Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Engaging the World

On March 29, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise introduced EU Ambassador to the United States, João Vale de Almeida as part of the Eleventh Annual EU Day. Read Chancellor Wise's blog post about the event and the University's international role below or on the Chancellor's Blog.

Dear Colleagues:

In late March I had the dual honor of speaking at the eleventh annual European Union Day and introducing the keynote speaker, EU Ambassador to the United States, João Vale de Almeida. This great event was the result of the wonderful efforts of our European Union Center, led by Director Bryan Endres, Associate Director Matt Rosenstein, and supported by Interim Associate Provost for International Affairs and Interim Director of International Programs and Studies, Wolfgang Schlör.

As Dr. Schlör pointed out in his remarks, our EU Center was recently named a “European Union Center for Excellence” by the European Commission. Our Center is one of over a dozen international studies centers and programs at Illinois, and one of six federally funded Title VI and National Resource Centers in international and area studies on our campus—each one of them focusing on a different world region or issue. This number—six Title VI Centers—places us among the top three or four universities in the country.

Dr. Schlör also said that, “In about a month from now, we will formalize our first true strategic international partnership, and it is with a group of universities in Stockholm, Sweden—again, showing the strength of our engagement with the countries of the EU.”

Because of this effort and so many others on campus, it is not a trivial statement when I say that the University of Illinois is a global university. Approximately 700 faculty members are affiliated with one or more of the international and area studies centers on campus.

This campus maintains 263 active institutional linkages with international partners representing 57 different countries around the world. These agreements range from student exchanges—some now entering their fourth decade of activity—to faculty exchange and collaborative research agreements with national research agencies, to innovative joint educational programs leading to dual or multi-institutional degrees.

We have the largest number of international students at any public university in the United States. There were 8,126 international students enrolled at Illinois in the fall of 2010 from more than 120 nations. A total of 26.4 percent of undergraduate students graduating in 2010/11 had a study abroad experience during their time at Illinois.

With such a strong commitment to international initiatives both at the campus level and within individual colleges, internationalization is embedded in all aspects of the academic life on campus. We are indeed a global brand.

Our brand is built on:

  • Our faculty’s global networks and internationally recognized 
  • Our reputation for excellence among our international 
  • The impact of the research advances that have occurred here over our 144-year 
  • The quality of our capacity building and training 
  • The success of our international alumni.

We offer an internationally diverse learning environment that prepares our students to be full and productive participants in the global economy whether through internships, externships, or our growing Study Abroad Program that has 13 study abroad field sites around the world. Our students not only have opportunities to learn about other parts of the world, we offer them opportunities to travel to those nations and experience them firsthand, too.

We are stronger when we engage with the world and I believe that international engagements such as EU Day are exactly the kind of activities we should be doing to stay relevant in the ever-changing, organic world in which we live and work.

With gratitude for all your hard work on behalf of this great university,



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