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OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES FORMED – Danilo Levi
director of the Office of International Initiatives at Southeastern Louisiana
University, explains the reach of the university's growing international
program to President Randy Moffett (center) and Aristides Baraya who heads
Southeastern's Center for Latin American Business and Development.
SOUTHEASTERN FORMS INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES OFFICE
HAMMOND - Southeastern Louisiana
University has formed an Office of International Initiatives to coordinate
the university's growing global educational and economic development programs
and its study abroad program for students.
Danilo Levi, assistant professor
of sociology, has been appointed director of the office. Levi also serves
as director of Southeastern's Center for Youth Leaders of the Americas,
a program focused on promoting social and economic development in the hemisphere,
primarily through leaders of grass-roots youth organizations.
"Our purpose in creating this
office is to bring all of the university's varied international programs
under one umbrella to allow for optimal coordination," said Southeastern
President Randy Moffett. "Our international activities have grown significantly
in recent years, well beyond the traditional study abroad opportunities
offered by many universities. Southeastern is now offering training and
degree programs for international students and cooperative educational
and economic development opportunities with foreign nations, universities,
and trade and business organizations."
The announcement of the new office
helped Southeastern kick off International Week, the university's annual
salute to international students scheduled this year Nov. 18-22. The series
of activities, lectures and concerts is designed to celebrate the diverse
cultures and heritages of students attending Southeastern. More than 175
international students from 52 foreign countries attend Southeastern.
In addition to the Center for
Youth Leaders, Southeastern is home for the Center for Latin American Business
and Development, headed by Aristides Baraya, a faculty member in the College
of Business and Technology. Last year, Southeastern also formed the Institute
for Global and Domestic Development, a non-profit organization with the
sole mission of assisting the university in addressing challenges in all
its outreach programs, especially those related to international efforts.
"We have obtained significant
support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization
of American States (OAS)," Levi said. "These organizations have participated
in several of
our educational outreach programs in recent years by providing top
experts from their organizations as speakers. These partnerships are enabling
us to expand our international program."
The university has hosted a number
of programs on campus that are oriented to assisting Latin American youth
leaders and entrepreneurs wishing to develop their businesses and civic
organizations. Among those was a weeklong series of seminars for 20 young
Colombian rural leaders, providing them with an overview of international
commerce, agrarian ecology, and the use of modern telecommunications in
with courses being offered in sociology and criminal justice, business,
computer science, biology, arts, languages and other areas business, trade
and civil organizations. Earlier this year, Southeastern hosted more than
a dozen Kuna Indian artisans from Panama for seminars and workshops focusing
on cultural preservation and global markets for cultural artifacts.
"Our goal in developing these types
of programs is to provide practical, hands-on information these leaders
can use to promote social development within their countries and expand
trade opportunities beyond their countries' boundaries," Levi said. "In
addition, these programs provide valuable cultural exchange occasions for
our faculty and students, giving them opportunities to interact with individuals
from different cultures."
Southeastern maintains formal
relationships with six European universities in Austria, Germany and France
to provide mutual exchange programs for students. Agreements are also held
with the governments of Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama.
"We are especially excited about
a new agreement we recently signed with the Technological University of
Honduras, which will allow us to implement in the near future a joint degree
program in general business," Levi said. "We hope to expand this partnership
into other academic disciplines."
The university's study-abroad
trips, some of which are conducted in cooperation with other universities,
allow students to visit foreign nations for two to four weeks during the
summer while earning college credit. For summer 2003, Southeastern students
can choose from programs in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Costa
"Students gain the valuable experience
of traveling abroad while taking courses in sociology and criminal justice,
business, computer science, biology, arts, languages and other areas, Levi
said." Financial aid can be used toward the expenses associated with these
programs, he said, and Southeastern offers scholarships for study abroad.
Moffett said one of the university's
core values is an appreciation of diversity.
"We are now attracting students
from more than 50 foreign nations to study and learn at Southeastern and
to experience life in the United States," he said. "Their participation
in our educational program provides them valuable educational opportunities
while enriching the learning environment for all our students, exposing
them to a broad exchange of ideas and cultures. Today, sensitivity to the
implications of globalization provided by these initiatives is an essential
dimension of higher education."
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