In her recent speech at Peking University,
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke passionately about international and foreign
language education, noting that in today’s increasingly global economy, knowing
a foreign language and being familiar with a foreign culture can give job
applicants an important edge and can provide a foundation for the kind of
cross-border cooperation that is needed to solve many shared challenges. Study
abroad is one way to acquire or deepen global competencies, and the First Lady
emphasized that such international experiences should be for students from all kinds of backgrounds. “That
kind of diversity is who we are -- it's what makes our country so vibrant and
strong -- and our study abroad programs should help us show America's true face
to the world,” she said.
According to the Mapping the Nation project (learn more in Additional Announcements and Initiatives), today 23 million jobs in 50 states
are tied to international trade. In this edition of the newsletter,
we feature our Centers for International Business Education (CIBE),
highlighting the work that our grantees in Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina and Wisconsin
are doing to help faculty and students explore the business climate, entrepreneurial
opportunities, and regional dynamics affecting business in India, Vietnam,
China and Brazil. We also report on innovative work being done by one of our
grantees to deepen secondary teachers’ knowledge of world history, thus helping
to meet the State of Michigan’s need for more teachers certified to teach this
When we last communicated with you
through this newsletter, a 2014 federal budget had not been passed and we were
still speculating about the appropriations that would determine how much
support we would be able to provide this year. The Department’s 2014 budget
provides $65.1 million in funding for our Title VI or “domestic” programs – a
modest increase over the previous year – and $7.1 million for the
Fulbright-Hays “overseas” programs. We look forward to being able to provide
support for language and area or international studies centers, programs and
fellowships at institutions across the nation. Applications for two of the Fulbright-Hays grants, the Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) and the Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Programs, opened on May 19th; Title VI applications should be available later this month – watch the Federal Register and the IFLE
website for updates.
We want to thank those of you who
provided comments on our proposed program priorities, all of which will be
helpful as we formulate the final priorities for this competition cycle. The
Department proposed priorities intended to increase access for
individuals, groups and institutions with historically low rates of
participation in international and world language education programs, by encouraging
applicants to collaborate closely with Minority-Serving Institutions and
community colleges, and by considering financial need when awarding fellowships. We proposed an
increased focus on world regions that are strategically important to our
national security, diplomacy and global commerce, including South Asia,
Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, while continuing to develop capacity in
a broad range of languages – especially less commonly taught languages -- and
regions. And we proposed enhanced collaboration
by our grantee institutions with teacher education programs, K-12 school
systems, business and industry, and professional associations, to enhance
the preparation of future teachers to foster global competencies in their
students and to strengthen the readiness of our students and graduates to enter
and excel in college and careers.
We’re excited to share these
developments with you and hope to hear from you on what you would like to see
in future editions of this newsletter.
Lenore Yaffee Garcia, Acting Senior
Director, International and Foreign Language Education
Featured IFLE Grant Program: Centers for International Business Education (CIBE)
Centers for International Business Education (CIBE) -- sometimes referred to by universities as CIBER -- focus on
research, education, and training in international business and global
competitiveness. CIBEs function as national resources for teaching improved
international business techniques and strategies. Among other things, they
provide instruction in critical business languages, research and training in
the international aspects of trade and commerce, and professional development
opportunities in these areas to faculty, students, and institutions of higher
education in their regions. They also coordinate with regional, national, and
multinational businesses and business associations to enhance learning and
professional opportunities for their students. Take a look at some of the innovative and engaging work CIBE centers are doing across the country and around the world.
Florida International University's Professional Development in International Business Program (PDIB) in India
In today’s globalized, interdependent economy, innovation is an essential engine of growth; India is a top global player.
FIU's Professional Development in International Business (PDIB) program to
India is designed for
professionals and faculty interested in learning more about and connecting with members of the Indian business
community. This year for PDIB's 6th annual program participants experienced firsthand how multinationals and leading
Indian companies are reshaping the Indian business environment as competitive
despite a global recession. With a
billion people, many of whom are highly educated, India is at the center of
Participants this year visited top
multi-national and Indian companies, giving them the opportunity to
interact with executives to discuss business in India. The group visited organizations such as the Indian Institute of
Management, IBM Limited, Siemens Limited, FedEx India and GlaxoSmithKline
Limited. When not visiting these companies, participants toured historical sites in New Delhi, Bangalore and
Mumbai, visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Elephanta Caves, which are a series of sculpted caves with images of several figures in Buddhism and Hinduism, in Mumbai.
was led by Dr. Sumit Kundu, Faculty Director and Professor of International
Business at the Florida International University College of Business. For more information, please feel
free to visit http://ciber.fiu.edu.
Business Professors Gain International Perspective with Vietnam Program
In the world of International Business, new countries each year are distinguishing themselves as emerging economies. A group of 16 professors of business from universities around the United States visited Vietnam in January 2014 to learn about this rapidly changing and developing country.
