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Final Call for 2016-2017 Fulbright Applicants

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The Fulbright U.S. Student Phigh-res blue Fulbright logorogram provides opportunities for U.S. students to pursue graduate or professional study, advanced research or English teaching in elementary and secondary schools or universities. Each year, approximately 1,500 Americans travel to more than 130 countries with the Fulbright Program.

Seniors graduating by May 2016, graduate students, and Miami alumni are eligible to apply for the 2016-2017 Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants. The Miami campus deadline is Friday, September 18, 2015. Two final information sessions will be held:

Monday, August 31 from 4-5pm in MacMillan 115
Tuesday, September 1 from 12-1pm in MacMillan 115

Questions about how you can become a part of Miami’s 2016-2017 Fulbright Cohort? Contact Fulbright Program Advisor Karla Guinigundo.

Twentieth Anniversary of Global Rhythms

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Global Rythms World Music Ensemble on Stage 2014

Srinivas Krishnan with AR Rahman Global Rhythms 2014

Guest of Honor AR Rahman at Global Rhythms 2014

Miami University sets the stage for the Twentieth Anniversary of Global Rhythms this fall.  The Center for American and World Cultures brings artists of the world to our campus. Miami students will join them to create beautiful crossover music, music of which these student artists might otherwise never see, hear, or experience.

The project breaks down barriers, given that 4-time Grammy winning Glen Velez, Jamey Haddad (percussionist for Paul Simon), Reiner Bartesch (Alpine horn player from Germany) or Abbos Kosimov (virtuoso hand drummer from Uzbekistan) plus Cincinnati ballet dancers, choirs from Sweden, Denmark and across the USA will take the stage on October 17 with Miami students.” shared a Global Rhythms team member.

Global Rhythms shows sell out every year, so take this opportunity as soon as you can. Both events are at 7:00 pm in Hall Auditorium on Saturdays September 26, 2015 and October 17th (Family Weekend). Tickets are available through the Miami University Box Office.

For up to the minute details please see: Our Global Rhythms Facebook Page

Noted acts for the September 26th performance:

  • Don Quixote – Dance Theatre from South India. Directed by Sheejith Krishna
  • Southern Gateway Men’s Chorus – Conductor: Jeff Legters
  • Slivovitz Ensemble – featuring Turkish and Yiddish music
  • US National Championship winning dance team. Directed by Lauren Gibbs-Burgess
  • Pat Klemawesch and Pat Hernly – Kora, Percussion, Vocals (Brazilian Rap)
  • EKU Percussion Ensemble featuring music from Brazil and India. Directed by Jason Koontz
  • CCM World Music Ensemble. Directed by Brian Diller

Please see the Facebook page:  September 26th performance

Tickets:  Miami University box office and (513) 529 3200. Youth and Students: $8.00  General Public:  $12.00

Noted acts for the Oct 17th performance: 

  • Grammy winning artist Glen Velez + Jamey Haddad & Oberlin world percussion team
  • Rainer Bartesch playing the Alpine Horn in a meadow

    Rainer Bartesch

    Ethnic instrumentalists Abbos Kosimov (hand drums, Uzbekistan), Aboubacar Sylla (belafon and djembe, Guinea), Rainer Bartesch (alpine horn, Germany), Vrinda Sunil (Mohiniattam dance, India)

  • Sedjanka Perunima Balkan Choir (Denmark and Sweden) directed by Michael Deltchev, Indian artists Ankush Nayak on sitar, Guhan and Vignesh Venkataraman (veena and mridangan)
  • Cincinnati Ballet dancers Melissa Gelfin and Rodrigo Almarales

    Cincinnati Ballet dancers Melissa Gelfin and Rodrigo Almarales

    Cincinnati Ballet dancers Melissa Gelfin and Rodrigo Almarales

  • River City and Russell High School Dance Team

    National Champion River Cities Dance Company &  Russell High School Varsity Dance Team

    National Champion River Cities Dance Company & Russell High School Varsity Dance Team
    featuring  Olivia Couchot, Chloe Thorner, Katie Wesley, Maria Clevenger, Ashton Young, Hailey Proctor, Lauren Conley, Brianna Antis, Mariah Addington, Evey Long, Emily Justice, Savannah Hobbs, Laurel Hensley, Faith Beckelheimer, Zoe Jones, and Emma Hamilton

