truth, however, it would be difficult to identify any significant event,
anywhere on Earth, that isn’t somehow felt by the people of this University:
students, faculty, staff, alumni and the communities we serve.
I used to make a related point when I was at Eastern Oregon University, in a relatively remote corner of the state where agriculture was king:
“Show me a student who enrolls straight from the family wheat farm, 50 miles down the road, earns a bachelor’s degree, then returns to that farm with the intent of making it his or her life’s work...
“... and I’ll show you someone who is every bit a citizen of the world, affected by international developments and global market forces each and every day: decisions being made in Canberra, Seoul, and Riyadh.”
In rural Oregon, that message resonated. Here in Green Bay, I suspect the lessons of globalization, particularly in an economic sense, have been absorbed even more readily.
About 75 percent of UW-Green Bay’s students come from Northeast Wisconsin. They know their region is in transition.
Manufacturing and agriculture persist, but they are changed, and changing, in the face of intense competition. Old-line operations have been stream-
lining or pulling up stakes entirely. Product lives are shorter. Change comes faster. Many of the traditional industries that continue to thrive, and the new startups that flourish, owe their success to being Knowledge Age-oriented, and aggressive, innovative, technological leaders.
Hardly a day goes by without a news report on some Northeast Wisconsin company operating abroad, competing on an international basis, or finding new suppliers or outlets for its products. International travel — business or pleasure, coming or going— is relatively common. Our Northeast Wisconsin communities continue to grow more diverse.
To a great and gratifying extent, University students today enter as freshmen with this awareness already in place. There’s a reason our international travel programs, on-campus activities and exchange programs are so popular.
We stress international education as a key component of our campuswide emphasis on “connecting learning to life.” We work hard to connect students to different cultures and the global community, and to increase understanding across geographic boundaries.
TOP OF NEXT COLUMN
close by quickly noting a few current international initiatives or upcoming
events that might be of interest:
• The region’s annual Global Trade Conference is March 21 at the KI Center. Co-sponsors include U.S. Reps. Mark Green and Tom Petri, area businesses, and educational organizations including UW-Green Bay. It’s an excellent opportunity for students considering careers in international trade and business.
• The second International Social Justice Symposium, co-sponsored by UW-Green Bay and St. Norbert College, is April 16. The symposium will feature experts discussing “HIV-AIDS: A Social Threat to Our World and Our Community.”
• Our newest International Visiting Scholar, Mr. Julio Alégria, an agricultural engineer from Peru, arrives on March 31 for a month-long visit. A guest of another joint UW-Green Bay-SNC venture, he will speak and visit classes on both campuses.
• More than a dozen UW-Green Bay students, alumni, faculty and staff are just back from an international roundtable in Florence, Italy. The gathering was arranged by the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation. Topics included music as well as environmental design; future and expanded roundtables are possible.
• UW-Green Bay is inviting its friends to be friends of international education. Jay Harris is coordinating the initiative; an Internet listserv and March 6 program are first steps. Jay has a special Email account at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you’re interested.
The items listed here are only a sample. I encourage you to stay in touch, learn more about international opportunities, and when you get the chance, to sign on for the sort of people-to-people activities initiated so often by faculty, staff and students like Dushani.
I thank her, and all of you, for all you do for Green Bay’s University of Wisconsin, here and around the world.
Connecting learning to life,