2018 Compass

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David L. Boren College of International Studies An International Profile: 2018

Fall 2018

Message From the Deans The past academic year was one of growth, enriching experiences and professional accomplishment in the newly christened David L. Boren College of International Studies (CIS). We begin this new academic year as we always do: committed to maintaining and expanding the university’s international mission. CIS continues to work with colleges, offices and departments across campus to implement many international activities and support research and community engagement at home and abroad. The International Profile highlights and celebrates the many international educational accomplishments of the University of Oklahoma’s global community and takes a closer look at the faculty, students, alumni and programs furthering our international mission. In this year’s International Profile, we check in with our CIS Centers and Programs, which brought scholars from all over the world to campus to foster faculty research and collaboration here at OU. In June, our Center for Peace and Development organized the firstever Conference on Grassroots Peacebuilding in Gulu, Uganda. OU faculty and students from a range of departments worked with local partners to bring together women peace activists from the country for three incredible days of discussion and exchange. We spotlight other community engagement initiatives in the College of International Studies as well, in particular the ways our international students and students at our study centers abroad are making an impact on their local communities. In addition, we speak with Honors College Professor Daniel Mains about his years of research abroad, Brazilian Cover: Chile by Aaron Snodell.

graduate student Karen Castillioni about her research in ecology, CIS alum Lester Asamoah about his work in the Foreign Service in Mexico and Egyptian graduate student and Fulbright scholar Tarek Mohamed about his life at OU. With an ever-growing roster of exciting study abroad opportunities available at OU, nearly 1,600 students traveled abroad during 2017-2018. Our international community on campus thrived as well, with more than 1,800 international students from 120 countries enrolled at OU last year. CIS continues to work with colleges across campus to serve OU’s international students studying in all colleges, facilitate study abroad access and opportunity, offer courses and contribute research and service that enhances international knowledge and global awareness. We invite you to explore this Compass: An International Profile to learn more about the many ways in which OU is engaging globally at home and abroad. Of course, this success is only possible because of the dedicated staff in the CIS offices of Education Abroad and International Student Services, the talented team in the Australia by Yuteng Jin

CIS Dean’s office, the outstanding IAS faculty and staff, the enthusiastic personnel located in Arezzo, Puebla and Rio de Janeiro and our dedicated partners in colleges, offices and departments across the OU campus. We are truly grateful for everything the CIS faculty and staff do to foster international education at OU. In particular we appreciate our campus partners, with whom we collaborate to create and deliver top-notch international programs. We offer special thanks to Maura McAndrew, CIS Publications Specialist, and Jacque Braun, CIS Marketing and Media Specialist, for their diligent work in writing and designing this publication and so many others throughout the year. Thanks also to Audra Brulc for her numerous contributions to this project. At CIS, we remain dedicated to supporting the University of Oklahoma’s international mission through education- and servicebased programs and activities as well as faculty and student research at home and abroad. Our unlimited passion for international education is our strength, and we look forward to the coming years of going global at OU.

Suzette R. Grillot, PhD

Dean College of International Studies Vice Provost for International Programs William J. Crowe, Jr., Chair in Geopolitics

Mitchell P. Smith, PhD

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs College of International Studies Max and Heidi Berry Chair and Professor of International and Area Studies

Rebecca J. Cruise, PhD

Associate Dean for Student Services College of International Studies Assistant Professor of International and Area Studies

Contents Centers and Programs ................................. 5

Center for Peace and Development Holds Conference on Grassroots Peacebuilding in Northern Uganda ..................................... 11

Arabic Flagship Program............................... 5

Education Abroad ........................................ 12

Center for Middle East Studies .................... 5

From SĂŁo Paulo to Norman ........................ 15

Center for the Study of Nationalism ............ 5

International Student Services ................... 18

Cyber Governance & Policy Center ............. 6

A Journey Fueled by Curiosity ..................... 22

European Union Center ............................... 7

A Mission of Service .................................... 24

Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies ..................................... 7

International Study Centers ........................ 27

Institute for US-China Issues ........................ 8

Department of International and Area Studies .......................................................


Fieldwork Abroad is Essential and Enriching for Honors College Professor Daniel Mains ................................. 9

Fulbright Scholar Tarek Mohamed Finds Vibrant Community at OU ........................... 31

Meet the Staff................................................ 3

Italy by Abigail Agosta

Discover Graduate Education at the

David L. Boren College of International Studies On campus


On location

Master of Arts in International Studies

Master of Arts in Global Affairs

Master of Arts in International Relations

Dynamic seminars provide a rigorous foundation in international and comparative politics, world history and international economics.

Incorporates a week-long,

Taught at European and US sites, the program allows both military personnel and other busy professionals the flexibility to complete their degree while maintaining a full-time job.

faculty-led study abroad experience and concentrations in Global Economics and Development and International Security Studies.




Visit www.ou.edu/international. 1 Compass

The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu

Greece by Katherine Lawson

David L. Boren College of International Studies

An International Profile EDITOR



Audra Brulc About the David L. Boren College of International Studies The objective of the David L. Boren College of International Studies is to expand the OU international experience and develop compassionate, open-minded citizens and leaders by enhancing global engagement and educational opportunities.



Mitchell P. Smith About the University of Oklahoma Created by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree-granting research university serving the educational, cultural, economic and health-care needs of the state, region and nation. The Norman campus serves as home to all of the university’s academic programs except health-related fields. The OU Health Sciences Center, which is located in Oklahoma City, is one of only four comprehensive academic health centers in the nation with seven professional colleges. Both the Norman and Health Sciences Center colleges offer programs at the Schusterman Center, the site of OU-Tulsa. OU enrolls more than 30,000 students, has more than 2,800 full-time faculty members, and has 21 colleges offering 171 majors at the baccalaureate level, 152 majors at the master’s level, 79 majors at the doctoral level, 32 majors at the doctoral professional level, and 35 graduate certificates. The university’s annual operating budget is $941 million. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. This publication, printed by University of Oklahoma Printing Services, is issued by the University of Oklahoma. 50 copies have been prepared and distributed at no cost to the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma. This publication is printed on Forest Stewardship Councilcertified paper with soy ink. The Forest Stewardship Council’s mission is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests.


Rebecca J. Cruise


Whitney Franca


Robyn Rojas


Patsy Broadway


Suzanne Kern


Annaly Beck


Kirk Duclaux


Armando Garcia


Caren Addis Botelho

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Meet the staff...

College of International Studies Staff (left to right): Morgan Brokob, Courtney Crowder, Burns Thornton, Elizabeth Vernon, Audra Brulc, Kristin Stewart, Becky Wilson, Lauren Lee-Lewis, Patsy Broadway, Merla Davis, Donna Cline, Tracy Holloway, Bushra Asif, Annaly Beck, Mary Beth Polk, Jacque Braun and Suzette Grillot. Not pictured: Mitchell Smith, Suzanne Kern, Marjan Seirafi-Pour, Rebecca Cruise and Jennifer

Department of International and Area Studies Staff (left to right): Beth Young, Eric Heinze, Stephanie Sager, Mitchell Smith, Katie Watkins and Malin Collins.

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Education Abroad Staff (left to right): Brittany Da Silva, Shanna Vincent, Neira Kadic, Monica Goodwin, Whitney Franรงa, Kaydee Dyer, Lana Ferguson, Kelsey Mays and Aleithia Stephens.

International Student Services Staff (left to right): Adam Hall, Brenda Afleje, Caroline Serรงe, Robyn Rojas, Brandi Hembree, Rhonda Ehrhardt, Mukarram Lillard and Titus Boswell.