  • 80-member Louisville Youth Choir. Directed by Terri Foster
  • EKU Percussion and Dance Ensemble. Directed by Jason Koontz and Marianne McAdam
  • MJM Dance Company (Gabrielle Brigida, Kelli Chapman, Megan Minturn and Leah Antonellis)
  • CCM Dance Ensemble. Directed by Andre Megerdichian
  • John Zappa, trumpet
  • Sheila Houlahan, mezzo-soprano
  • Percussionists from Miami University, Ogade Ensemble and Jeff Queen (snare drum)
  • Peter Suarez (Argentinian Bolas)
  • Miami University theater artists. Directed by Saffron Henke
  • Miami University Jazz Ensemble. Directed by Jeremy Long
  • Miami University Symphony Orchestra. Directed by Ricardo Averbach

Please see the Facebook page: October 17th Performance

Tickets: Miami University box office and (513) 529 3200. Youth and Students: $8.00  General Public:  $12.00   Balcony:  $20.00 (Youth, Students and General Public)

– – – – – – –

>> See event posters and former event archives.

It’s a Miami World

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Map graphic created with Miami "M"

It’s a Miami World, by Kathryn Reese

Study Abraod Sash Display at the Miami BookstoreKathryn Reese, a Miami University junior in Graphic Design works in Housing, Dining, Recreation and Business Services. She created the Miami Map graphic above for a promotion for Gradfest at Miami’s campus bookstore. It was made into a two panel display that is currently featured behind the bookstore’s checkout registers as the backdrop for the study abroad sashes.

Kate shared: “My inspiration for the design derived from my previous pattern I created for other walls in the store, and I wanted to continue the direct association Miami has with studying abroad. Ultimately, I wanted to visually show how Miami leaves its mark on students and we then leave our marks in these countries we visit abroad.

Such an astute comment reverberated here at Global Initiatives, especially as we are preparing for our International Education Week November 15-21, 2015. This year’s theme: I am Miami, I am a Global Citizen. Look for Kathryn’s artwork to be featured in the future.

Update from Miami Alumni Regarding Sam’s House in Nepal

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Children of Sam’s House at play.

In Global Initiatives February 2015 enewsletter we published an article on Miami alum Jennifer Rothchild ’93, her husband, Christopher Butler ’92 and Sam’s House, the orphanage they started in Nepal. After the April 25th earthquake in Nepal Jennifer sent us an update on conditions in Nepal and at Sam’s House.

Christopher was in Kathmandu, Nepal when the earthquake happened. He was pretty shaken up but physically okay. Most residents did not feel safe sleeping inside their houses because the tremors continued for several days. So, Christopher and others slept outside for several nights following the first earthquake.

Helping in both large and small ways, Christopher and Rose Schweitz (a high school teacher in Kathmandu, and alumna from University of Minnesota Morris), went to the airport and surrounding hotels collecting potable water tablets and drops from departing tourists. They then distributed the collected water treatment kits to those desperately in need of potable water in Kathmandu.

Christopher then went to Gorkha. This town is not far from the earthquake’s epicenter and was subsequently one of the most severely affected areas. Christopher worked with the International Medical Corps on their assessment of Gorkha’s surrounding communities and villages.

A week after the earthquake, at least ten villages to the north had not yet received any help. The families in these communities had been out in the cold and rain, their homes destroyed. Nepal’s geography compounds the problem as these places can only be reached by foot—several days’ walk on a good day— many routes and paths compromised, or washed completely away, by the earthquakes and subsequent landslides. Soon the monsoon season (the rainy season) will bring even more flooding and landslides to Nepal. At this point in time, the International Medical Corps (IMC) and other organizations on the ground are organizing mobile health camps and other services to reach the people desperately in need.

Christopher went on to visit everyone at Sam’s House. Sam’s House is located in Pokhara, which is Nepal’s second largest city. He happily reported that everyone at Sam’s House continued to be physically safe. Albeit somewhat emotionally affected by the earthquake, they had gathered at the main house and slept huddled together on the first floor.

Ramila, the house manager at Sam’s House, led a collection drive for clothes and food from all the children’s homes in Pokhara. They made plans to deliver these goods to Gorkha—again, an area devastated by the first quake. Jennifer effused, “Ramila and all the caretakers at Sam’s House are everyday heroes.”

Rose reported that none of the buildings at Sam’s House appear to have been structurally compromised or damaged. Jennifer expressed that they all feel so lucky while simultaneously acknowledging that this is not the case for many children and families.