After China, Vietnam has been Asia’s second-fastest growing economy since 2000, and is a bellwether for the nearby developing economies of Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. This year’s 10-day Southeast Asia Faculty Development in International Business (FDIB) program, developed in collaboration by the University of Hawaii and University of Wisconsin-Madison CIBERs, complements previous programs in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The program aimed to highlight the unique aspects of doing business in Vietnam, comparing and contrasting the business environments of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi through a diverse set of experiences including lectures from local experts on the political, economic, and legal environment; facility tours; meetings with local Vietnamese and expat business leaders from a cross-section of industries; and cultural highlights. The program’s primary goal was to help participants internationalize their teaching and research.
The Ho Chi Minh City segment included visits to Vietnam’s largest microfinance organization; the Cargill country headquarters; and a state-owned distillery.
The Hanoi segment included site visits and briefings from a U.S. investment firm, an NGO supporting motorbike injury prevention, the country’s largest plastics manufacturer and trader, and a state-owned brokerage firm.
Cultural activities included a visit to the Mekong River Delta, part of a historically important trade route linking Vietnam with China, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia and an overnight trip on Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be one of the wonders of the world.
“While I have experience teaching in other countries in Asia, the opportunity to observe firsthand the unique challenges faced by a high-potential developing economy was invaluable,” said H. Shanker Krishnan, professor of marketing at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. “This has stimulated me to propose an MBA student trip to Vietnam, so that business students can also learn about the connections between economies and cultures.”
“I participated in the FDIB expecting it to help me inject more international content into my social entrepreneurship course,” said John Surdyk, Director of the Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship (INSITE) at the Wisconsin School of Business. "What I didn't expect was how much the experience would change me, and change the way that I see and relate to my students from Vietnam and Southeast Asia. I have a much deeper appreciation for the sacrifices my students and their families have made to study at UW-Madison, a firmer grasp on the ways that culture affects my classroom, a more nuanced understanding of the business climate and entrepreneurial opportunities ahead of my students in their home countries, and a much deeper respect for the complex regional dynamics I only dimly understood from reading popular press. The experience far exceeded my expectations.”
UNC Kenan-Flagler CIBER Launches Unique Cross-Cultural Business Program
Savvy business people often trust their guts when negotiating deals and
managing employees overseas. But what if your gut feeling is based on incorrect
assumptions? What if the visual cues you think you are receiving actually mean
“A large number of overseas transfers fail, oftentimes because of a lack of
cultural understanding,” says Julia Kruse, executive director for the Center
for International Business Education & Research (CIBER) at the University
of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. “That’s a massive cost for
A new cross-cultural competency certificate program was offered for the
first time in January by the UNC CIBER with support from a U.S. Department of
Education Title VI grant. The Cross-Cultural
Savvy for Global Business program taught 70 students, business
professionals, and faculty from minority serving institutions to recognize their
own assumptions and cultural differences so they can operate more effectively
in other countries.
how to conduct business in China, India and Brazil, I learned more about how I
approach cross-cultural issues and how I can improve this interaction,” reported
“Cultural competence is a process,”
said Gina Difino, who directed the program and serves as assistant director for
MBA Global Programs at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “Our interactive workshop and highly
personalized sessions gave participants an understanding and tools that put
them on the path to cultural competence.”
Key features of the program included self-assessments, seven experts in
cross-cultural business, country specialists for Brazil, China, and India, and
one-on-one consultations for participants with the experts.
Participants complete additional assignments to earn a certificate in Cross Cultural Savvy for Global Business from the UNC
Conversations with Educators: Innovations In International Education
Michigan's National Resource Centers Find New Ways to Connect with High School
Educators through its World History Initiative
In April 2006 the
Michigan Legislature passed the Michigan Merit Curriculum, a new set of
educational standards for the state's K-12 school system. Among the reforms was a new requirement for
graduation, which mandated that all students needed credits in World
History. Suddenly there was a need for
more teachers that were certified and knowledgeable in this area of Social
Studies. The University of Michigan
helped to answer that call when in 2010 a team including Bob Bain, Associate
Professor of Education and History, Charley Sullivan and Amber Blomquist, program
managers in the National Resource Centers (NRC), created and facilitate the
World History Initiative -- a joint project among the University six NRCs, which are housed in the University of Michigan's International Institute, the School of Education, and the Eisenberg Center
for Historical Study.
The World History
Initiative (WHI) aims to provide constructive professional development
opportunities to high school world history teachers by connecting them with
professors and researchers at the University.
The program's work -- though evolving constantly -- has two primary goals:
to provide two annual three-day workshops for secondary teachers of World
History, and to provide a public database of curricular materials and resources
that teachers can use in their classrooms.