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CENTERS & PROGRAMS The David L. Boren College of International Studies is home to a number of research centers and programs focused on specific parts of the world and important issues in international studies. These centers and programs offer leadership and research opportunities for students and faculty, bring guest speakers to campus and host events that further the college’s mission of global education at OU and beyond. Read on for more about our centers and programs and their recent activities.

Arabic Flagship Program Dan Mackey

Center for Middle East Studies The goal of the Center for Middle East Studies (CMES) is to enrich academic programming about the Middle East at OU by bringing distinguished speakers to campus and hosting events. In 2016-2017 CMES received a generous $2 million from the Sandra Mackey family to endow the Sandra Mackey Chair of Middle East Studies (held by CMES Director, Professor Joshua Landis) and the Mackey professorship, a new position that awaits approval.

OU’s Arabic Flagship Program is one of only five in the United States, providing students the chance to become fluent in Arabic and position themselves for a global career. The past year saw numerous honors for students in the program. Two students were awarded internships with the State Department, one completed remotely and the other to be completed this fall 2018 at the US Embassy in Oman. Two students also received the US State Department’s prestigious Critical Language Scholarship, which offered full funding for them to study Arabic abroad in the summer of 2018. A fifth student was awarded the Boren scholarship to fund his capstone year abroad in Meknes, Morocco. In 2017, the Arabic Flagship Program also expanded its event and guest speaker offerings on topics such as journalism, linguistics and literature. In the fall semester, the program co-hosted an event with the Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies during which students learned about similarities and differences between Arabic and Persian language and culture. Students in this close-knit program were also active in cultural clubs on topics such as Arabic poetry and cinema and Moroccan and Egyptian culture and dialect. Fall 2017 also featured the Arabic Program’s most popular event to date: the biannual talent show, which over 180 people attended to watch students from Arabic classes perform songs and sketches.

CMES has had a busy year, hosting lectures in conjunction with the Arabic Flagship Program, The Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies and the Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israel Studies. This fall, the Center for Middle East Studies has already sponsored three talks. The first was from Israeli scholar and visiting professor Gershon Lewental on Israel and the Palestinians, and the second featured two speakers, Rami Khouri from American University of Beirut and Qutaiba Idlbi from the Global Policy Institute, discussing the future of the Middle East. Khouri gave an additional talk on America in the Middle East as well. CMES will also be supporting CIS’s upcoming annual Foreign Policy conference on Conflict in the Persian Gulf with a symposium on regional and international politics in the Middle East.

Suzette Grillot interviewing Rami Khouri for the World Views @CIS podcast.

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Center for the Study of Nationalism CIS’s Center for the Study of Nationalism engages in the empirical and theoretical aspects of studying nationalism and related cultural and political issues, and the Center continues to bring OU faculty and students from different disciplines together for research and discussion. During spring 2018, the Center hosted talks from OU Associate Professor of History Sandie Holguin, who spoke on nationalism in Spain, and Center Director Dr. Carsten Schapkow, L.R. Brammer, Jr. Presidential Professor of History, who spoke about nationalism in Germany. This fall will feature a lecture from Religious Studies Professor Deonnie Moodie on religion and nationalism in India, which will build upon the talks from last spring. All of these talks are based on each faculty member’s research activity, and the Center’s goal is to host more lectures from OU faculty on the phenomenon of nationalism in our times. These talks have been a valuable venue for faculty and students to discuss and exchange ideas regarding nationalism in its various forms in the past and present.

Rachael Brown, London

Cyber Governance & Policy Center The Cyber Governance and Policy Center (CGPC) is dedicated to enhancing research-based understanding of policy and governance issues pertaining to modern information and communications technology. The CGPC celebrates its one year anniversary in fall 2018 and it continues to grow its presence on campus. Led by Director Mark Raymond, a Wick Cary Assistant Professor in International and Area Studies (IAS), the Center has already established a network of affiliate faculty from departments across OU such as law, computer science, journalism, engineering, business, women’s and gender studies and more. Raymond’s own research focuses on global rules, and he is currently finalizing a study of the Governmental Advisory Committee at the Internet Corporation on Assigned Names and Numbers, a paper on which is under review at an academic journal.


Friday, September 28 l 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Gaylord Hall Auditorium (Room 1140) T H E PA N E L Greg Nojeim

Senior Counsel and Director Freedom, Security and Technology Project Center for Democracy and Technology

Jill Edy

Associate Professor Department of Communication

Bryan Dean

Public Information Officer Oklahoma State Election Board

Peter Gade

Director of Graduate Studies and Professor Gaylord College of Journalism

Keith Gaddie

President’s Associates Presidential Professor Political Science

Ryan Kiesel Executive Director ACLU Oklahoma

T H E MOD E R AT OR: Mark R ay mond

Wick Cary Assistant Professor of International Security, Department of International and Area Studies DAVID L. BOREN COLLEGE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES



For more information or accommodation on the basis of disability, contact Stephanie Sager at stephaniesager@ou.edu.

During its first year, the CGPC has maintained a blog on Cyber Governance issues that features papers by faculty, undergrads and graduate students. The Center is also planning numerous events for the 2018-2019 school year, kicking it off on September 27 and 28 with visits from officials Greg Nojeim and Elizabeth Seeger from the Center for Democracy and Technology. Nojeim and Seeger gave guest lectures entitled “Internships and Careers in Tech Policy” and “When Foreign Governments Want Your Stuff: Cross-Border Data Demands in the 21st Century,” and Nojeim participated in panel discussion co-hosted by Gaylord College on Democracy, Elections and Cybersecurity. The Cyber Governance and Policy Center welcomes the engagement of the OU community as they continue to grow, and they can be reached on Twitter @cgpc_ou.

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European Union Center THE RISE OF GERMANY’S RIGHT-WING POPULIST PARTY AfD (Alternative for Germany) A lunch and lecture with

Dr. Carsten Schapkow Associate Professor, Department of History Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israel Studies at the University of Oklahoma

Wednesday, February 14 12:30-1:30 p.m. Farzaneh Hall, Room 145 Lunch will be served. Please register for this event at www.ou.edu/ias.

For more information or accommodation on the basis of disability, contact Stephanie Sager, IAS Event Coordinator, at stephaniesager@ou.edu.

This talk will provide an in-depth analysis of the AfD’s goals, its voters and overall implications for Germany and Europe at large.

In 2017-2018, the European Union Center continued to develop programming focused on timely issues of nationalism and right-wing populism in Europe. Building on themes presented in the spring 2017 Berry Chair lecture by Professor Reinhard Heinisch of the University of Salzburg, OU History Professor Carsten Schapkow delivered a spring 2018 talk on the rise of right-wing populism in Germany. In fall 2018, the EU Center brought New York Times London Correspondent Stephen Castle to campus, where he gave a talk on British exit from the European Union. EU Center Director Mitchell Smith has been conducting research on how the European Union has sought to advance a narrative of European unity in an environment of rising nationalism and in which the forces that shape the views of citizens reside largely at national and regional levels. Professor Smith’s work focuses on the House of European History, a project of the European Parliament that is really the first museum of “Europe.” Smith has conducted three separate visits to the House of European History since it opened in May 2016, has conducted two interviews with the official of the European Parliament who oversees the project, and spent three full days studying the exhibits in summer 2018. Professor Smith finds that the museum seeks to advance a narrative of Europe in which for centuries flows of ideas and commerce across the continent have been continuous and beneficial, and turmoil has followed efforts to reinforce borders.

Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies During spring 2018, CIS’s Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies celebrated its eight-year anniversary. Over the past year, the Center has offered many events and outreach programs organized by Director of Outreach and Persian Instructor Marjan Seirafi-Pour. These include a biannual Persian poetry night, “Farsi Friday” gatherings for Persian language students and the annual Omar Khayyam Day at OU, which features activities and lectures celebrating Persian literature. Guest lecturers have also spoken on topics ranging from politics and international relations to literature to journalism and more. The Iranian Studies minor has also continued to grow, and the undergraduate peer-reviewed research journal DĀNESH — the first undergraduate journal of Iranian Studies to be published in North America — published its third volume earlier this year. In addition, two students in the Farzaneh Family Center’s Persian language program were awarded Critical Language Scholarships to study in Tajikistan this past summer. The Farzaneh Family Center has also seen a lot of activity among its faculty, whose work reflects the Iranian Studies program’s interdisciplinary, comparative and transnational approach to research. Farzaneh Family Chair in Modern Iranian History Dr. Afshin Marashi is in the process of completing his second book, Exile and the Kingdom: The Parsi Community of Bombay and the Making of Iranian Nationalism, which is under contract with the University of Texas Press. The manuscript explores the idea of transnationalism and diaspora communities in the cultural and intellectual history of Iranian nationalism during the early twentieth century. Likewise Dr. Manata Hashemi, Farzaneh Family Professor of the Sociology of Contemporary Iran, has a book entitled The Face-Savers: Morality and Mobility in Contemporary Iran, forthcoming from New York University Press. Dr. Hashemi’s work focuses on inequality, urban poverty, and the role of culture in socioeconomic practices, and she has spent time in Iran conducting extensive ethnographic research. Dr. Alexander Jabbari joined the faculty in fall 2017 as Farzaneh Family Assistant Professor of Persian Language and Literature, and is currently at work on a book manuscript about the emergence of modern literary historiography in Persian and Urdu.

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Institute for US-China Issues The Institute for US-China Issues engages in and supports teaching, research and outreach programs that seek to better understand and improve USChina relations, focusing on dynamics of security and insecurity, perception and misperception and identity and power. The Institute continues to promote study abroad in China through its Study in China Scholarships, which offer several students each year funding toward a semester, year or summer of study in China. In addition, the Institute awards Newman Scholarships each year to Oklahoma high school students who have studied the Chinese language. Each semester, the Institute is also extremely active on campus through its speaker series. The past year has seen talks from international scholars on issues such as North Korea and US-China Relations, leadership changes in China, innovation in China, China’s rise in the global financial system and more. These lectures bring valuable perspectives to the OU campus and unite various departments and disciplines around the central issue of the relationship between China and the United States.



SINO-CAPITALISM and Its Implications for the United States with

Dr. Christopher McNally Professor, Chaminade University

Wednesday, September 26 Farzaneh Hall, Room 145

12-1:30 p.m.

Lunch will be served. Please register for this event on the events page at www.ou.edu/cis.




For more information or accommodation on the basis of disability, contact Stephanie Sager at stephaniesager@ou.edu.

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Tell me about your current research. What are you working on right now?

for all of them, but overall they were on par with the best students I’ve encountered in the US.

I’m finishing up a book, which is tentatively titled Under You also just returned from Berlin, where you were living on Construction: Technologies of Development in Urban Ethiopia. It’s a Humboldt Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year. Can all about infrastructural development. The research started in 2013- you tell me about that experience? 2014, when I was a Fulbright fellow in Hawassa, Ethiopia. Ethiopia right now has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, There I was basically living in Berlin with my family — my family also and a lot of that is due to state investment in infrastructure. It also came to Ethiopia with me — and I was based at a research institute has one of the highest levels of public investment in infrastructure called ZMO, which in English translates to the Center for Modern in the world. So the book examines conflicts, tensions, politics, Oriental Studies. It’s actually a Leibniz Institute, which is a series all centered on urban infrastructure: who benefits from different of German research institutes. The faculty members there only do infrastructural projects? Who loses? How are decisions made? research, so it was a great environment to be in while finalizing Who are the people the writing of the that build or provision book. I had a full draft infrastructure? The going into it, but [was chapters are organized working on] responding in terms of specific to reviews and revising. infrastructural I also traveled around technologies, for and attended a lot of example there’s a workshops in Europe, chapter on hydroelectric giving presentations and dams, a chapter on getting feedback on the asphalt roads, a chapter work as I was revising. I on cobblestone roads. also got feedback from There’s also a chapter my colleagues at ZMO. on these three-wheeled Professor Daniel Mains has been at OU since 2011, but in this motorcycle taxis and Have you been short span of time he and his family have lived on three different how that technology able to travel back continents — Africa and Europe, in addition to North America. mediates the to Ethiopia at all This may seem like quite a bit of travel, but it’s not unusual relationship between since your Fulbright for someone in Mains’s line of work. As a Wick Cary Associate the state and citizens. experience, and Professor of Anthropology and African Studies in the OU Honors are you planning to College, his research focus is culture and economics in urban What was your continue researching Africa, in particular Ethiopia, which was the subject of both his experience like as a in that country? first book, Hope is Cut: Youth, Unemployment, and the Future in Fulbright fellow in Urban Ethiopia (Temple, 2012), and his second, which is expected Ethiopia from 2013I made a couple of to be published by Duke University Press in 2019. 2014? research trips to Ethiopia during [my Humboldt For Mains, fieldwork abroad is not only essential to his research; [During my Fulbright year] in December to it augments his approach in the classroom and brings to light year,] I was living in finalize this question surprising local connections. We spoke with Dr. Mains about his the city of Hawassa, of infrastructure and current book project, his experiences abroad on Fulbright and Ethiopia and teaching again in June, when I Humboldt fellowships and the necessity of research support for in the Anthropology was collaborating with faculty. department at Hawassa an Ethiopian urban University. So I did most anthropologist and of the research for the thinking about a new book there in 2013project around industrial 2014. Hawassa University has a master’s in anthropology program, parks. The industrial parks are large sections of land that the so I was teaching master’s students one course per semester, and Ethiopian government has set aside for textile factories — they then doing research the rest of the time and collaborating with give major tax breaks to international companies if they’ll set up some Ethiopian faculty from Hawassa University on that research. factories there, and they also basically recruit all the labor. It was great to have the opportunity to teach. I had never taught at an Ethiopian university before, and [the students] were very So I was talking a little bit to the people that run the industrial park motivated. I’ve also never had students that were as interested [in Hawassa], but more talking to the workers in the factories, who in Ethiopia as they were, since they were all Ethiopian! I taught a are pretty much all young women. They’re producing clothes for research methods class, which was fun because I got to work with export around the world, and they get paid less than a dollar a day. them closely on the design of their research projects. I also taught Because of rapid increases in the price of housing in Hawassa, their a class on the history and cultures of Ethiopia — which, of course, income is well below what a single, small room with no windows as citizens of Ethiopia, they were well versed in to some extent, or anything would cost. So you have about four people sharing but not necessarily on the academic literature. And that’s a course a room of that size. I was looking at how they’re surviving, and I never get to teach at OU because it’s too specific. I also taught what the government’s going to do to try to keep the workers an urban anthropology course. There were only five students, and I there. With the rising cost of housing, it’s just not tenable to have asked a lot of them in terms of discussion and leading class, making workers live on those wages, and yet factory owners are likely to presentations, that sort of thing. There were a few students that leave if wages go up very much. So I was doing some preliminary struggled a bit with English, which was a second or third language research on that, and I maybe will expand on this work in the future

Fieldwork Abroad

is Essential and Enriching for Honors College Professor Daniel Mains

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Dr. Mains enjoying a meal with his research collaborator, Eshetayehu Kinfu of Hawassa University, on the banks of Lake Hawassa.