Relying on individuals and organizations from outside Nepal seems to be the only solution to help alleviate the tragic circumstances. Nepal is a very poor country, and as such, does not have the resources or infrastructure to recover on its own. Jennifer made the following suggestions:

  • Nepal needs countries like the United States to offer long-term recovery support. Contact your state’s Representatives and Senators, and encourage them to continue to push for ongoing aid and sustainable development in Nepal.
  • Donate to legitimate and reputable organizations, who work in partnership with local agencies on the ground—organizations that have experience in collaborative relief and recovery efforts. In addition to the International Medical Corps https://internationalmedicalcorps.org/
  • People interested in donating to a list of relief agencies put together by the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS), an organization of which both Christopher and Jennifer are members: http://anhs-himalaya.org/relief-agencies/
  • Sam’s House is committed to supporting these types of organizations. Help Sam’s House support those children and families in the communities who need it most. Between April 25 and May 25 2015, all donations made to Sam’s House will go towards earthquake relief efforts in Nepal. Donations to Sam’s House are tax-deductible: http://www.samshouse.org/Help/youcanhelp.html
  • Learn more about Nepal: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/29/teaching-about-the-nepal-earthquake-with-the-new-york-times/?_r=0

“Thank you so much for your continued concern for and commitment to those suffering in Nepal. Please do not let Nepal and its people become yesterday’s news. We have a lot of work to do, both now and in the many days to come.”, Jennifer Rothchild ’93.

Fall 1984-Spring 1985 MUDEC 30th Reunion

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Photo of Miami University's Luxembourg CampusThe MUDEC classes of Fall 1984 and Spring 1985 will host a  30th Reunion at the Marcum Conference Center on Saturday, June 6, 2015. The reunion will begin with a lobby social at noon. A faculty and staff led lecture/discussion on “Europe then and now” will start around 2:00 pm, followed by dinner at 7:00 pm (estimated cost is $35 per person). Spouses are welcome to attend. Thirty rooms have been reserved at the Marcum Center for $89 a night. For reservations, call 513-529-6911 and ask for the Luxembourg block of rooms.

Participants will have for a plenty of time to re-share class and travel stories, along with seeing the rest of campus and Oxford by staying on campus and coming early and staying through Sunday morning,

A 30th Reunion Facebook group is forming! Please join us by searching Facebook for “MUDEC Alumni 30-Year Reunion”.

There will be more details as we get closer. Be sure to reserve your rooms soon!

For questions, please call:

Bob Jacoby ‘86

214-457-4536

Bjacoby10@yahoo.com

Miami Alumna Comes Full Circle

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Article pic HupingLingQuad11-16-2006-223x300

Courtesy Tim Barcus, the university photographer, at Truman campus, cir 2006.

From the time Dr. Huping Ling, ‘91 was a child growing up in Taiyuan, the capital city of Shanxi province, she dreamed of being a professor of American history.

In 1985, while working as an assistant professor in the history department at Shanxi University, she learned that the US-China student exchange program was for the first time going to accept non-STEM graduates to study in the US. After an intense series of exams, she was one of the few selected for this rare opportunity.

Since the China-US Academic exchange was established in 1978, 1.46 million Chinese have studied in the United States, and more than 220,000 Americans have studied in China. China’s aim in sending students and scholars overseas was primarily to provide advanced research training in science and technology as a way to make up the development lost during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), when higher education programs in China were severely curtailed.

The youngest of 4 adult children, Dr. Ling had an adventuresome spirit. She said that flying to the United States in 1985 was the first time she had ever been on an airplane trip. Although her parents were very proud of her, they were also worried for their youngest daughter. In the 1980’s, prior to the internet and inexpensive phone plans, letters were the only form of contact Dr. Ling and her parents could afford. So week by week they kept up an exchange of letters.

“I only told the exciting and interesting things that were happening to me,” Dr. Ling said. “I did not want to bother them with the financial and acculturation difficulties.”

But financial difficulties were great. Originally given a $400.00 per month stipend as a visiting scholar to Georgetown University in Washington, DC., Dr. Ling quickly realized how expensive it was to live and study in DC. She applied and was accepted to the University of Oregon for her Master’s degree. She was given a teaching fellowship to help with the costs, and Eugene, Oregon was a much less expensive city in which to live and study. Even so, she had to supplement her fellowship with on-campus jobs, such as working in the library and residence hall in summer.

Although excited to take her American degree and experiences back to teach Chinese students, Dr. Ling was afforded an opportunity to stay in the United States and earn her PhD. Since she had lived on both coasts, she wanted to try a different part of the country during her doctoral work.

She asked herself, “How would I best maximize my time in the US to learn from real life experience?” Miami University in southwest Ohio seemed the answer.

“Miami had a good reputation as the ‘Ivy League’ of the Midwest”, she said.

