteen of OU’s cultural student associations.

Click here for the rest of the article.

Latin American Activists gather for University of Oklahoma symposium

A symposium designed to give Latin American activists an opportunity to learn from each other's successes and failures wrapped up Wednesday. The symposium also exposed OU students to actual activists working for social change, rather than faculty members discussing those changes

Click here to go the article.


CONTACT: OU Institute for U.S.-China Issues, (405) 325-3580
NORMAN, OKLA. – The winners the 2013 Newman Young Poet’s Awards, a poetry contest held in conjunction with the Newman Prize for Chinese Literature at the University of Oklahoma, were selected recently and will be honored Thursday at an awards banquet sponsored by the OU Institute for U.S.-China Issues.
Recipients are Donovan Helterbrand, a first-grader at East Side Elementary in Midwest City, Aaliyah Elders, an eighth-grader at Highland East Junior High in Moore, Casey Cai, an 11th-grader at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics in Oklahoma City, and Spencer McCoy, an undergraduate at the University of Tulsa. Each of the four winners will receive a $500 check and a commemorative certificate
The four Newman Young Poet’s Award recipients were selected from nearly 350 submissions from every region of Oklahoma.
The Newman Prize for Chinese Literature is awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding achievement in prose or poetry that best captures the human condition and is conferred solely on the basis of literary merit. The 2013 Newman Prize will go to Yang Mu, a Taiwanese poet famous for his integration of classical and modern Chinese and western poetic influences. Mainland Chinese novelists Mo Yan and Han Shaogong won the 2009 and 2011 Newman Prizes for Chinese Literature, respectively. Mo Yan has since been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
To honor Yang Mu’s poetry, this year’s Newman Young Poet’s Awards were given to the best Classical Chinese jueju style poem written in English. Jeuju is a traditional form of Chinese poetry. The method of writing jueju in English is just over a decade and a half old, however. It was created by Jonathan Stalling at the University of California at  Berkeley in 1997 at the request of the poet June Jordan, who, once having heard Chinese poetry sung aloud, “wanted to hear its music in English.”
Stalling formulated a way to compose English verse following all the rules and regulations the form required of Chinese writers. Over the years, he has taught the form as a way of sharing classical Chinese poetics with his American college students and with others in outreach programs — from homeless shelters and prisons to middle schools and writers colonies. This is the first time, however, that jueju have been composed by so many students across such a broad range of ages.
For more information, please visit the Newman Young Poet’s Prize homepage. You can also contact Peter Gries, OU professor of international and area studies, at (405) 325-1962 or Jonathan Stalling, OU associate professor of English, at (405) 325-6973.

Japan Night

Japan Night celebration brings together American, Japanese students for spring festival

OU DAILY - Japanese and American students converged Tuesday night to experience each other’s culture and to say goodbye after a month of getting to know each other.

Japan Night, one of many cultural events happening this month, was hosted by the Japanese Student Association which works hand-in-hand with Ritsumeikan, an intercultural exchange program that brings Japanese students to OU every year, said Minkee Kim, a human resources and management junior and member of the association.

These students experience American culture and end their month-long stay by helping the Japanese Student Association organize Japan Night, she said.  Read more...


Joshua Landis talking Syria with Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns at the 2013 Camden Conference

(Click the picture below to watch the discussion, or click here)

Conversation cafe

English Conversation Cafe open to all students

OU DAILY - American students can socialize with international students over cups of coffee to help international students and their families improve their English every Thursday.

English Conversation Café was designed to improve international students’ English vocabulary and knowledge of American culture, according to the OU International Student Services website. The conversation café is also open to students from the Center for English as a Second Language and families of international students.

This semester, students will meet Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Hester Hall 170.

The event is held in a lounge area with sofas that give it a casual feel, said Janice Levi, international programs coordinator. 

Attendance fluctuates, Levi said. Sometimes there are five students and other times as many as 15 attend the Conversation Café.  Read more...

New Dean Suzette Grillot pushes for progress

OU DAILY — In December the College of International Studies got a new dean with around 14 years of experience in the field, a zeal for education and a passion for study abroad, who has actually been manning the post since July.

“An international education is...essential to ensure that [students are prepared for the global workplace], so that students can be successful in their future careers, no matter what they may be,” said Suzette Grillot, the new dean of the College of International Area Studies, in an email.

Grillot has been at OU since 1999, when she joined the political science and international area studies departments. Since then, she has served as associate dean of the College of International Studies since July 2008 and the interim dean since July 2012. During that time, Grillot was among the people who helped develop and expand the department of international and area studies into the college it is today, said OU Press Secretary Michael Nash in an email.  Read more...