with Ethiopian collaborators. I’m not sure if I’m going to take that direction, but it was interesting just to talk to the workers and hear their experiences. From there I also made a trip to Gulu, Uganda where OU has the new program, the Center for Peace and Development. I wasn’t involved with that program directly, but just visiting and seeing what the faculty and students were doing there. It was a good visit, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to be involved with that program. How important would you say fellowships like the Fulbright and the Humboldt are for faculty who need to conduct research abroad? I think they’re pretty much essential. You can get a little bit of funding from OU to go abroad, which is helpful. I was able to do that my first summer here; I used OU funding to go over to Ethiopia and do about six weeks of research. That provided me with the foundation that enabled me to apply for the Fulbright. But if you want to do a year abroad for research, then it’s necessary to get some type of funding. Being there for a long period of time is important, because you have to develop relationships and get to know people over time. The Humboldt Fellowship was great, too, in terms of just having time. It allowed me to be there for a year — it would be hard to do it for just a semester, because that kind of back and forth is too disruptive, especially with a family. The Humboldt also provides this huge network of people, which is important. Though I don’t do research in Germany, it was a great chance to collaborate, as there were four or five scholars at ZMO working on Ethiopia specifically. How do you bring your research and teaching interests together, and how do your experiences abroad impact the way that you approach the classroom?

I definitely bring a lot of what I’ve experienced abroad into the classroom. Right now, for example, I’m teaching a course called Culture, Power and International Development, which is directly related to the research that I’m doing. The more recent research that I’ve done on factory workers I’ve already discussed in the first week of class, and I’ll be lecturing on my research on hydroelectric dams. But there are also just lots of examples. For instance, I wasn’t really doing research on Berlin, but I was living there for a year. And I’m teaching a class called Consumer Cultures, so [when discussing issues] like how people shop, what they buy, I can have examples from German culture vs. the US, in addition to Ethiopian culture. So it’s always coming up in class. Are there any other ways in which your work in Africa connects back to your life in Oklahoma? One thing that came up recently is that I was contacted by the city of Guymon, up in the panhandle, where there’s a big pork processing plant. It’s mostly immigrants that work at that plant, and many of them are Ethiopian and Eritrean. The town is only about 15,000, but there’s a growing Ethiopian and Eritrean community. So the person who runs the Guymon Main Street organization asked me to come out there in October and give a talk about Ethiopian culture and history. The audience is not actually the Ethiopian community, but people who have been in Guymon a little longer and are interested in learning more about Ethiopian culture. But [before I give that talk] I’m going to try to organize a meeting with the Ethiopian community as well. I’m interested in the experience of migrants in Oklahoma, and also I want to know how the Ethiopian community wants to be represented and wants to have their story told. Ideally, it should be a collaborative thing. So that’s where my research comes back to Oklahoma in surprising ways. c

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Center for Peace and Development Holds Conference on Grassroots Peacebuilding in Northern Uganda

The OU Center for Peace and Development (CPD) continued its ongoing work with local women’s organizations in Uganda with a Conference on Grassroots Peacebuilding in Northern Uganda in June 2018. OU faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from the David L. Boren College of International Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gallogly College of Engineering, the Gibbs College of Architecture, the Honors College and the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education partnered with St. Monica’s Girls Tailoring Centre and nine women’s organizations to host the three-day program in the city of Gulu.

The conference brought together 78 women from all five subregions of North and Northeast Uganda, who engaged in small group discussions and intergroup exchanges regarding sources of conflict in their communities and priorities for action. OU faculty and students assisted CPD’s partners by documenting the discussions and preparing materials for the grassroots organizations to use in their own ongoing peacebuilding and advocacy work. Dr. Andreana Prichard, Assistant Professor of African History in the OU Honors College, noted that the conference allowed women from different communities to share experiences and support one another. “Many women are dealing with the effects of the war in northern Uganda — former abductees deal with the physical effects of captivity and trauma, and with shame and ostracism. They were able to speak to women in grassroots organizations in other parts of the country who also suffer — from war, from rape, from HIV/AIDS, from living as refugees.” For Prichard, the conference’s most important function was to offer these women a platform. “This conference allowed women whose voices are not often heard or taken seriously to do just that: to be heard and to be taken seriously,” she said. “The conversations were incredibly powerful and seemed to offer an opportunity for continued healing.” For OU students who participated in the conference, it offered a chance to put active community-based research and community engagement into practice. It

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also proved an invaluable opportunity for crosscultural learning. As Sally Beach, Grant Family Presidential Professor in the College of Education, explained, “Watching the OU students interact with and support the women as they exchanged ideas supported my belief in the value of service as a way of learning about the world outside of your own comfortable life.”

The June program was part of CPD’s overall mission to support and document the peacebuilding, development and gender equity activities of communities affected by conflict. CPD has several active community-based research programs, including the School for Basic Learning for Women in Gulu and a baseline survey of grassroots peacebuilding organizations. These are collaborative initiatives with women’s groups striving to improve conditions for themselves and their communities. Conference convener Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe expressed satisfaction with the program overall, stating that it achieved its goal of bringing together women affected by conflict to discuss their lives and propose solutions. “The conference created the needed space for grassroots women from different regions in Northern Uganda to think together about peace and social transformation,” agreed Dr. Lupe Davidson, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Co-director of the OU Center for Social Justice. “I’m very proud that the CPD was able to partner with various groups to make it happen.” c

Education Abroad It was another exciting year for study abroad at OU. With the guidance of our talented staff in the office of Education Abroad, over 1,500 students took advantage of the opportunity to learn abroad and many others began the application process for future travel. With course offerings in Bhutan, Cuba and Israel along with many other options, students explored their interests and met their curricular needs in a variety of locales and formats. We also continued to see impressive growth at our study centers in Brazil, Italy and Mexico, where we had record enrollments. Our two Latin American centers in particular proved to be especially attractive to minority,

first-generation and STEM students — populations generally underrepresented in study abroad numbers nationally. We are also proud of our growing array of responsible service-learning opportunities. Through the CIS Center for Peace and Development, during this past summer students and faculty worked alongside local leaders and community members to facilitate a women’s conference in Gulu, Uganda. Additionally, President’s Community Scholars Lead students continued their partnership with a local NGO in the Rocinha Favela. And because study abroad is not just about going abroad but about the process of internalization


and growth that continues long after one comes home, EA again hosted its “Your OklaHome” reentry event. This is an event aimed at helping students reflect on their time abroad and adjust back into life at OU. Participants are also guided to think strategically about the most effective ways to highlight their international experience as they prepare to enter job market. As ever, 2017-2018 was a good time to get up and global at OU and 2018-2019 will undoubtedly be just as exciting. We look forward to making OU’s International presence more apparent than ever!



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Switzerland by Mack Delaney

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FROM SĂƒO PAULO TO NORMAN PhD Student Karen Castillioni on Studying Climate Change in Oklahoma

OU’s international community works in mysterious ways. Take Karen Castillioni, who was just finishing her master’s degree in São Paulo, Brazil when she met the mentor who would shape the course of her academic career. In 2015, OU Assistant Professor of Plant Biology Dr. Lara Souza (a fellow Brazilian) was collaborating with Castillioni’s thesis advisor, and paid a visit to their research sites in the São Paulo area. The two had a chance to meet, and after bonding over their shared field of interest, Dr. Souza invited Castillioni to take a chance on life in Norman and apply to OU’s PhD program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Castillioni entered OU as a PhD student in the fall of 2016, and she has spent much of her time since conducting research in the field at Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station in Purcell. Her project with Dr. Souza investigates the way plants respond to changes in precipitation and human simulated disturbances, with the goal of better predicting the impact of climate change and land-use. We spoke with Karen about her work and its implications, her decision to come to OU and life as an international PhD student. What prompted you to pursue your PhD at OU?

