Recap: FIU co-hosts international education conference

Originally posted on FIU News by Gisela Valencia, External Relations

“International… it’s our middle name.” That’s the title of a historic FIU document dating back to 1974 – a mere three years after the groundbreaking of FIU’s first major building.

Through numerous programs and events, this desire for international education and intercultural exchange became a hallmark of FIU. The tradition continues today.

Most recently, FIU co-hosted the Institute of International Education (IIE) Best Practices Conference at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus March 13-14. The conference brought together scholars, practitioners and supporters of international education from across the world to discuss their ideas and lessons learned about internationalizing a campus.

“We are very happy to have co-hosted the IIE Conference,” President Mark B. Rosenberg said.  “Since our FIU was founded, we’ve had a mission to further international education. This is one vivid example of how we continually strive to honor that mission and equip our students with a Worlds Ahead education.”

During the pre-conference Florida Global Educator’s Summit, Hilary Landorf led a walking tour of FIU’s history of internationalization. Among some of the tour spots: the plaque declaring FIU’s mission of international education and the sculpture in Primera Casa called “Las Cuatro Razas” (The Four Races).

This is only the second time IIE hosted its conference outside of its offices and the first time it was hosted on the east coast. FIU was an ideal partner.

“FIU is such a large and diverse university. We learn a lot as visitors,” said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of IIE. “We learn: how can you make an international education affordable and appealing? How can you make a global mindset accessible to students even if they don’t go abroad? Sometimes we see students living in their ‘bubble.’ There’s no bubble here. And that’s really an important thing.”

Hilary Landorf, the director of the Office of Global Learning Initiatives and professor of international and intercultural education in the School of Education and Human Development, said, “Our collaboration [with IIE] on this event presented an invaluable opportunity to explore topics of vital interest to all who are committed to the advancement of internationalization.”

Discussions at the conference ranged from academic engagement with Latin America to globalizing university research and new strategies for global engagement and partnerships. The conference also featured a question and answer session with Rosenberg and Goodman, which focused on FIU’s internationalization initiatives and the value of global perspectives.

FIU’s highly successful Tianjin campus in China was at the forefront of the question and answer session. The hospitality and management studies program, which has been in effect since 2006, has graduated 1,718 students who have either found employment or pursued graduate studies around the world.

The program has helped put FIU on the map as an internationalization leader. FIU has continued its commitment to international education closer to home, too.

Last year, FIU earned IIE’s 2016 Andrew Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Campus in recognition of its Global Learning for Global Citizenship initiative. And the Office of Faculty and Global Affairs was established in 2015 to address university-wide aspects of international education such as promoting faculty and staff participation in campus internationalization efforts and aligning FIU’s global activities with institutional priorities.

Taking advantage of conference attendance, FIU also organized the pre-conference Florida Global Educator’s Summit on March 13, at which global educators from public and private universities and colleges gathered for a focus session on collective challenges and opportunities in a state context.

Director of Faculty & Global Affairs Birgitta Rausch-Montoto said the objective of these events was simple.

“We’re making good on the promise of FIU to serve the global higher education community. The IIE Best Practices Conference as well as the summit allowed us to demonstrate our leadership in global education while serving the community of international educators.”

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