A reception celebrating University of Delaware global leaders capped off International Education Week (IEW) at the University on Nov. 18.
Matthew Robinson, director of the Institute for Global Studies (IGS) and professor of business administration, served as master of ceremonies at the event, which recognized Fulbright and Salzburg Fellows, as well as former IGS director Lesa Griffiths, and Janet Louise, an instructor at the English Language Institute (ELI) who will retire this June after 25 years of service.
James Magee, professor of political science and international relations, delivered the remarks honoring Griffiths, who returned to the faculty of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in August after serving as associate provost for international programs and IGS director for nearly 10 years.
During her tenure, Griffiths’ cultivated a reputation as a dedicated leader and “straight shooter,” said Magee, who has worked closely with Griffiths as faculty director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, MEPI helps students from the Middle East and North Africa gain more effective leadership skills as well as a more realistic understanding of American norms and institutions. The program, which has been funded at UD for the past eight years, also helps break down stereotypes of Arabs among the Americans with whom the students interact.
“Since the very first MEPI program, the Institute for Global Studies, under Lesa Griffiths’ leadership, has built a growing network of MEPI alumni and American participants who keep in touch with each other,” Magee said. “In Arab capitals and even in remote villages, there are MEPI alumni — and their families — with a deep affection for and a yearning to return to UD and Newark, Delaware.”
Ann Ardis, deputy dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, delivered the remarks honoring Janet Louise, noting that the veteran instructor of English as a Second Language at the ELI “aimed not simply to transform minds but to renew spirits.”
Ardis spoke of how Louise, a 25-year devotee of martial arts, had learned from tai chi how to stay calm and centered amid the storm of homesickness while working abroad for a number of years — and shared those lessons with her students struggling with the culture shock of coming to the U.S. and learning a new language. Louise also never hesitated to impart motherly advice, compassion and reassurance to her charges.
As one former student shared: “I would have given up and gone home long ago, had not Janet helped me through my darkest hours and helped me see the way to success.”
Sami Nassim, chair of the international caucus, reported that hundreds of people had attended each of the IEW events, from talks by distinguished international speakers to an international talent and fashion show.
Scott Stevens, ELI director, spoke of the increasing interest in multiculturalism among UD students, causing some events to be moved to larger venues this year and how the new locations this year also were packed.
Robinson thanked the ELI, Residence Life, and offices across the University for their support for IEW and said he looked forward to collaborating on other global events and activities.
As UD Deputy Provost Nancy Brickhouse pointed out, “International Education Week is more than a week-long endeavor at the University of Delaware, it is important and integral to the Path to Prominence and to the fabric of UD.”
Photo by Evan Krape
This article was originally published on UDaily