Was Dr. Souza your main reason for coming here?

My goal was to study abroad. I looked for universities here in the US and also in Australia. But I found out that traveling to Australia was going to be a little expensive. Right after I finished my master’s degree, my current PhD advisor [Dr. Souza] traveled to Brazil, because she’s a collaborator with my master’s advisor. And I met her right in the moment that I was looking for universities to send applications. She studies the effect of global changes on plants, and that is something that really interested me because I was basically studying a related topic of ecological concern, which was the impact of invasive plant species on native plant communities. So I told her about my interest in studying abroad, and she invited me to potentially become her PhD student, and I said yes. I applied to OU and that was the only university that I applied to.

Yes. I learned that it’s good to build trust with a person. I think it sometimes matters more than choosing a university based on a specific location. I think it’s good to have someone that you can trust and that you like. We spent about a week together, so I kind of had a feeling of how she was. I gave her a ride from her hometown to the place where we were studying. That was a two-hour drive, and so we could talk a lot about the program and the opportunities that I could find here.

Do you interact with others in the global network on a regular basis?

What is the focus of your current research/ dissertation project? The focus of my research is to investigate the effects of gradient of participation — different amounts of rainfall — plus clipping, which simulates the effect of hay harvest, a a way of land-use. Hay harvest is a common landuse practice in Oklahoma; you see a lot of haystacks. We want to put together the climatic effect plus the disturbance promoted by harvest to see how the plant community is going to respond to both types of stresses. This research is part of a global network, DroughtNet (http://www. drought-net.org), so a lot of people are doing similar things around the world. I’m part of this network, and with that research we can develop a lot of new ideas to help us explain ecological responses. For example, how then plant interactions can influence or mediate the effects of climate change and disturbances. The main focus is climate change — everything is tied to that.

Just some of them; I haven’t had much contact with the others. I’m actually curious to know what they have been finding. But this is a recent study. It has been running for two years. The goal is to run the experiment for five years, and so I think that is when everyone is going to put together the results and publish. Part of what is unique about the project is that the protocol says that we have to reduce 60 percent of rainfall, but my advisor and the other principal investigator researchers expanded this pyramid to extra gradients. So they are reducing minus 100 percent, minus 80, minus 60, 40, 20, and actually adding precipitation and adding the disturbance impact of the clipping (removing the vegetation) to see how the gradient, or the regression design plus disturbance, affects the plant community. Since we had this opportunity, they thought of expanding the experiment.

I got really excited because during PhD study, it’s not like a master’s degree that you have only about two years in which to accomplish a lot of goals. Here now I have more time to actually dive into the topic and learn a lot.

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What you think or hope this study will do? What are its implications? With this study, we can be more confident in predicting how plants are going to respond to climate change. We have many treatments so we can see: if we have this scenario, what’s going to happen? What about this other scenario? So that’s what excites me. Plants actually provide a lot of ecosystem services. For example, they provide food to people; like with the hay harvest, they provide food for grazing animals such as cattle, horses, goats and sheep. So if you actually change the dynamics of vegetation you can change the way that [it impacts] humans. Along those lines, we also have one experiment in which we are tracking how the arthropod community — bugs — is interacting with these changes in rainfall and with the disturbance. We want to know how the other thropic levels are being indirectly affected by changes that occur at the plant level. As a graduate student, do you spend a lot of time in the field?

Rio de Janeiro by Travis Madison

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Kessler belongs to OU, and is home to a number of long-term meteorological and biological experiments. The location is very convenient, because it’s close, about 28 km southwest of the OU campus in Norman. I usually do visits in the summer during the plant growing season. During my first and second years, I was heavily collecting data. And I still collect data, but it depends on what I’m working on. This year, I went to the field maybe one time a week or one time every two weeks. In the field, I can be either looking at the plant species or measuring soil respiration, [analyzing] changes in Co2 that the soil has in each treatment, or measuring species foliar cover to estimate their abundance. We also have a balance of lab work, so we collect in the field — let’s say we collect leaves to process them in the lab. We have the whole process of collecting and bringing them to the lab, and then processing and analyzing data. We can also do work in the greenhouse, which is part of my third chapter. I ran an experiment that was growing species in a pair-wise fashion to see how competition between them plus drought influenced their performance. Based on preliminary analysis, some species grew more or

grew better when they were growing alone and there was no drought; some grew better when they had a neighbor. So it’s a combination of fieldwork, greenhouse work and lab work. It’s really interesting, because you don’t trap yourself in one situation. Working in the field all the time can be stressful. This way, you can balance well. What do you like most about the research you’re doing? I like to understand the processes and how things work, because ecology is really complex. Once you change one little thing, one piece of the whole puzzle, then you can change the direction of how the whole community and ecosystem is going to respond. You can trigger a lot of effects if you play with one component. What is life like for you as an international grad student at OU, and how have you adjusted to life in the US? I lived in the US before — in 2010 I was an au pair. I lived in Chicago and I basically was the babysitter of three kids. And back then I learned that if you want to learn a new language and a new culture, you need to immerse yourself. I tried to make a lot of friends from here to also learn the train of

thought, the way Americans think, so I could understand and be part of the culture. I think that’s important: to be open, to accept the differences. So that’s how I made my adaptation very well. At OU, I haven’t been involved in any organizations, but I kind of want to be part of a group that links women and science and being an international woman in science. This is something I have as a goal for next semester, because this semester I am going to take my qualifying exams, so I want to focus on that. I understand that as a minority and also an international student, I can maybe share my experience with other people and learn from others. What do you want to do after you finish your PhD? My goal is to become a professor and do research and teach. For that, I know that having a PhD is not enough. So I’m going to apply for postdoc positions and fellowships and later apply for [tenure-track] jobs. My goal is to stay in the US — I like the way research is done here. I think my adaptation was so good that I would like to stay. c

International Student Services Each year, OU welcomes hundreds of new international students from around the globe. The Office of International Student Services (ISS) is here to provide immigration support to those students before, during and after their time in the United States. The immigration regulation landscape is constantly changing, and as changes have become more drastic in recent years, ISS advisers closely monitor national trends and policy updates from US government agencies. The ISS office then proactively communicates any relevant changes to keep OU international students up-todate. Advisers are also active in NAFSA, the leading professional organization for international education. In the 2017-2018

year, ISS staff members presented at and attended national and regional NAFSA conferences and served on national committees to track trends in international education. This keeps staff informed and gives them the opportunity to hear directly from government agencies, enabling ISS to provide more accurate advising and efficient services to our international students. Much of the ISS office’s support for international students is behind the scenes, so ISS also makes an effort to plan some student events that are fun or informative (or both!). Over the past academic year, ISS has hosted a fall festival for international students/scholars and their families, a


“Winter Warm-up� cookie-decorating party and an extremely well-attended spring ice cream social. In our International Perspectives series, students from Oman and South Korea presented information about their cultures. In both fall 2017 and spring 2018, ISS held in-person and livestreamed workshops to help international students at OU navigate the complexities of the US immigration system. A record number of students attended or tuned in online. As the 2018-2019 academic year progresses, ISS looks forward to discovering new ways to engage with and serve international students!



*International student statistics compiled by the International Student Services office from internal COGNOS reports retrieved on February 5, 2018. Numbers include international students enrolled at Norman and Tulsa campuses excluding Advanced Programs and Liberal Studies and include F, J, and all other visa types. US Permanent Residents are not included.

