HAYS, KS -- Dr. Edward H. Hammond, president of Fort Hays State University, and Henry Schwaller IV, mayor of Hays and an instructor of business administration at FHSU, will usher in a week of activities when they sign a proclamation Monday for International Education Week.
The president and the mayor will sign the proclamation at 8:30 a.m. Monday in the Dreiling Lobby of Sheridan Hall on the FHSU campus. The public is welcome to attend the signing ceremony and the activities throughout the week.
"Education, at its heart, is the ability to understand and appreciate life in all its expressions, and one of the best ways to achieve that kind of understanding and appreciation is to interact with the people of other nations," President Hammond said about the celebration of International Education Week.
The president led a delegation to China last month that included Dr. Clay Blair III and Jack Wempe, the chair and vice chair of the Kansas Board of Regents respectively.
In China, the group visited with numerous education and government officials, including members of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Committee, and it visited SIAS University of Business and Management, located in the city of Xinzheng in Henan Province, where Hammond gave the keynote address for the opening of the fall semester.
Fort Hays State University has had a partnership for two years with SIAS University. FHSU faculty teach Virtual College classes to SIAS students, and the two schools exchange students and faculty.
"Our partnership with SIAS University has given Fort Hays State University a wonderful opportunity to learn first-hand about one of the oldest and arguably greatest civilizations in the history of the world," Hammond said.
Through the SIAS connection and in other ways, Fort Hays State is committed to international education.
Currently 110 international students from 22 countries are studying at Fort Hays State University. Of the 110 students, eight are participating in student exchange programs, two are involved in the International Student Exchange Program -- one each from Japan and the Netherlands -- and six are from SIAS University. About 180 students in China are taking Virtual College classes at the SIAS University campus. FHSU is also hosting a visiting professor from SIAS University during the fall semester.
On average, two to three Fort Hays State students study abroad for a full year. Currently, Richard Dorzweiler, a Catharine senior, is studying at Eichstatt, Germany, and Alicia Burkhalter, a Bird City senior, is studying at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Students can also take advantage of "Study Abroad" experience through the Guadalajara summer Spanish program and the Travel Program to Paris over spring break offered through the Department of Modern Languages. In addition, a Topics in Anthropology course is offered during the spring semester that involves studying about and traveling to China.
"Fort Hays State University will join colleges and universities nationwide in marking the second annual International Education Week, Nov. 12-16, because we recognize that international awareness and understanding are more important than ever to achieve a more peaceful world," said Carol Solko, coordinator of international student services. The university will hold several events:
· An art exhibit, "Celebrating Diversity Through Art," will be on display in Forsyth Library from Monday, Nov. 12 to the end of the month.
· The Office of Multicultural Affairs will present a Multicultural Fashion Show at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. Admission is free.
· Model United Nations competition for area high schools is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in the Memorial Union. More than 300 high school students will participate.
· Mr. Jun Yang, a visiting professor from SIAS University, will present a Chinese Language Workshop from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in 328 Rarick Hall.
· A number of classroom presentations on the Study Abroad program will be given throughout the week.
International Education Week has significance not only locally but in the state and the nation.
Approximately 7,000 students from more than 100 countries around the world are now studying in Kansas, and more than 1,000 Kansas students will study abroad this year. Kansas institutions of higher education participate in a wide variety of exchange programs with similar institutions around the world.
The week-long observance is part of a growing awareness of the need to focus national attention on the importance of a global education for all Americans through overseas study and exposure to other cultures at home. The issue also has gained momentum as a national policy priority, with the introduction of resolutions in both the House and Senate calling for an international education policy.
Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed support for International Education Week by highlighting the foreign policy role played by American colleges and universities that educate international students. "I can think of no more valuable asset to our country than the friendship of future world leaders who have been educated here," he said.