Global Connections, Fall 2013

In this issue:

New Resources from Global Programs

The newly launched Global Programs website now has more resources for all things global at BU. Find out all about the University’s global happenings — projects, centers, news, stories, and events. Get inspired to start your own global activity – whether in Boston or abroad – and using the information from our former Toolkit, learn the ins and outs of running a project outside the U.S. The site has been designed with faculty in mind and we’d love to hear your thoughts:

Global Outreach of Framingham Heart Study

BU’s Framingham Heart Study is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. What started as a study of heart disease in 1948 has turned into an international epicenter of public health research, operating at the intersection of population research, omnics, systems biology and personalized medicine. If you ever had your blood pressure measured, were told what is your cholesterol level, or worried about maintaining a healthy weight, you can thank the Framingham Heart Study for bringing these every day health prevention strategies to you and your doctor.

Framingham Heart Study is embracing opportunities to share its many lessons with researchers around the world. One such study, Epidemiology of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia in China, is just getting underway. The goal is to establish a 5,000-person cohort in Beijing, China, to examine whether cognitive decline and dementia are mediated by health, genetic and/or cultural mechanisms. Framingham Heart Study investigators, Rhoda Au and Joanne Murabito are leading this collaboration from the School of Medicine.

Of significance to China is the opportunity to establish the foundation from which to build a multi-institutional longitudinal cohort study that is modeled after the most famous one. They plan for this study to evolve into a national scientific resource for China, as well as serve as its model for epidemiologic research of chronic disease. Identifying risk factors associated with different pathways of brain aging shared by and divergent from community-based cohorts in China and the U.S. could provide insights into strategies for intervention and prevention not just within these two countries but globally as well.

New Opportunities for Academic Travel to Cuba

BU has more global opportunities than ever, and due to recent changes in U.S. government regulation, this now includes travel to Cuba. Current regulations now permit certain educational and research activities as well as academic collaborations. Religion & Society, Film, Visual Arts, Foreign Reporting; these are just a few of the projects BU faculty have undertaken recently in the unique, atmospheric capital city of Havana.

This past spring COM students participated in two courses focused on Cuba: Foreign Reporting taught by former New York Times Foreign Correspondent Stephen Kinzer and Experiencing Cuba, taught by Boston Globe Photographer and Pulitzer-winner Essdras Suarez. The classes each included a one-week excursion to Cuba and blended in-class discussions on photojournalism, history, ethics with photography and reporting on a variety of topics that resulted in publications in the Boston Globe and New York Times. A synopsis of their trips as well as stories and photos can be found on the COM website.

Interested in conducting your own activity in Cuba? Global Programs is here to support your plans, provide guidelines for planning your trip, including navigating the US requirements for travel. In compliance with those regulations, all travel to Cuba on behalf of the University must be reviewed and approved by the Vice President & Associate Provost for Global Programs. For more information, please read more about Travel to Cuba on our website or contact Luke Manley at 617-358-2815 or

International Scholars Recognized with Awards

Each year, career development awards are given to outstanding junior educators who show promise as leaders in their respective academic fields. Global Programs would like to congratulate all recent recipients of BU’s Career Development Professorships and in particular, recognize Dr. Erin Reid, Dr. Cornel Ban, Dr. Nachiketa Sahoo and Dr. Hui Feng, as they highlight the diversity that foreign-trained faculty bring to curriculum development and the classroom dynamic at BU. Read more in BU Today’s articles about the Peter Paul Professorship recipients and other career development awards.

Over 1,000 international scholars hosted by the university every year. Whether short term or permanent faculty, they add diverse perspectives among the faculty and we value their contributions as writers, researchers, and educators.

Success in the Marvelous City: Study Abroad Launches in Rio

Study Abroad’s Intensive Portuguese Language Program is a six-week, eight-credit program where students immerse themselves in Portuguese language and Brazilian culture in the colorful, cultural center of Rio de Janeiro, known as the cidade maravilhosa: the marvelous city. Excursions to sites within the city complement the classroom learning and allow students to discover its world-renowned beauty. Classes are held at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC-Rio), in one of Rio’s most picturesque neighborhoods.

This past summer the Rio trip was headed by Professor Celia Bianconi, head of the Portuguese Language Program at BU, who went through two years of negotiation and preparation to make this new summer program a reality. Her efforts brought together eight students who immersed themselves in Brazilian culture, history, and tradition, while also building on their Portuguese reading, writing and grammar. One of the student’s first assignments was an oral presentation on Brazilian cultural aspects that are different than what they would normally observe in the United States. “The purpose of this exercise was to explore the cultural differences between Brazil and the U.S., but also to highlight the things we have in common”, explained Professor Bianconi. “Understanding both our similarities and our differences can help to bridge the gap between our cultures.” Along with classroom study, the students explored a number of important cultural sights in Rio, such as art museums, a Samba school, botanical gardens, and the sixth-longest concrete bridge in the world, the Rio-Niteroi Bridge.

For their final project, the students wrote and performed an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet based on the Brazilian dessert known as Romeu e Julieta, which are layered blocks of white cheese and guava paste. “In the story, one family owned a guava farm and the other a cheese farm. The families didn’t get along, just like Montague and Capulet, but their children fell in love” described Professor Bianconi. “I cried – it was beautifully done.”

CELOP Partners with College of Engineering

This summer, The Center for English Language and Orientation Programs (CELOP) partnered with the College of Engineering to offer a Global Engineering Career Readiness Program. The customized, four-week program was designed to establish a foundation for both academic and workplace success for international Master of Engineering students through intensive English language and cultural immersion.

The program focused on oral and written communication in technology and product development, US and academic culture, skills for successful graduate study and a global career preparation, including job searching, resume writing and interviewing. CELOP faculty assessed students in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing and provided a comprehensive evaluation upon completion of the program.

Kirstie Miller, Director of Professional Education & Corporate Relations at the College of Engineering, worked collaboratively with CELOP to launch the program. She praised its success, saying “The Global Engineering Career Readiness program was designed to support our growing population of international students as they acclimate to the English language, US culture, and academic and workplace expectations. As a result of the program, these students have acquired a set of communication skills and knowledge which will set them up for success, both while at BU and in their eventual professional careers. We are thrilled with the results and have no doubt this program is poised for growth.”

The students also completed course evaluations and expressed positive feedback. As one student wrote, “I would recommend this program to other international engineering students because it helps with adjusting academically and socially and gives a great feel of the environment at BU.”


Did You Know…?

Emergency Management Plan Workbook

An Emergency Management Plan details the critical information needed in effective emergency planning and response. A new workbook from Global Programs can help you assemble these elements quickly, refer to them easily, inform your support team in Boston, and train program participants. Taking a few minutes to review preparation and procedures can prove invaluable in an emergency.