In the News
The College of International Studies is pleased to announce that Robyn Rojas has been named Director of International Student Services (ISS). Ms. Rojas joined ISS as an international student adviser four years ago and has served as Assistant Director since 2012.
Robyn earned a BA in Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Masters in International Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Before coming to OU, Robyn taught English as a Second Language at El Centro de Oportunidades, a community outreach program of Mount St. Mary High School in Oklahoma City. She was later promoted to Program Coordinator for the outreach program. It was through her work at El Centro de Oportunidades and time spent studying abroad in Latin America that Robyn developed an interest in immigration issues. These experiences led her to pursue graduate studies and, ultimately, a career at OU.
Robyn is also a classically trained ballerina. She danced professionally for Ballet Oklahoma (now Oklahoma City Ballet) for three seasons. While touring with the Los Angeles Ballet Ensemble, Robyn had the opportunity to spend two weeks performing in Taiwan.
As the Director of International Student Services, Robyn will continue to bring her expertise, experience and compassion to meet the needs of OU’s international student community.
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!
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).
OU’S ARABIC FLAGSHIP STUDENTS ACHIEVE SUPERIOR LEVEL LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jacque Braun
Marketing/PR Specialist, College of International Studies
405-325-4953 or email@example.com
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 www.ou.edu/flagship.
Dr. Joshua Landis appeared on PBS Newshour on Monday, April 29 to discuss the U.S. intervening in the Syrian conflict.
Tune in to World Views on KGOU this Friday where Dr. Landis will talk more about Syria and the possible use of chemical weapons.
I wish to thank you and applaud your brilliant, logical engagement in last night's discussion concerning the USA's role in Syria. It is hard for me to understand and accept the rising rhetoric for escalating our involvement. Your observations were right on and should give all Americans pause. Our President needs support to show restraint. I do not understand the media's role in the conversation and their apparent willingness to help march us into another terrible, terrible situation, even war. Thank you!!!!!!!!
Dear Prof Landis,
In the midst of a fever rising here to choose military means to fix another middle eastern crisis, I was so happy to hear you on PBS last night explain why this is a bad idea. Also I was happy to hear you explain that the war is not between the syrian people and the regime but rather among two large camps of syrian people, one of which loyal to the regime and the other in revolt.
Also your point that with lots of men, money and effort, we have not fixed either Iraq or Afghanistan is a telling one...
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.
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.
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.
WINNERS OF 2013 NEWMAN YOUNG POET’S AWARDS ANNOUNCED
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 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.
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)
I Am a Prisoner of Your Love
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT VOICE - Happy Valentine’s Day! We finish our feature on international couples with Jia-Haw Chiem from Malaysia and Monrada Yamkasikorn from Thailand.
When Jia-Haw Chiem first met Monrada Yamkasikorn in 2010, he didn’t really think twice about it.
Jia-Haw was the vice president of the International Advisory Committee at the University of Oklahoma. He helped conduct interviews for open positions in the organization and he first met Monrada while interviewing her for a subcommittee position.
She received the position. From there, they worked on several events together. Each event, they became closer and closer. Being from the same region of the world, they bonded faster. They worked late together, started hanging out more often.
The following year Jia-Haw became president and Monrada the special events chair. Still organizing events together and hanging out all the time.
It wasn’t until that summer in 2011 when Monrada left the University of Oklahoma to do an internship in China that Jia-Haw realized his feelings went a little deeper. Read more...
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.
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.
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
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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...
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.
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.
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
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
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
BY DARLA SLIPKE
Published: November 21, 2010
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
By YEGANEH JUNE TORBATI
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.