Dr. Ling arrived in April 1988. It was an exciting time to be at Miami. During the 1960’s, with expanding enrollment and curriculum, Miami University had changed from a Midwestern college to a cosmopolitan university reaching into other lands and cultures. Faculty members held Fulbright professorships in countries from England and Scotland to Nigeria, Indonesia, Korea and Japan, while the Oxford campus listed students from nearly fifty nations. Under the trimester calendar, hundreds of faculty and students spent mid-April to September in foreign travel, study and research. Miamians crossed paths in cities from London to Athens, from Copenhagen to Madrid. Summer language institutes were organized in France, Luxembourg, Italy and Taiwan.

Having lived in the US for 2½ years already, Dr. Ling wanted to delve more deeply into American life. She worked in the King Library, first in circulation and then in government documents, and worked as a graduate student teaching assistant as well.

She made many American friends through work and her her classes, but also through an organization called COSEP, which matched international students with local community members.Founded in 1971 by Mrs. Dwight Baldwin, COSEP sought to build bridges of friendship between people of Oxford and Miami graduates from distant lands.

Dr. Ling’s host family, Linda and Allan Straus, and their children, Jenny and Andy, invited her to such family events as Thanksgiving, family dinners, picnics, and their children’s activities. They bought her gifts for holidays and she gave them gifts from China. They listened to her stories of China and Chinese culture, and shared with her their stories and experiences of growing up in the US.

“I developed a very close relationship with them and still talk to them,” she said.

Article pic Ling hosting Chinese new year's party at Miami U-1988

Ling hosting the annual Chinese New Year Celebration for the Chinese Students and Scholars Association at Miami University, in Feb. 1988.

As President of the Chinese Students and Scholars Friendship Association, sponsored by the Chinese Government, Dr. Ling became very involved with Chinese students. By the time she graduated, the number of undergraduate and graduate International students had grown from 203 to 238.

The Chinese students held an annual banquet around the time of the Chinese New Year. This was financed by students, and they invited faculty, their host families, and friends.

“It was our chance to show our appreciation to the community and university. We would cook, have a fashion show and perform Chinese dance and music for our guests,” Dr. Ling said.

Adaptation to American culture “was a gradual process, a cumulative impact of all the experiences I had in the US,” Dr. Ling said, including academic work, interactions with domestic students and faculty, and financial struggles. Although she was not dependent on her host family, she found them very helpful in negotiating the culture outside the classroom. She worked on the cleaning crew in University housing during summer break, and came to know Americans who weren’t college educated and learned about the common folk. She was invited to homes of coworkers from King Library.

Professor of History Dr. Allan Winkler, one of her thesis advisors, her lifelong mentor and friend, helped tremendously. Dr. Ling is still in touch with him and in 2008 nominated him for the Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate Instruction and Mentoring at Miami. A well-traveled individual who served in the Philippines as a Peace Corp Volunteer in 1967-69, Dr. Winkler was in a good position to understand Dr. Ling’s dissertation, Surviving on the Gold Mountain: A History of Chinese American Women and Their Lives. Its updated and revised version was published in 1998 by the SUNY Press, becoming the first of 25 books written and/or edited by her.

Dr. Ling book signing in 2012.

Dr. Ling at her book-signing sponsored by Hastings, Kirksville, MO, on June 2, 2012.

The dissertation described the struggles of Chinese American women from the mid-19th century to the 1990s. “Gold Mountain refers to the US, nicknamed by the Chinese who first came to mine for gold, as well as, to benefit from better living conditions and make money,” reported Dr. Ling. “They sought the American Dream, to become rich and famous. People who recruited them made them believe that it was easy to achieve the American Dream.”

Dr. Ling had been in US for almost 4 years by the spring of 1989, and she was anxious to go home to spend the summer with her parents and family. However, events were occurring in China which would influence her future: the Tiananmen Square protests. Returning to the US to finish her dissertation, Dr. Ling saw information that had been banned in China and decided to stay.

Although estimates vary, it is generally believed that about 40,000 Chinese students were in the United States when the Chinese government sent its army into Tiananmen Square in Beijing, June 3-4, to crush the prodemocracy movement that had blossomed throughout China during the spring. When the Beijing government began rounding up and jailing students and other leaders of the peaceful revolt, many officials and citizens in the United States feared for the safety of Chinese students studying in the US, if they were forced to return home when their visas expired.

President George Bush refused to grant asylum to Chinese students. However, on November 30, 1989, he issued an executive order that permitted all such students to remain in the country until June 1994. He has said that it accomplished the same result without offending the Chinese government.

In 1992, the US Congress adopted the Chinese Student Protection Act, which allowed the 26,915 Chinese students who availed themselves of this opportunity to become legal immigrants by July 1, 1993.