Suzette Grillot
Dean Grillot in Italy
Suzette Grillot and Reggie Whitten

Grads hear sage advice

NORMAN TRANSCRIPT — Convocation ceremonies for the University of Oklahoma’s various colleges took place all across campus from morning to evening, and though the College of International Studies’ fall graduating class was small, the advice of keynote speaker Reggie Whitten was a message beneficial for all of Saturday’s graduates.

Whitten, a native of Seminole, is a graduate of the university and the OU College of Law who co-founded the Whitten-Newman Foundation, Pros for Africa and Pros for Vets, benefiting U.S. educational intiatives, victims of central African conflict and veterans and their families, respectively.  Read more...


Pros for Africa Founder Reggie Whitten to Speak at OU College of International Studies Convocation

CONTACT: Jacque Braun
Marketing/PR Specialist, College of International Studies
NORMAN – Reggie Whitten, Oklahoma City attorney, philanthropist and founder of the nonprofit group Pros for Africa, will deliver the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies convocation address at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, when the college will confer approximately 24 bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Inspired by their mission statement, “Connecting Professionals of All Fields with the Children of Africa,” Pros for Africa is committed to providing professional knowledge and essential resources to impoverished communities in Africa.  Established in 2009 and headquartered in Oklahoma City, this nonprofit partners with athletes, but also medical professionals, educators, lawyers and many others who are willing to volunteer their expertise for the shared goal of contributing to the future success of the youth they encounter.  Read more...

International Relations Expert Named Dean of OU's College of International Studies


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CONTACT: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701

OKLAHOMA CITY – University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced today that Suzette Grillot, an expert in international relations, security studies and comparative politics, has been named dean of OU’s College of International Studies.  The announcement of her appointment, effective Dec. 15, was made at the December meeting of the OU Board of Regents.

Grillot, who was instrumental in the creation and development of the College of International Studies,  has served as interim dean since July 1 and previously served as the college’s associate dean for four years.  She also will serve as the William J. Crowe Jr. Chair in Geopolitics, professor in the Department of International and Area Studies and as vice provost of International Programs.

“Suzette Grillot is a gifted educator and administrator,” Boren said. “Under her leadership, the college is continuing to establish itself as a national leader in international studies.”  Read more...

OU Receives $1 Million for Study Abroad Scholarships from Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation in Tulsa

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CONTACT: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701
OKLAHOMA CITY – University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today announced the largest one-time gift OU has ever received in scholarship support for OU students to study abroad, a $1 million donation from the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation of Tulsa. The gift, which brings OU’s overall Campaign for Scholarships to more than $211.7 million, is designated for study abroad scholarships for students participating in OU’s signature study abroad program in Arezzo, Italy.

Members of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation include OU alumna Kathy Taylor, a former mayor of Tulsa who is on OU’s College of International Studies Board of Visitors; her husband, Bill Lobeck; and daughters, Elizabeth Frame Ellison, also an OU alumna, and Molly Pellegrini.

“I am deeply grateful to Kathy Taylor, Bill Lobeck, Elizabeth Frame Ellison and Molly Pellegrini for making this critically important gift, which will help give our students the opportunity to study abroad,” Boren said at the December meeting of the OU Board of Regents.  “Global skills and perspectives are a key part of the comprehensive education needed for the next generation of leaders.”  Read more...


Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation Gives $1 Million to University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma has been given a million dollars to help students study abroad.

It's the largest one-time gift the university has ever received for its study abroad scholarship program.

OU announced today it received the money from the Lobeck-Taylor Family Foundation.  Read more...

Lobeck Taylor gift
NY Times

As Good as It’s Going to Get

by Joshua Landis for The New York Times - Washington should recognize and support the newly formed National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The United States has spent the last 21 months insisting on unity in what turns out to be a very fragmented Syrian opposition. This group is as good as it is going to get. It is filled with elite Syrians, who are educated, relatively pro-American, not too anti-Israel and not too Islamist -- many of whom have gone to jail for their beliefs. This group will be able to retain popular backing from the West.  Read more...

OU professor travels to India to research Zoroastrianism

OU Daily - Afshin Marashi, OU professor of International and Area Studies, will travel across the globe to further his research on Iranian nationalism and Zoroastrianism, the religion of most Iranians before Islam was adopted.

Marashi will travel to Bombay, India for the first time in January to study the influence on this faith on the development of Iranian identity. 

Marashi teaches a wide range of courses dealing with Middle-Eastern and Iranian history, culture and politics. Marashi said he also conducts specialized research that sometimes overlaps with and, in a broad sense, informs his teaching. Read more...

OU Daily article
 Boren increases financial aid for students studying abroad

Boren increases financial aid for students studying abroad

OU Daily - Increased funding for study abroad programs will make it easier for students with financial needs to study overseas.

