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Fundraising with Ms. Miday; International Achievement Dinner

IMG_0009On Monday, April 11th, we had to attend two events a considerable distance from each other that started about the same time which was 5pm-5:30pm just the time when the roads were the most crowded and it was raining.

Accordingly, we arrived at 4:30pm (a half hour early) to attend the fundraiser for our friend, Ms. Sherrie Miday, candidate for Common Pleas Court Judge, held at Harry's Steak House on Brecksville Road in Independence in order to tell Ms. Miday that we wished her well.

It promised to be a very well attended affair with U.S. Congresspersons Marcia Fudge and Tim Ryan scheduled to appear.

We then headed over to the Tinkham Veale University Center at CWRU to attend the International Achievement Dinner which started at 5:30pm. We were really surprised that traveling the distance was so easy (hardly any traffic) so we arrived at the meet and greet in plenty of time.

This event was put on by the Center for International Affairs whose mission is to provide "leadership, IMG_0021expertise, and support to the Case Western Reserve University community, cultivating a dynamic international presence and inspiring a culture of global understanding and responsibility."

We were proud to say that Margaret W. Wong and Associates, LLC was one of the sponsors along with the City Club of Cleveland, Global Cleveland, and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs.

The first people that we talked to were Ms. Sharon Burke, Executive Assistant to Mr. David Fleshler the Vice Provost for International Affairs, and her husband, Mr. Rick Burke. We thought that they looked familiar and, as it turned out, they were "Rick and Sharona", the singing team that has performed at fundraisers for Ohio State Senator Kenny Yuko.

Another person who was surprised about the smoothness of the evening commute was Dr. Shyam Bhakta who traveled here from the Akron facilityof the Cleveland Clinic Health system. We talked for a few minutes with Dr. Bhakta who recently seen U.S. Presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a campaign function.

Just before we went into the ballroom for dinner, we talked to Mr. Ben Nudelman, a CWRU graduate student. Mr. Nudelman's parents had both immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. He recognized the name of Margaret W. Wong and Associates because he has seen our advertisements in IMG_0036various Russian publications over the years.

Dr. Jeffrey L.. Duerk, Ph.D., Dean of the Case School of Engineering, recognized our name too because he drives by our office on Chester Avenue all of the time and recently met Ms. Margaret W. Wong who he found very "pleasant and insightful" and enjoyed visiting with her.

During dinner, we sat at the same table as Mr. Tom Mathews, Executive Director of the CWRU Career Center; Ms. Anne Cunningham, Senior Director of Development and Global Initiatives; and Mr. Dean Patterson, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at the Office of Student Affairs. We had met Mr. Patterson before at an International Student function earlier in the year and we were glad to see each other again.

In his welcome Mr. Fleshler said that just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a whole community to nurture a prospective Global Citizen. Later in the program, Mr. Fleshler said that "globalization" was the reality of moving people and materials/products across borders and "internationalization" was higher education's acceptance of its role in that reality.

In her opening remarks Ms. Barbara R. Snyder reviewed the progress that CWRU has made in terms of attracting international students and encouraging the local students to participate in the Study Abroad program. On the latter, point we learned that 45% of CWRU students have studied abroad which is very high above the national figure of 10%.

After dinner, we listened to the Guest Speaker who was Mr. Richard L. Armitage, who was the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State from 2001-2005. Mr. Armitage said IMG_0030that he had read the Center for International Affairs' 2015 annual report and was very impressed by it. He then said that he wanted to get a few things "off his chest" and  proceeded to talk about the international scene as he saw it.

First of all, he made it clear that the United States is definitely not "a nation in decline" since we have more "power and prestige" than any other place in the world. Next, he spoke about recent goings-on in Russia, North Korea, Iran, Asia, India, and Southeast Asia, among other countries, and what the U.S. is doing right and what it is doing wrong in terms of dealing with them.

We didn't agree with everything Mr. Armitage said but, nevertheless, we admired and respected him because he seemed to be a genuine straight shooter who reminded us of the late George C. Scott, one of our favorite actors. After the program concluded, we asked him if he was for comprehensive immigration reform and were very pleased when he said that he was because he believed that most people who immigrate to this country really contribute a lot.

IMG_0033The evening concluded with recognition of the achievements of certain student and faculty members including the presentation of a citation to Mr. Tirth Bhatta and Ms. Nirmala Lekhak, two doctoral students from Nepal who are married to each other, as Outstanding International Students. They were chosen for the contributions to the CWRU community and for the way they are making use of their education to benefit their native land. Ms. Molly Watkins, Executive Director of International Affairs, that Mr. Bhatta and Ms. Lekhak "exemplify what we want all of our students to be."


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison, Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.