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International Advisory Committee

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International Bazaar

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A Journey Fueled by Curiosity Lester Asamoah’s Path from OU’s College of International Studies to US Foreign Service Officer Lester Asamoah’s interest in international affairs can be traced back to high school, when a curiosity about the Iraq War prompted him to study, in his words, “the world outside of Oklahoma.” During that time, he became active in Model United Nations and Youth and Government, laying the groundwork for his future career. “I didn’t know much in high school, if anything, about the Middle East,” explains the Oklahoma City native, whose parents hail from Ghana. “But I did know that the stereotypes and coverage of the region were highly skewed, and I wanted to understand what was really happening in the region and what life was truly like there.”

“Always asking questions to learn about cultural differences, problems and work processes is essential to be a successful student and professional,” he says. “One can’t be a great team player, mentor and have a strong basis of knowledge without curiosity. It’s the desire to find innovative ways to help people, and to continue learning in innovative ways, that matters.”

This interest brought Asamoah to OU, where he majored in International Studies with a minor in Middle East Studies and a goal of someday working with the federal government. He also chose to study the Arabic language, putting his skills to work during a study abroad experience in Amman, Jordan. “That was a pivotal experience for me,” he explains. “I learned, primarily, that I could live overseas.” He notes that in addition to improving his Arabic and teaching him about Jordanian culture, the experience “helped me understand how to navigate cultural differences, ask helpful questions and appreciate a different way of life” — attributes that have served him well professionally as well as personally. As a CIS undergraduate Asamoah also participated in Washington and the World, a Washington, DC program led by Dean Suzette Grillot and Associate Dean Rebecca Cruise, as well as the CIS Leadership Fellows program and Diplomacy Lab project. Both of these experiences, he says, were integral in the development of leadership and networking skills, and reinforced his

Asamoah admits that the process of applying to graduate school and the Pickering was daunting, but he attributes much of his motivation and success to the help he received at OU. “I was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and the program is meant to help minorities and underrepresented groups attend graduate school,” he says. “I had wonderful support from this program, and it made me feel like graduate school was a reality.” Though overwhelming at first, graduate school at American University gave Asamoah the chance to study with wonderful professors, experience life in the nation’s capitol and complete two internships with the US Department of State. His first, in 2016, brought him to the State Department Operations Center, where he worked on scheduling and crisis protocol. Then in 2017 came his biggest opportunity yet: 10 weeks working as a Political Fellow with the US Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. “Living in Hanoi was great,” he says. “I learned a lot about the issues in Southeast Asia in general, though I have much more to learn. I did a lot of work supporting the embassy’s work on human rights as well as regional security.” The experience was a significant one, teaching Asamoah about a new part of the world and the US-Vietnam

desire to pursue a career in government and international affairs. At the end of his senior year, Asamoah was awarded the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship. The Fellowship provides funding for a twoyear master’s program, includes one domestic and one overseas internship and requires five years’ commitment as a Foreign Service Officer upon completion of graduate school. Asamoah was accepted into the master’s program at American University in Washington, DC, and began in the fall of 2015.

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relationship. As a result of his work there, he published an article in State Magazine detailing a joint effort by the Departments of State and Defense to support Vietnam’s Coast Guard. Last fall Asamoah reached another milestone, graduating from American University and beginning his full-time career as a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State in Mexico City. After a year on the job, he feels confident that all the hard work was worthwhile. “Entering the Foreign Service takes time and determination, but it is doable and well worth it,” he says. His entry-level position is Vice Consul, a role that involves interviewing visa applicants interested in coming to the United States to vacation, work or study. At some point during his time in Mexico, he will also get to work with American Citizen Services, assisting US citizens in Mexico. As Asamoah climbs the ranks, he will eventually get to work in economic policy, his area of interest. But for now, he is soaking up all the knowledge he can. “What I enjoy most about my current role is how many people I get to learn from,” he explains. “I get to learn perspectives about Mexico from Mexicans.”

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As for day-to-day life in Mexico, Asamoah is enjoying that to the fullest, too. “Living and working in Mexico has been great,” he says, citing food, museums and the friendly people as three exceptional aspects of life in Mexico City. “Everyone in the city is nice and helpful, and there are so many activities and events,” he says. “I [also] get to work with local Mexican staff, who are highly dedicated and overall wonderful people.” Looking to the future, Asamoah plans to continue his career with the Department of State, which will require him to serve in different locations throughout the world. “I’m frequently asked about what post I would like to serve at next, but I am open to opportunities,” he says. He adds that he doesn’t get to choose his next place of employment, but he’s content to go with the flow and make the most of wherever he is sent. It’s clear that though he is still young, Lester Asamoah is already a College of International Studies success story — his hard work and ambition as a student paid off in the form of a prestigious fellowship and a dream career. But to those seeking to follow in his footsteps, Asamoah stresses the importance of two humble qualities:

flexibility and curiosity. Flexibility he defines as being open to opportunities that are perhaps less obvious, but just as enriching. “There are a lot of different roles with governmental, nongovernmental and business organizations that have links to international relations,” he says, noting that often students will focus too exclusively on prominent foreign policy bodies like USAID, Brookings, the State Department, the Council on Foreign Affairs and intelligence agencies. Being open to other organizations, he explains, increases the likelihood of breaking into the field. But it is curiosity, Asamoah believes, that is the true driving force behind a successful career in international affairs. After all, his own teenaged curiosity about the Iraq War got him where he is today. “Always asking questions to learn about cultural differences, problems and work processes is essential to be a successful student and professional,” he says. “One can’t be a great team player, mentor and have a strong basis of knowledge without curiosity. It’s the desire to find innovative ways to help people, and to continue learning in innovative ways, that matters.”


A MISSION OF SERVICE Community Engagement Across the Globe Service to state and society is an integral part of OU’s mission, and in recent years the university has been working to strengthen this focus by increasing service and engagement opportunities with the surrounding community. “Community engagement has become one of the fastest growing areas in higher education and its educational benefits have been well established,” explains Joy Pendley, OU’s Director of Community Engagement. “The University of Oklahoma is uniquely positioned to go beyond . . . and become a leader in engaged teaching and research.” The David L. Boren College of International Studies is proud to reinforce OU’s commitment to community engagement through our own service-oriented programs at home and abroad, which are growing by the year.

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Located in Arezzo, Italy, OU in Arezzo has made community engagement a priority since its establishment. Students studying in Arezzo are regularly involved in volunteer activities — including serving as English assistants in elementary schools — and 30 percent intern with a local business. A program called Language Tandem pairs students and local Italians as conversation partners, and the group OUA Ambassadors hosts monthly networking events for locals and students to mingle. And though students don’t live with host families while studying at OUA, the Cugino Aretino program offers brief homestays, special meals with Italian families, and even connects interested students with families who wish to hire an English-speaking babysitter. But the most visible impact on the Arezzo community comes from OUA’s service activities, including a day of service on

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. Ar ez


The OU in Rio study center also provides ample opportunity for community engagement in the large, diverse city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Most notable is OUR’s partnership with the NGO Mundo das Artes (World of the Arts [MDA]). Located in Rocinha, Rio’s largest favela, MDA provides afterschool arts-based activities for at-risk children living in Rocinha. This partnership dates back to the beginning of OUR: former OU professor Erika Larkins met the NGO’s founder when conducting research in Rocinha, and eventually brought MDA and OUR together.