OU President David Boren recently increased the amount of money set aside to fund students travelling abroad, said Alice Kloker, director of OU Education Abroad. This money will help students travelling with OU’s Journey programs and recipients of the Presidential International Travel Fellowship pay for their international airfare.

Because of the money Boren has set aside to fund Education Abroad, students attending OU’s Journey programs will be guaranteed financial awards that reflect the cost of international airfare, Kloker said. Students selected to attend OU’s Journey programs in China, Brazil and Tanzania will receive $2,000, Kloker said. Students attending OU’s Journey to Italy and Journey to Turkey programs will be given $1,500 to pay for their airfare.  Read more...

Stay out of Syria

Stay out of Syria

Foreign Policy, by Joshua Landis - Let's be clear: Washington is pursuing regime change by civil war in Syria. The United States, Europe, and the Gulf states want regime change, so they are starving the regime in Damascus and feeding the opposition. They have sanctioned Syria to a fare-thee-well and are busy shoveling money and helping arms supplied by the Gulf get to the rebels. This will change the balance of power in favor of the revolution. It is also the most the United States can and should do.  Read more...

University of Oklahoma helps Fulbright scholars adjust

University of Oklahoma helps Fulbright scholars adjust

The Daily Oklahoman - The University of Oklahoma hosted a weeklong gateway orientation for 58 Fulbright scholars representing 36 countries.

The orientation was one of 10 held across the United States and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

The purpose of the orientations is to promote cultural diversity and increase understanding between nations, and to help the scholars learn to balance their academic, personal and professional roles while they pursue their studies.

Students arrived on campus July 31 and were welcomed by OU President David L. Boren and former Fulbright scholar Shelby Lewis, of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and a professor emeritus at Clark Atlanta University.  Read more...

Syria and Turkey: A Complex Relationship

Syria and Turkey: A Complex Relationship

PBS Newshour - Despite being geographic neighbors, Syria and Turkey's political relationship historically hasn't been very close, but things were on the mend -- that is, until the Arab Spring hit.

Starting on Friday's NewsHour, senior correspondent Margaret Warner will present a series of reports on how the violent conflict in Syria is impacting neighboring Turkey.

We asked Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies and an associate professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Oklahoma, for some insight into the complicated relationship between the two countries.  Read more...

President's Leadership Class Goes to Italy


This past summer, 25 members of the 2011-2012 President's Leadership Class had the opportunity to broaden their cultural horizions with a few of their best friends at their side on the inagural PLC trip to Italy. For 18 days, PLCers studied art history and international leadership and activism across Arezzo, Siena, Florence and Rome.

Click here to see pictures and video of their trip!


Brazilian Ambassador visits OU

By Caitlin Schudalla
Published: February 1, 2012
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — As the second-largest democracy in the Western Hemisphere, Brazil has traditionally held a close diplomatic relationship with the United States, and its continued economic prowess serves as a pertinent example of how to navigate in a debt-laden global economy.

His Excellency Mauro Vieira, Brazilian Ambassador to the United States, answered questions from guests on this and related topics Tuesday evening at the President’s Associates Dinner at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

Read more here.


Oklahoma college students choosing to study abroad in less-traditional locations

Published: November 21, 2010
Daily Oklahoman

Cindy Woods
got a sneaking suspicion her bus was headed in the wrong direction.  She was trying to meet a friend near the airport in Peru during a trip to study abroad last spring.  Woods, then a junior at the University of Oklahoma, turned to the woman sitting next to her to ask if she was on the right bus.  The woman said yes, but Woods had a feeling she didn't understand the question.  Woods was on her third study trip abroad.

Read more here.

New Wave of Iranians Seek U.S. Studies

Published: August 9, 2010
New York Times

WASHINGTON — Even as a teenager in Iran, Atefeh Fathi knew she would eventually study abroad. Now 30 and studying engineering at the University of Oklahoma, Ms. Fathi said that although she had applied to universities in Sweden and Canada, her first choice was the United States.

“Everyone says the U.S. is easier for foreigners” to acclimate to, she said while on a break from working in her university’s laboratory. As children, Iranians are taught English in school, making it easier for them to blend in immediately in the United States.



From the NATO website:

Joint Force Command, Naples hosted a group of 14 University of Oklahoma undergraduate International Studies students at JFC Naples March 18.

US Air Force Major Jeffrey Sandrock, JFC Public Affairs staff officer, and Canadian Navy Commander Daniel Agnew, Joint Execution Management Board, briefed the OU students on the JFC Naples mission and Operation Active Endeavor.

“Their professor contacted me about setting up some briefings for the University of Oklahoma’s International Studies program,” said Sandrock. “The students are on an investigative trip to look into various aspects of illegal trafficking.”