The workshops focus on topics in global or world history, having NRC professors or advanced doctoral students bring regional perspectives
and resources to bear in analyzing global patterns, trends or historiographic problems; e.g., 19th century colonialism from the perspective of professors studying the Middle
East. The participants then discuss the issues in history and in teaching that history to secondary
students, brainstorming ways to use the materials and ideas in their secondary
Dr. Bain, who was
a history and social studies teacher for 26 years prior to coming to Michigan
in 1998, says that the WHI recognizes the importance of courses in World
History for K-12 students and the virtue in supporting area teachers. The workshops put the history of one region
in dialogue with another and thus afford teachers the chance to see similarities
and connections that otherwise would be invisible if focusing on only one area. As Bain notes, “One of the purposes of
education should be to broaden our vision of the world nationally, interregional
and globally. Education should give our
students more ways to see and more ways to act.” The WHI is helping teachers realize the rich potential in the World History requirement.
Just as World
History focuses on global connections, the WHI has forged new connections among
professors and high school teachers in the service of improving education in
the community. Through this innovative
process, the University of Michigan NRCs are working to have an impact on
educational outcomes in their community. Judging from the feedback from secondary
teachers, this program has helped improve teaching and learning World History
in the area.
Partnerships in Language Education at the University of Kansas
This spring break, the Center for Latin American and
Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas collaborated with Johnson County
Community College (JCCC) to host a 3-day Spanish Immersion Retreat for local teachers. Since many Spanish teachers in Kansas are
unable to spend time out of the country and do not always have an opportunity to use their
language skills outside the classroom, the center co-hosted a language-intensive weekend.
The retreat took place from March 14-16 at the
Heartland Retreat Center outside of Kansas City. Twenty-four teachers participated, coming from all levels of education including elementary, middle, and high school, as well as several instructors from JCCC. Participants paid a nominal registration fee
which included five meals, two nights lodging and all activities at the
Participants arrived on Friday, and after checking in, enjoyed an evening of dinner, icebreakers, an outdoor fire, and mariachi
music. Saturday brought a full day of
programming including presentations and activities such as the history of the Spanish
language: trivia and games, a film screening and discussion, reading and
analysis of short stories, essays, and articles by various Spanish-speaking
writers; listening to music and podcasts on MP3 players while enjoying the
outdoors; a presentation on Paraguayan Tereré drinking, and an overview of teaching and outreach
resources from the Center including on-line materials and cultural trunks.
The retreat wrapped up on Sunday with grammar and vocabulary questions, teaching
tips, and evaluations.
In their evaluations, the participants reported that they felt
re-energized after the retreat, that they learned a lot from the various activities, and that they enjoyed the comfortable setting in which to speak Spanish and to get know the other participants.
This is the second time in this grant cycle that the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies has been able to put on this event. They are grateful to the National Resource Center for supporting this program.
Spotlight on IFLE Staff
Meeting Fellows at Duke and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Last January 14-16, IFLE Senior Program Officer Cheryl Gibbs and Program Officer Kate Maloney conducted
a site visit of the eight Title VI National Resource Centers (NRC) and Foreign
Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship projects and the Center for
International Business Education (CIBE) at Duke University and the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The purpose of the visit was to review
program activities for compliance with approved project scopes, provide
technical assistance, conduct fiscal monitoring, and learn about best
practices, challenges, and outreach activities of the centers. They met with
university senior leadership, program directors, center staff, faculty, and
A highlight at both campuses
was a roundtable meeting with the FLAS fellows who shared
what inspired them to study their language (or languages). The
networking among the FLAS fellows at the event was so positive that both
universities voiced interest in continuing regular gatherings for FLAS fellows
to share their experiences and build the community. Cheryl and Kate are very
grateful to their hosts for their hospitality, planning, and insights
during the visit.
IFLE Hosts the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR)
More than forty different government offices and agencies involved in foreign language training and education are often represented at the monthly Inter-Agency Language Roundtable (ILR). The purpose of the ILR is to give the agencies, their grant recipients, and professionals outside the government the opportunity to share their work and research. Last month IFLE hosted the meeting, bringing members of the foreign language education community together at the Department of Education headquarters in Washington, DC. Themes of the meeting included discussions of best practices in testing for student learning, the differences between proficiency and performance in foreign languages, as well as identifying goals for future projects and initiatives. Senior Program Officers Dr. Pamela Maimer (in photo) and Tanyelle Richardson, and Program Officer Carla White of IFLE coordinated the ILR meeting. Some highlights of the conference included presentations by representatives and scholars from the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC), the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) and the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL).
Ms. Bella Cohen of the DLIFLC talked about the challenges in improving the performance of linguists in the field, and presented methods based on authentic materials and activities that can assist a linguist-in-training in making the transition from the classroom into professional work.