Dr. Ling graduated from Miami and immediately sought a position teaching US history and Chinese history. She received five campus interviews. Northeast Missouri State University (whose name changed in 1996 to Truman University) was her top choice. “The interviewers were so interested in me and excited for what I had to contribute,” she said.

Looking back over her career and professional accomplishments, Dr. Ling believes the most significant have been her ongoing ties to China and Chinese students.

“I have helped the Chinese to become more aware of the world, of the US and this has helped them to make economic progress,” she said. “I would like to see them develop more political transparency. Social media has made big impact on Chinese, despite attempt by the government to screen it. Chinese have more awareness of the world.”

Asked if internationalization impacts her, Dr. Ling responded, “If China didn’t open the door and reach out, I wouldn’t be here. If they hadn’t offered me a scholarship I couldn’t have come. If the American government hadn’t helped with scholarship, I wouldn’t be an American citizen teaching American history.”

Her feeling of having come back to the dream she started with as a child in Taiyuan is heightened and intensified because she was recently selected as a Changjiang (Yangtze River) Scholar, which gives her an endowed chair, with research funds and a stipend, to work in China for two months in the summers.

The New Changjiang Scholar Program, which began in 2012, is funded and administered by the Chinese Ministry of Education. It is designed to select eminent scholars in the world to help internationalize China’s higher education and research. The program awards only 50 prominent scholars overseas annually, mostly in STEM and only a couple in social sciences, to teach and conduct research with leading Chinese scholars at selected institutions of higher education. Dr. Ling works jointly with prominent Chinese scholars, conducting research on Chinese Overseas Studies, giving public lectures at conferences and universities, launching cutting-edge research projects, initiating new research institutions and programs, teaching courses in Asian-American studies and supervising doctoral dissertations.

Teaching CCNU students

Ling teaching graduate students on Asian American history as a Changjjiang Scholar Chair Professor of the Chinese Ministry of Education at China Central Normal University, June 6, 2013

As a global citizen, Dr. Ling has returned to China every year to give back to her land of origin through research, lecture, and scholarship. She has come full circle, for now she is teaching American History in China. She has accomplished her childhood goal.

Life Changing

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Kathryn Conrad receiKathryn Conradved her BA from Miami University in Ohio in 2007 with double majors in Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs and French Language & Literature. While at Miami, Kathryn studied abroad three separate times–in France and twice in Luxembourg–spending a total of two years of her higher education in Europe and living with host families.  In the summer of 2007, Kathryn spent four months in Istanbul, Turkey, interning at a local Turkish organization; this was Kathryn’s first experience in a predominantly Muslim country and it proved to have a great impact on her.

In January of 2008, following graduation from Miami in December 2007, Kathryn moved to Oman to work on starting up a non-profit, non-governmental organization focused on local youth leadership development in the Sultanate of Oman.  Following completion of that project in the summer of 2009, Kathryn began working for the newly opened AMIDEAST office in Muscat and currently serves as the Director for Education Abroad Programs & Scholarships.  With her lengthy and varied experience in Oman, she is able to provide excellent support, guidance and insight to those students and scholars coming on programs to Oman.

In the summer of 2014, Kathryn was asked to begin working on the framework of a study tour component in Oman for Miami’s winter term course (REL 399O), and in January of 2015, she had the opportunity to welcome the first faculty-led group of Miami students to the Sultanate.  The course’s theme – “Transitions and Traditions in Oman” – was highlighted through guest lectures and cultural visits to various locations within Oman, which enhanced the curriculum developed by Drs. Bergman and French.  Students spent 12 days in Oman and interacted with guest lecturers specializing in politics, religion, economics, Indian Ocean trade patterns and agriculture.  To enhance what students were learning from both their professors and guest lecturers in Oman, students visited the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Muttrah Souq, the mountainous region of al Dakhliya and historical city of Nizwa, and Salalah in the al Dhofar region of Oman.

Kathryn is an avid traveler, having traveled to 40 countries on five continents, and her personal pastimes in Oman include wadi-hiking, dune-bashing, and water sports.  Katy_Oman_1

What am I doing as a global citizen?