Ev en t





MDA’s motto, “Exchange a weapon (real or toy) for a paintbrush,” sums up its mission of helping children avoid violence and drugs by becoming involved with art. The program allows children to learn to make art using recycled materials, receive tutoring in school subjects and learn about other cultures through the program’s international volunteers. OUR students work with MDA as often as once a week, teaching English to children, playing games and leading activities about US culture and the environment. OUR-organized activities so far this fall 2018 semester include an insect safari led by biology major Matthew Carman and a Halloween activity. Bi g

CIS also offers students a myriad of opportunities for community engagement during study abroad — the new OU Center for Peace and Development initiative in Gulu, Uganda being a prime example. At our three international study centers — OU in Arezzo, OU in Rio and OU in Puebla — we have also built partnerships with local organizations that provide opportunities for service and collaboration each year.

This year’s Big Event project revolved around renovation as well. OUA students joined elementary school students and their families to paint and decorate classrooms and hallways in the local Instituto Comprensivo Margaritone school. The group brightened and revamped the school atmosphere and also forged new relationships, coming together at the end of the day for a barbeque at OU’s Rooney Family Residential Learning Center. “We laughed, learned and served with a common goal to unite the two cultures through service,” said Big Event Chair Molly Donnell of the experience. “I’m proud to be a part of both communities.”


ISSB’s most significant partnership is with the geography program at Alcott Middle School in Norman. Throughout the school year, ISSB members are invited to serve on panels representing regions of the world, presenting information and answering questions. “This experience is enriching for both parties,” notes Courtney Crowder, International Programs Coordinator with CIS. “ISSB members get to experience an American middle school and share their culture, and Alcott students get to apply their learning in an enriching, personal way.” According to Alcott Middle School teacher Chris Housman, the interactions with ISSB go deeper than traditional classroom learning. “Our students not only express excitement about each panel, but also often walk away with a more clear understanding,” Housman says. “These panels not only influence student growth but encourage young minds to explore other cultures with an open heart.”

Thanksgiving, a summer President’s Community Scholars (PCS) program and OU’s annual Big Event. For 2017’s Thanksgiving service project, students painted and decorated local high school Liceo Colonna, inviting high school students and friends of OUA to a food-and-fun-filled Thanksgiving dinner at the end of the day’s work. Students with PCS in Arezzo’s summer program took on an even bigger project, dedicating four days to repainting and redecorating a local shelter for foster children.


Community engagement is a key component of CIS’s mission of global education and cross-cultural understanding, integrated into our on-campus and study abroad programs. One of our most active engagement organizations in Norman is the International Student Speakers Bureau (ISSB), which offers OU international students the opportunity to share their cultures with other community members. ISSB is currently 36 students strong, with 22 countries represented. Throughout the year, members serve on panel discussions and give presentations on their home cultures at local schools, retirement homes, adult day cares and OU classes and events.

MDA director Iris and the children have touched the lives of many OU students studying abroad in Rio. OUR Director Caren Addis Botelho notes that some students become so attached the organization that they have raised and donated funds for classroom repairs and other needs. In turn, OU students positively impact the children’s lives as mentors and educators. “Iris loves OU students because they teach her children different perspectives and because they can become de facto role models,” explains Botelho. “When RMDA students see that our young students

are pursuing a university degree, they see other options for their futures. When they see and hear OU students speaking English, they become more aware of different cultures.” Community engagement is also central to OU in Puebla, OU’s study center in Puebla, Mexico. Students pursuing education or pre-medicine can enroll in service learning during semester and summer study abroad. These programs combine classroom and experiential learning and offer students the invaluable opportunity of exploring their field within a different culture. In the pre-med program, students hear lectures from local medical professionals and spend time shadowing in hospitals, helping doctors and staff where needed. In OUP’s education program, students take a course on pedagogy and the social context of education in Mexico at OUP’s local partner university UPAEP, followed by a month-long group practicum at a public or private elementary or secondary school. At the end of the semester, the students complete a comparison activity to highlight the vast differences between private and public education in Mexico, serving for a day in the opposite type of institution from where their practicum was based. OU in Puebla also hosts a number of departmental study abroad programs throughout the year, many of which include community engagement components. A May 2018 Introduction to Human Relations course in Puebla explored the field of human relations through interaction with Puebla community members. This past year, students on a President’s Leadership Class (PLC) program had the chance to visit with a community of women to discuss the impact that the migration of local men to the United States has had on the community. At CIS, we strive to do more each year to fulfill OU’s mission of service. Perhaps what is most rewarding about the community engagement initiatives listed above is that they are truly reciprocal, benefitting local communities and OU students alike through valuable experiences and intercultural exchange. Not only does this kind of work bring people together; it is inevitably more powerful than what can be taught in a classroom. “Community engagement is an important experiential learning tool,” explains Pendley. “It guides the student to understand their role in community, both local and global.” c

“These panels not only influence student growth but encourage young minds to explore other cultures with an open heart.” -Chris Housman, Alcott Middle School Compass 26

The University of Oklahoma’s

International Study

OU in Arezzo students at the Saracen joust of Arezzo.

OU in Arezzo As OU’s first Study Center, OU in Arezzo, Italy (OUA) continues to set the pace for OU’s international education efforts. Housed in the Kathleen and Francis Rooney Family Residential Learning Center, a converted 800-yearold monastery, OUA gives students the opportunity to actually experience the subjects they study. “Rarely

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do Italian history professors at American universities have the opportunity to engage in experiential learning,” notes Dr. Jane Wickersham, Associate Professor of History and OUA’s 2018-2019 faculty in residence. “For example, there is the allschool trip to Venice, just as my Renaissance class is learning about Renaissance Venice; while my Italy: Making the

Nation students studied Venice during the Enlightenment,” Wickersham says. During the spring 2019 semester, Dr. Wickersham will also teach a new course, The Sacred and the Secular in Medieval and Early Modern Italy, which has been developed specifically to engage with the resources and rich cultural traditions available through OUA.

OUA is active throughout the year hosting both semesterlong and short-term programs, like its signature Journey to Italy and President’s Community Scholars (PCS) study abroad opportunities. With a variety of courses and community service initiatives, OUA gives students and faculty from across campus a truly unique teaching (and learning) experience.

OU in Rio

Centers OU in Puebla The OU in Puebla, Mexico, International Study Center (OUP) has experienced another record year in terms of student learning opportunities and faculty engagement. The rich cultural and educational climate of Puebla has contributed to OUP’s popularity among students studying everything from the humanities to engineering to pre-medicine. OUP continues to host students for its Engineers in Puebla, Summer Pre-Med and Cuisine, Arts and Culture programs. Along with its regular semester and summer programs, OUP also hosts students as part of OU’s unique spring break study abroad course in Cuba. During the program, students visit Puebla and then travel on to Havana while engaging with both countries in an

academically rich setting. OU in Puebla has also connected students to professors conducting research in the area. Dr. Julie Ward, Assistant Professor of 20th- and 21st-Century Latin American Literature at OU, led one of the first summer Spanishlanguage courses at OUP in 2015. Dr. Ward’s research, which focuses on theater and performance studies in Latin American culture, has brought her to Mexico several times for fieldwork. Between Dr. Ward’s research on Latin American theater, Dr. Grady Wray’s course in literature and the variety of STEM programs available, OUP offers a study abroad experience to students of all majors and backgrounds.

