MARCH 28, 2007

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OU receives award for campus internationalization

The University of Oklahoma’s efforts to internationalize OU’s learning and living environment are being recognized nationally with the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

“This award is an important recognition of OU’s national leadership in internationalizing the university learning experience. In the years ahead, all students will need international expertise and experience to succeed in the global environment in which they will be living,” OU President David L. Boren said.

Presented by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the award is named for late Illinois Sen. Paul Simon, who was a strong advocate for international education throughout his career. The award recognizes innovative and creative efforts in campus internationalization.

During the past 12 years, through its emphasis on an internationalized curriculum, OU has broadened the scope of students’ educational and cultural exchange opportunities. OU has strong programs in international and area studies, with an International Programs Center led by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Edward Perkins. OU’s School of International and Area Studies was established to place more emphasis on interdisciplinary and international education, and offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international studies, combining coursework from various fields of the humanities.

OU also offers countless opportunities to study abroad independently or through university-sponsored programs in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, North and South America, Africa and the Middle East both during the school year and in the summer. In fact, OU ranks first in the Big 12 and at the top in the nation in international exchange agreements with countries around the world. The university has 171 student exchange agreements with universities in 60 countries. This semester, 1,800 students from more than 100 countries are enrolled on OU’s Norman campus.

The university frequently hosts national and international scholars and policymakers during major national conferences and symposia, helping to strengthen students’ global understanding. The OU Cousins program, which matches U.S. and international students to share informal and social experiences, was established to help international students adapt to college life in the United States while offering a mutually beneficial opportunity for the exchange of cultural insights.

The awardees, which also include Calvin College, Elon University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, will be featured in the NAFSA: Association of International Educators’ report Internationalizing the Campus 2007: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities, to be published this fall, and also will be recognized at the NAFSA annual conference in Minneapolis.

With more than 9,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to international education. The association promotes international education and provides professional development opportunities to the field.

By capturing the breadth and depth of accomplishment in internationalization at U.S. colleges and universities, NAFSA’s annual Internationalizing the Campus report presents an agenda for action at a time when institutions across the country are increasingly recognizing the need to better prepare students for a global economy and an interconnected world.

CONTACT: Jerri Culpepper, OU, (405) 325-1701.