One month following my graduation from Miami in December 2007, I moved to the Sultanate of Oman after having been offered a position on a start-up team tasked with the establishment of a local chapter of an international non-profit, non-government organization focused on youth leadership development with substantial funding from the Middle East Partnership Initiative through the U.S. Department of State.  This project required laying the foundation of a legal, independently operated organization with operating procedures and financial structures in place at which point the team would hand over the organization to an Omani youth-based leadership team.  Following the successful transition of the organization in 2009, I decided to stay in Oman and linked up with AMIDEAST – a non-profit, non-governmental organization focused on training and education headquartered in Washington, DC, with 22 field offices in the Middle East and North Africa.  During my time with AMIDEAST in Oman, which opened its office in 2008, I have held a variety of positions including English language teacher, Educational Advisor, Programs Manager and presently I am the Director of Education Abroad Programs and Scholarships.  My work with AMIDEAST has allowed me to work closely with the U.S. Embassy, the Omani government and the Omani public and private sector including multinational companies based in the Sultanate.  In addition, I have been lucky enough to witness firsthand how intercultural exchange between the United States and Oman has impacted both Omani and American young people alike.  Getting to play a role in the development of these programs on the grassroots level has effectively changed the way I view my role in the world.  Living in a foreign country for the last seven years has afforded me the opportunity to reflect critically upon my opinions, ideas, interactions with others and actions in the global community.

How does internationalization impact you?

Of course, living and working abroad has led to me seeing myself as both a global and an American citizen. Most people outside of America do not always have the best impression of the United States due to world events, so I take it upon myself to represent the U.S. as best I can. To let the people of the world know that Americans are educated, thoughtful people. At my current job, I work to send Omanis to America—and to bring Americans, and now Miamians, here—in order to help others begin to understand their place together in this world. I moved out to the Middle East because I knew, and wanted to see, behind the headlines. I had never been to the Middle East before, but I did have what I learned studying at Miami with me.

I have become more critical and more appreciative of my own country as a result of living here. I have become more focused, and I have experienced first-hand, American foreign policy in my daily life abroad. I’ve learned that as focused as Americans can be on domestic policy, the foreign policy affects them just as much. American foreign policy affects the day-to-day of my career. It’s a line you must walk and navigate. In that sense, I am acutely American because I feel I have a stake in those decisions.

The world does not revolve around America. That is the biggest thing that I’ve learned. Studying at Miami, we often discussed America as a hegemonic power. Many Americans often grow up thinking that America is a superpower and must be involved in all things. My experience living and working here—with the critical thinking skills I developed at Miami—taught me to take my own experiences and see that the world does not revolve around the U.S., that the U.S. does not understand all things, but it is those small interactions in one’s day-to-day life can have enormous consequences in changing the world.

Dr. French and Dr. Bergman's Study Abroad student group in Oman during J-term 2015.

Dr. French and Dr. Bergman’s Study Abroad student group in Oman

How do/did I fit into Miami tradition?

During my time at Miami, I didn’t have what many might consider the typical Miami experience.  While I was part of clubs and organizations on campus like many other students, I also took advantage of the variety of opportunities Miami afforded students to study abroad.  My first study abroad experience through Miami was a summer intensive French program in Dijon, France in 2003. After that summer course, not only was I hooked on study abroad, but I also re-evaluated what I wanted to study at Miami.  During the fall, I took a variety of classes, which ultimately led me to change my major from Pre-med to Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs and French language.  During the fall of 2003, I also began the process of applying to the Luxembourg program for the spring semester of 2005. Being able to take classes at Miami’s Luxembourg campus provided me with a much more experiential learning experience, which was well-suited to my learning style, and I quickly found that I was able to complete most of my major requirements in Luxembourg.  When I returned to Oxford, in the fall of 2005, I worked with the Luxembourg Program staff in Oxford to return to MUDEC for the full academic year 2006-2007.  My second time in Luxembourg allowed me to take advantage of internship opportunities, so I interned at a local law firm for eight months while studying at MUDEC.  Prior to finishing my year at MUDEC, I secured an internship with a Turkish training organization in Istanbul, so rather than returning home for the summer instead I lived and worked in Istanbul for several months.  I can honestly say that if it were not for the opportunities Miami offers its students to study abroad, I would not be doing what I am doing today. Study abroad through Miami changed my life and my appreciation for the world—its societies and cultures.

January and February Highlights from ISSS

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Out international peer orientation leaders for spring's orientation - they make welcoming our new students possible!

Our international peer orientation leaders (iPOLs) for spring’s orientation – they make welcoming our new students possible!

What a busy two months it has been for ISSS and our students!  At the end of January, ISSS welcomed over 120 new international students to our campus.  We were lucky to have relatively warm weather as we moved students into their residence halls, provided information sessions, and welcomed them to campus with dinner uptown and ice skating at the Goggin Ice Arena.

orientation

Students arrive jet lagged but excited to learn about Miami!

Students enjoy their first dinner uptown with iPOLs!

Students enjoy their first dinner uptown with iPOLs!