Dr. Bill Hindle of Language Testing International discussed the work of the American Society for Testing and Materials in establishing performance testing standards. He noted that there was a need for members of this group to reconvene and to continue to establish more measures that will help foreign language educators better grasp the performance levels of their students.
Is there a significant difference in the proficiency of students who have learned a new language in a teacher-directed in-person model versus an all-online model, or a blended learning model? Deputy Director of the NFLC, Dr. David Ellis made this the focus of his presentation at the ILR Roundtable. Through an extensive literature review that Dr. Eliis and his colleagues conducted, they found that right now it is very hard to answer that question. A meta-analysis revealed that different high-quality studies yielded different results, indicating that a lot more work needs to be done in this area of language education.
Dr. Margaret Malone, Associate Vice President of the Center for Applied Linguistics at Georgetown University, discussed how the Title VI Language Resource Centers (LRCs) administered by IFLE, are contributing to world language learning and teaching. Dr. Malone reminded us of how important culture is to language and recommended new forms of assessment that require language students to use their skills in culturally authentic and relevant situations.
The Roundtable provided a forum for discussion and innovation in the field of foreign language education. IFLE looks forward to hosting future ILR meetings.
More Grantee Activities
DDRA Scholars around the World
The Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) fellowship program, part of the Fulbright-Hays portfolio administered by IFLE, provides recipients funding to pursue their dissertation research. These scholars not only have been able to get one step closer to completing their dissertations, but also have strengthened their knowledge of less-commonly taught languages such as Mandarin and Quechua, and added to bodies of research on regions around the globe.
DDRA Recipient Shares his Story: from Struggles in High School to Doctoral Research Abroad
Joshua Homan was once a high school student struggling to graduate. Over time Homan found his passion in Anthropology and is now pursuing his doctorate in that discipline at the University of Kansas. This past year he earned a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral-Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) award to pursue research in the Peruvian Amazon. Read all about Homan's experience completing his DDRA project living among the Pastaza Quechua in Peru.
American Fulbrighters Come Together for Fulbright Friday Outreach Gathering in Beijing
The Fulbright Commission in Beijing hosted the monthly “Fulbright Friday." The event brought together current American Fulbright student scholars, Senior Research Scholars, Fulbright-Hays grantees, and recent American Fulbright alumni, all doing research or working in and around the capital. It provided an opportunity for the Fulbrighters to share their unique experiences, meet other Fulbrighters, discuss their research, bring up problems they face conducting research in China, and propose solutions with each other. Fulbrighters also take advantage of this opportunity to speak with program administrators.
Among the Fulbrighters present at this event was Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) recipient, Robert William-Cole (featured in photo; center) who, like many of the other scholars, was abroad conducting research on archival Chinese history.
IRS Grant Recipients Design New Self-Training Rater Program for Arabic Learners
Fellows at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC had an article published in the Review of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Language (NECTFL) discussing a self-training rater program for Arabic that they designed as part of their International Research and Studies (IRS) Program grant administered by IFLE under Title VI of the Higher Education Act. Read all about their research.
Additional Announcements and Initiatives
Taiwan Fellowship Currently Accepting Applications
The 2014 Taiwan Fellowship,
for doing research in Taiwan in 2015, is accepting online applications from May
1 to June 30 this year. The Fellowship supports scholars to conduct advanced
research at a university or academic institution in Taiwan in fields related to
Taiwan, cross-strait relations, mainland China, the Asia-Pacific region, or
Chinese studies. For more details or to apply online, visit: http://taiwanfellowship.ncl.edu.tw/eng/index.aspx
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Announces New Financial Aid Guide
The White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics is excited to announce the release of the ¡Gradúate! Financial Aid Guide to Success (Guide).
The Guide consolidates and outlines, in a culturally relevant way, information and resources made available to better support Hispanic students in their efforts to enroll and afford a postsecondary education. It is available in English and Spanish, and includes recommendations on how to prepare a college application and complete the Federal Aid Form for Student Aid (FAFSA). It also contains helpful tips on how to choose the right college and financing options, as well as resources for students granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and non-U.S. citizen students.
Mapping the Nation Continues to Illustrate Importance of Global Competence for U.S. Students
Nearly one million data points have been collected to prove what parents, businesspeople, and policymakers already know: American students must be globally competent to succeed in the interconnected 21st century. “Mapping the Nation: Linking Local to Global,” a new online resource from Asia Society, the Longview Foundation, and analytics leader SAS, makes a compelling case for a globally competent workforce and citizenry.
Launched at the U.S. Department of Education by Secretary Duncan during International Education Week in November 2013, Mapping the Nation presents data at state and county levels to show international connections for every county in the U.S. – from jobs tied to global trade and immigrants with rich linguistic heritages, to billions of dollars contributed to our economy by international students studying here. It also reveals a significant education gap: Not enough U.S. students at any level, K-16, are gaining the global knowledge and skills needed for success in this new environment.