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Kent State Selected to Host Fulbright Visiting Scholars This Summer

Posted June 18, 2012

Kent State University is one of five institutions selected to host the 2012 Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program for Iraq this summer. The prestigious program is sponsored by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The program, now in its third year, will host 35 Iraqi scholars in five discipline-based groups who will be hosted at five selected U.S. institutions from July 7 through Sept. 15. Kent State will host the science and technology scholars from Iraq. The other institutions will host scholars in agricultural science, engineering, teaching English as a foreign language/linguistics and environmental science.

“This selection reflects our commitment to building global bridges, from increasing the number of international students on our campuses to creating more academic and cultural opportunities through partnerships with the world’s leading universities,” says Kent State President Lester A. Lefton.

Under the leadership of I. Richmond Nettey, Ph.D., associate dean of Kent State’s College of Technology, a Kent State team of administrators, faculty and staff from the Office of Global Education and the colleges of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology; Arts and Sciences; and Education, Health and Human Services prepared and submitted a proposal to the Council for International Exchange of Scholars to host the 2012 Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program for Iraq.

The interdisciplinary proposal, which was submitted to Council for International Exchange of Scholars in December 2011, was approved by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs in February 2012.

“Kent State’s proposal came in so high above the bar that the Council for International Exchange of Scholars asked us about increasing the number of assigned scholars from the original number of seven to 10 Fulbright Iraq scholars,” Nettey says.

Mentoring the Fulbright Iraq scholars will be a team of 13 Kent State experts in science and technology, consisting of Vice President for Research Grant McGimpsey; Derek Damron, Xiaozhen Mou, Colleen Novak, Joseph Ortiz and Hassan Peyravi from the College of Arts and Sciences; Denise Bedford and Joe Murray from the College of Communication and Information; Gail Bromley from the College of Nursing; and Darwin Boyd, Michael Fisch, Verna Fitzsimmons and Roberto Uribe-Rendon from the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology. John Stalvey, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as facilitator.

To welcome the Fulbright Iraqi scholars, the Kent State team has planned a series of activities in the first week that include a luncheon with President Lefton and Provost Todd A. Diacon, and cross-cultural training workshops sponsored by the Office of Global Education. In addition to scholarly work in science and technology with their assigned mentors, the Fulbright Iraq scholars will engage in a wide range of cultural and civic activities, including visits to the Ohio Statehouse, the Ohio Board of Regents, local city council proceedings, local Rotary and Kiwanis Club meetings, Niagara Falls, Porthouse Theatre, an Indians-Yankees baseball game and more.

University representatives also have made careful provisions for Ramadan, which will include an Iftar dinner with Kent State’s Muslim Students Association and local host families.

“This is a wonderful honor and opportunity for Kent State,” Nettey says. “Hosting the Fulbright program is a major step in meeting President Lefton’s goal of increasing the international focus of the university, and we are looking forward to working with these esteemed Iraqi scholars.”

For more information about the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program for Iraq, visit www.cies.org/fulbright/Iraq.