At OU in Rio de Janeiro (OUR), students and faculty alike have been able to delve deeply into Brazil’s rich cultural history, contemporary political movements and Latin American relations as a whole. With programs tailored specifically to engineering and health and exercise science majors, OUR is also an opportunity for students across campus to learn off the beaten path in one of Latin America’s largest, most fascinating countries. For OU faculty members like Dr. Misha Klein, Associate Professor of Anthropology, OUR has also helped forge new research relationships in Brazil. Serving as faculty-in-residence was an opportunity for Dr. Klein to return to and build upon a research area she explored years ago when writing her doctoral dissertation in São Paulo. “I’ve lived on and off in Brazil for a total of probably seven years,” she explains, but she never lived in Rio de Janeiro. OU in Rio, however, gave her the opportunity: “I went to Rio because I was going be faculty-in-residence. I went looking for a new project.” Living in Rio for the first time allowed Dr. Klein to reach out to

Brazilian colleagues and focus on a new dimension of her earlier work— Jewish identity in Brazil, one of the largest culturally Catholic countries in the world. “The Jewish community in Brazil comes from 50 different countries, including other Latin American countries, so it’s very culturally diverse, it’s very ethnically diverse, and that in itself makes it very interesting,” says Klein. In a country often studied for its complicated history with diversity, she says, researching minority populations is “so central to these core questions that we ask about Brazil, and because it’s so central to what’s happening in Brazil right now.” Now as Dr. Klein continues her research into Jewish identity in Brazil, her goal is to return — this time, with OU students participating as researchers as well. “I’m really, really jazzed about this particular project and it’s got so many different aspects to it,” Klein says. “I can teach all of these topics that are really near and dear to me and get the students involved in a real project. It’s actually ideal to be able to go as a facultyin-residence and take students with me . . . So I really want to go back.”

Engineering students visiting GE plant in Rio.

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DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL AND AREA STUDIES The Department of International and Area Studies (IAS) enjoyed a dynamic academic year of global affairs teaching, programming and faculty research. IAS began to implement its undergraduate curriculum revisions, including new majors in Global Environment, Energy and Resources and International Development, along with additional focus on cultivating writing and research skills across all majors. The Department also finalized revisions to our MA program in International Studies to give additional emphasis to student skills in teamwork, policy analysis and global problem solving. Outreach events varied across types, themes and regions. The Center for the Americas Latin Americanist lunch talk series featured lectures on subjects such as the trial of former President Lula in Brazil and human rights in the Americas. The Center also sponsored a launch event for IAS Assistant Professor Michelle Morais’s new book, Poverty Reduction in

Puebla by Miles Fransisco

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Brazil and Colombia: Cases of Conditional Cash Transfers. The Center for the Study of Nationalism hosted a talk on the rise of right-wing populism in Germany. The US-China Institute continued its series of talks with expert guests focused on reform challenges facing China’s new leadership, North Korea and US-China relations and perceptions and misperceptions in USChina security issues. And Iranian Studies events included an Arabic-Persian cultural summit and a series of activities celebrating Omar Khayyam Day. The European Union Center collaborated with the German language faculty in the Department of Modern Languages to host a series of “Germany Campus Week” events addressing the theme of “immigration and Integration” in Germany, including a discussion with Dr. Stefan Buchwald, Director of the German Information Service of the German Embassy. The EU Center also hosted Consul General of Ireland Adrian Farrell, who discussed the

implications for Ireland of Britain’s exit from the European Union. Among numerous other activities, the Center for Middle East Studies hosted events on Muslims in the Iraq War and on the atrocity perpetrated against the Rohingya in Myanmar. The spring 2018 IAS Symposium, organized by the Cyber Governance and Policy Center, focused on “Global Cyber Trends.” IAS is excited about two superb additions to the faculty. Emma Colven, a recent Geography PhD, adds strength to our offerings in global environmental issues. And Jen Spindel, who earned her PhD in International Security, will teach courses on technology and war as well as national security policy and US foreign policy. Along with our existing faculty complement, these new faculty members will enable IAS to meet growing student interest in Global Environment, Energy and Resources and International Security Studies.

China by Jan Yutong


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Tarek Mohamed Finds Vibrant Community at OU Tarek Mohamed came to the University of Oklahoma from Cairo, Egypt, just one year ago, but he’s already forged a stronger connection to OU than many Oklahoma natives. “Norman is so different than where I am from — it’s so quiet, so few people in the streets. Cairo is one of the most crowded cities in the world,” he explains. “But I like how there are so many things going on here, so many activities I can get involved in.” Get involved he has. In addition to pursuing his master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering as a Fulbright scholar, Mohamed is active in the International Student Speakers Bureau (ISSB), the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts (SPWLA). He has volunteered with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, OKC’s 12th Annual Mardi Gras and the 2017 Sooner Showcase Career Fair, and he became a peer mentor for OU’s New International Student Orientation (NISO). All of that, and he even plays on a hockey team. Mohamed’s busy schedule is in part due to his outgoing nature, but also to the open and welcoming community he feels he’s met here. “The people here are really friendly, in OU and in Oklahoma,” he says. He cites his NISO orientation specifically as an experience that made a good impression, prompting him to volunteer as a mentor himself. “When I came here first, actually I didn’t expect the orientation. It was a really nice experience for me,” he says. “I had a good, warm welcome and met so many people. I guess it’s the most diverse event at OU — you meet people from all over the world. I like those kinds of events.” Since beginning his undergraduate studies in Egypt, Mohamed has had a goal of studying Petroleum Engineering, which he enjoys because of the way it combines aspects of mechanical and chemical engineering. When he saw an advertisement in a local paper for the Fulbright program, he decided to apply, ranking the University of Oklahoma as his first choice due to its highly respected PE department. Mohamed will graduate with his master’s in May. His current research project focuses on Coalbed Methane modeling and simulation. This involves

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employing various production and enhanced recovery scenarios and techniques, including co2 sequestration, a process that aims to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the air. Once he graduates, Mohamed hopes to remain in the United States and work for another year before returning to Cairo. Though he set foot in the US for the first time just last year, he has gotten to know it well, traveling throughout 15 different states. Someday, it may become his long-term home, but “ideally, I should go home for three years before considering moving to the US,” he says. Though his time in Oklahoma may be fleeting, for now there’s no place Mohamed would rather be. “[For the Fulbright program], I had to apply for four universities, and then they got to choose for me,” he says. “OU was my first choice, and luckily, they chose it too.” c

The David L. Boren College of International Studies thanks all members of its Board of Visitors for their continued assistance, generosity and counsel in support of the internationalization of the university. Honorable M. Susan Savage Mr. Max Berry Mr. Stephen Chazen Ms. Nadia Comaneci Mr. Bart Conner Ms. Rebecca Cooper Ms. Lee Cullum Mr. Steve Dolman Ms. Tricia Everest Mr. Jalal Farzaneh Mr. Mohammad Farzaneh Mr. D. Cole Frates Dr. Sam T. Hamra Honorable Robert Henry Mr. Rashid Iqbal Ambassador James R. Jones Mrs. Lou Kerr Mr. Harold Newman Mr. R. Marc Nuttle Ms. Susan Peterson Mr. W. DeVier Pierson Mr. Rodger Randle Ms. Erielle Reshef Mr. John Richels Mr. Robert “Bob” Ross Ms. Mary Sherman Honorable Kathy Taylor Mr. Reggie Whitten

Spain by Heath Orcutt

Young Alumni Board Nick Aguilera Lester Asamoah Matt Bebb Holly Berrigan Higuera Hunter Brunwald Alex Byron Rachele Clegg Andrew Crain Stephanie Eyocko Caleb Gayle Misheala Giddings Priscilla Gomes Kaitie Holland Blessing Ikpa Jeremy Isenberg Zekiel Johnson Tara Jordan

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Cara McGrath Allison Mee Dana Mohammad-Zadeh Daniel Moses Derek Nguyen Tyler Nunley Corie O’Rourke Anna Przebinda Robin Rainey Bryce Rowland Mackenzie Sammis Anna Searcey Anne Sutherland Symphonie Swift Alexis Taitel Elizabeth Vernon John Zubialde

Jordan by Grand Yanker




Journey to Tanzania