We also welcomed 15 students from our exchange partner universities.  These students will study at Miami for one or two semesters, and help strengthen Miami’s connection with countries all over the world.  This semester’s cohort includes students from Mexico, China, South Korea, Ghana, Japan, Austria, and France.

Exchange students goofing around with returned Miami study abroad students

Exchange students goofing around with returned Miami study abroad students

Early February marked the kickoff of our Spring Global Buddies Program.  Global Buddies pairs International students with American students as a means to promote deeper interactions across student populations.  Students start the program with an orientation about cross-cultural friendship, and are encouraged to meet with each other once a week.  Special Global Buddy events are planned through the semester as well.

On Valentine’s Day, ISSS hosted a bus trip to Kenwood mall so that students could shop and enjoy some time outside of Oxford.  Many students used this trip as an opportunity to buy an outfit for the Charter Day Ball.  Some students called it their one chance to go to an American style prom!

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Students all dolled up for the Charter Day Ball!

Our NationaliTea on February 9th was to celebrate and teach students about the American version of Valentine’s Day.  Students enjoyed making valentine cards together as well as indulging in an array of pink and purple cookies and treats!

A classic American tradition – making valentine cards!

A classic American tradition – making valentine cards!

The Lunar New Year is a very important holiday for many of our students, and the Confucius Institute helped us celebrate at the February 16th NationaliTea with a dragon dance and a presentation about how the Chinese celebrate this special time of year.

dragon dance

The dragon dance is a traditional way to celebrate the Chinese version of the Lunar New Year holiday

After the big snowfall, some students ventured out on a bus trip to the Halal Market in West Chester.  This trip was to help provide Middle Eastern students access to halal goods and other products they may be missing from home.  Students also enjoyed lunch at the Laziz Grill and Bakery, where we dined on delicious hummus and chicken shawarma.

The snow couldn’t stop these students from a visit to the halal market and restaurant!

The snow couldn’t stop these students from a visit to the halal market and restaurant!

Last but not least, ISSS hosted an American Culture workshop for students to learn more about how to deal with cultural differences here in the United States.  Topics covered included diversity and individualism, as well as helpful tips on communication and university culture.  We started the workshop by asking students what they expected America to be like before they came here in one phrase or word.  Some of the most common words were: friendly, democratic, and awesome!

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ISSS staff members Jing Luo and Sarah O’Connell shared facilitating duties at the American Culture Workshop

Along with our programming efforts, ISSS staff have been busy getting all new students registered into the federal immigration system, as well as ensuring that all new and continuing students are fully enrolled and compliant with government requirements.  This is a process that occurs primarily in the first month of the semester, but continues throughout the year.  ISSS also meets with all international students who are struggling academically to help them succeed in the new semester.  We work closely with academic advisors and the Rinella Learning Center in this pursuit.

Looking forward to March, ISSS has many great events ahead, starting with the chance for students to go to an NBA game and see the Indiana Pacers play against the Philadelphia 76ers in Indianapolis.  We will also be working on career development for international students.  This includes a huge career fair in downtown Cincinnati in collaboration with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and other Ohio universities, as well as helping graduating students apply for their optional practical training.

We are excited to continue supporting our international students this semester and are looking forward to spring!

 

 

 

Study Abroad Trip to Cuba

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cuba-groupMiami students, faculty watch history unfold during study abroad trip to Cuba

Before they even arrived in Cuba, the 22 Miami University students and three faculty advisers could tell this was a new day for the Caribbean island nation. Their Jan. 4-14 study abroad trip came less than three weeks after Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced plans to restore full diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of hostility.

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Virtuous Circles

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Shrini 1988Every university seeks to instill in their graduates a desire to give their time, talent and treasure to the world and their university. Srinivas Krishnan, M.En. M.S. ’88, founder of Global Rhythms, and Center for American and World Cultures’ Artist in Residence at Miami University, is an outstanding example.

Krishnan–or Srini as he is known to his wide and ever-expanding circle of friends– is a master percussionist from India, who trained under three gurus in India, in particular, his mother, Thylambal Krishnan. He sees nothing extraordinary in having started so young at age 7.  He gave his first solo recital at the age of 16 and was featured as a percussionist at the University of North Texas at the age of 21. Coming from a long line of artists, love for arts and music is deeply embedded in Srini’s culture.

“One in every family studies music. In my family, my mother was a vocalist and a teacher,” he says. Growing up, music was more than a hobby–it was a way of life, and he was exposed to several genres and styles of art and music.

