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Here, There, and Everywhere

Celebrating global reach


Boston University provides “an example for other schools to strive for and learn from,” in its “exemplary internationalization efforts,” according to NAFSA. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Boston University’s ongoing effort to become a global campus has received some global recognition.

Recently, a consortium of international educators with members in more than 150 nations, known as NAFSA, gave BU a 2009 Paul Simon Award to acknowledge the University’s “exemplary internationalization efforts.”

The University is one of 5 selected from more than 50 nominees for the award, named not for the musician, but for the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon (D-Ill.), who advocated for student exchange programs and supported the creation of the National Security Education Program to address critical deficiencies in language and cultural expertise among U.S. students. This year’s other winners are Connecticut College, Pacific Lutheran University, Portland State University, and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

“Those of us at BU know our history, and we know the breadth and depth of international work done at the University,” says Ben DeWinter, associate provost for international programs, who led the effort to apply for the award last fall. “But it is really nice to get that outside recognition and more visibility worldwide for our programs and scholarship.”

DeWinter singled out the international focus of University President Robert A. Brown and the President’s Council on Boston University and the Global Future, established three years ago.

“President Brown has made it clear that international education, studies, and programs are an important dimension of the University’s long-term strategic plan,” says DeWinter.

The application he submitted in October noted BU’s 4,750 international students, the Center for English Language and Orientation Programs (CELOP), the area studies centers, the Global Health Initiative, the 83 study abroad programs the University offers, and that 18 languages are taught here. DeWinter says the biggest challenge was fitting it all within NAFSA’s 2,000-word limit.

“That statement had exactly 2,000 words,” he says.

There’s no money associated with the Paul Simon Award, but BU will be recognized in May at NAFSA’s annual conference in Los Angeles and featured in the organization’s Internationalizing the Campus 2009: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities, which will be published in the fall.

“Schools like BU provide a snapshot and an example for other schools to strive for and learn from,” says NAFSA spokesperson Ursula Oaks.

Chris Berdik can be reached at cberdik@bu.edu.


One Comment on Here, There, and Everywhere

  • Anonymous on 05.05.2009 at 10:57 am

    Great for BU

    This is great news for BU. However, I think that BU shouldn’t focus just on non-sustainable growth. Yes, these awards are great, however, to truly become an internationally-recognizable university the school must first invest in its students. Good, happy students, bring about good, happy alumni. In time, the student caliber will up to par as elite universities. Sure, we can have nice buildings and a connected social network, but the goal should be to build from ground, up. A university can not truly become elite or have sustained growth without investing in its students first.

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