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Out & About in Cleveland

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Cleveland Council of World Affairs

On Monday, we attended the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Cleveland Council of World Affairs (CCWA) which was held at the International Center on East 40th in Cleveland. The Keynote Speaker was Barbara Snyder, President of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and her speech was about "Internationalization at Case Western Reserve University" which is a subject very close to us. First, President Snyder mentioned that immigration to the United States is not a drain to the U.S. economy but a strong benefit. She then went on to discuss the international strategic plan pertaining to what they are doing at CWRU to attract more students from other countries and to encourage more students from the United States to study abroad. As far as attracting foreign born students to CWRU, a lot of money is being invested to make CWRU a more attractive campus than ever before. In addition to exciting new academic programs there are significant capital improvements like the environmental friendly student center.

A vitally key figure in the internationalization process is David Fleshler, Associate Provost for International Affairs who was also present this evening. The Center for International Affairs published a very informative pamphlet called "think: international, We bridge CWRU and the World" which contained a letter from from Provost Fleshler that is a good summary of what they are trying to do and are doing:

"Case Western Reserve University's first university-wide international office was established in 2009, the Center for International Affairs opened in 2011 and our international strategic plan was adopted in 2012. Since 2009 the percentage of international students-undergraduate, graduate, and professional-has grown from 14% to 17%. In the last two years, the percentage of undergraduate students studying abroad has risen from 19% to 28%. Our goal is no less than 50% of our undergraduate students have an educational experience in another country by 2019. Our vision is to inspire a culture of global understanding and responsibility. This vision includes determining where CWRU as an institution will have a sustainable presence. Candidates include Brazil, India, and Uganda. In addition we encourage faculty and staff to think about how international learning can become increasingly embedded in our curriculum, to ensure that every student graduates as a global student."

Also in the pamphlet was this statement from President Snyder that perfectly echoes what she was saying this evening:

"Case Western Reserve University strives to graduate 'truly global citizens.' Whether by cultivating opportunities for international study, welcoming international students to our campus or forging international research partnerships, our Center for International Affairs promotes an inclusive culture of global citizenship."

Near the end of her speech President President Snyder said that if the CCWA attendees would really like to assist one of the students who has immigrated to the U.S. from another country they should consider offering them a job or an internship. During the Q and A, one person pointed out that the length of time granted on a visa often hinders hiring. President Snyder was very sympathetic to what he was saying and said that CWRU advocates expansion of the H1B visa program.

Before she left the stage at the conclusion of her presentation, President Snyder thanked the CCWA for supporting globalization because "we think it is essential for the future of our university". Afterwards we spoke briefly with President Snyder and Provost Fletcher who both thanked Margaret W. Wong and Associates for assisting them with immigration matters and for being an outstanding friend to CWRU.

But there are other things to be said about this evening with CCWA.

First of all, volunteers who took international visitors into their homes, namely through the Kosovo International Youth Program, were recognized with great appreciation. Also honored were participants in the CCWA's Model United Nations Program and UN Essay Scholarship award recipients were recognized.

There were a lot of people here tonight and we visited several people with Board of Directors member Richard P. Eastburn of UBS, and visitor James A. Dahlberg of Challenger Hardware who had questions about EB5 Investor Visas. We said hello to many people including Wael Khoury, Heather M. Hodges, Terry Nauck, Richard W. Pogue, Fareed Siddiq, and David Silk.

Moreover, we sat with an engaging couple named John and Pat Shields who have been housing international people for 20 years and love it because they learn from these people and these people learn from them. Among these visitors are people from Russia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and the Netherlands. They have even had Imans from Saudi Arabia over for dinner. What's more there is a baby in Georgia (the country) named after John!

Out & Aboutimwong