Over the years, Srini brought several aspects of Indian Rhythm (sollakattu) into marching percussion and drumline.  His amazing ability to adapt to any musical situation led to his performing in over 1,000 concerts worldwide with acclaimed artists including Grammy award-winning AR Rahman, Horacio Hernandez, Glen Velez, Robin Eubanks, Jamey Haddad to name a few.

Global Rhythms
In 1995-1996, Srini first conceived of Global Rhythms as a project whose mission was to celebrate humanity through arts and culture.  With support from his mentors Dr. Gene Willeke, Dr. Pamela Fox, Dr. Bob Schietroma and his mother, the first concert was held in the Fall of 1997 under the auspices of Miami’s Institute of Environmental Sciences. Since then, it has grown from just five members to more than 600 members in one single production including students drawn from all majors and departments at Miami University, other universities, as well as the community at large.

“Global Rhythms World Music Ensemble is a confluence of cultures, music, beliefs, values, and teachings but most importantly of human relationships,” Srini says. It’s “a program that seeks to make all its stakeholders – students, faculty, performers, and audience alike, free of their intellectual and emotional barriers and strive for creativity and innovation.”
“At the heart of the program is the method of collaboration, making different strands come together as one team that operates as one despite geographic, cultural, academic and national distances between them.”Global Rhythms 2014

Over the years, Global Rhythms has created a community of performing artists and composers from across the world who has donated their valuable efforts to keep the spirit of such harmonious bonds alive. In its last concert, Global Rhythms included over 38 musical guests from Italy, Europe, Cuba, South America, and India.

As a Visiting Scholar at Miami University, as well as Official Enterprise and Mentor at AR Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory in Chennai, Srini always strives to give the artists, whether students or professionals, the opportunity to learn, lead, and build relationships.

Global Rhythms reflects Krishnan’s philosophy that people must continually expand cultural experiences. Krishnan encourages all students, even those with no musical experience, to become involved.

Non-music majors for instance are given technical responsibilities, such as working the sound, or are given minor musical roles. Students radiate Krishnan’s contagious enthusiasm for music. Regardless of background, culture or experience, they are warmly welcomed into the Global Rhythms community. Students play various instruments ranging from the ghatam and sitar, to the flute, trombone, clarinet, cello, congos, djerido, and trumpet. “I can always find one reason to include somebody on the team,” he says.

Giving Back to the Community

Global Rhythms is not limited to its annual concerts over Parent’s (Family) Weekend in Hall Auditorium.  Beginning in 1996, when Krishnan arranged for free children benefit shows through the Cincinnati Arts Association at the Aronoff Center, Global Rhythms has offered musical performances for elementary school children in different parts of Southeast Ohio and Indiana to spread the message of world music and diversity. “The key is to present a package palatable to what they can comprehend,” he explains. “You use existing tools to make it accessible.”

“We are living in a society where children are frogs in wells,” Krishnan says incredulously. “This opens their eyes to the world.” Global Rhythms shares the variety of world musical traditions as an educational medium for world cultures and plays a deeper message of diversity.

GR at Kalakshetra in Chennai summer 2011Since 1993, Shrini has also taken faculty and young musicians from universities all over the US to Chennai, India to study Indian Classical Music and Dance and since 2003, several students from across the USA were involved in collaborations on AR Rahman’s musical projects as well as at the KM Music Conservatory.The students learn to dance in the classical Bharatanatyam style, or to play the nagaswaram, ghatam or tabla.
“You feel so connected,” said Bridget Handkins, Class of 2012.
“Yeah,” quipped Miami Alum Sean O’ Neill. “Four people in a rickshaw can be a truly bonding experience!”

Their experience with Indian society isn’t limited to music. The students also visit orphanages, and most recently, Miami students have connected with children at Balwadis and allowed for enhanced sharing of the human spirit.

The fusion of Indian and other cultures is catching on quickly. Global Rhythms now gets more offers than they can handle, and has received several offers to record.  Several students have already provided support to major films including Jodha Akbar, Sivaji, and several other shows of two-time Academy Award winner AR Rahman.  Global Rhythms is now working on celebrating her 20th Anniversary in the academic year 2015 – 2016 and hopes to find as many diverse means to enhance awareness of world cultures and her people.  After having performed at various venues including IIT Madras, IIM Bangalore, Duke, UPenn, Hollywood Bowl, Cornell, Berklee College and other prestigious venues, Global Rhythms aspires to sustain this mission of possible collaborative exercises at new venues that would open more minds and hearts.

SA Engineering in Dynamic India

Dr. Shashti Lalvani, Dr. Anna Dollar and Dean Marek Dollar with AR Rahman and study abroad students in Chennai, India.