Young African leaders gather at VCU for public management and leadership institute

Young African Leaders Initiative 2016

Fifty of Africa’s brightest emerging leaders in the areas of public management, business and entrepreneurship are spending June 20-July 31 in Richmond participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. For the second consecutive year, Virginia Commonwealth University will host this prestigious flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative and President Barack Obama’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of global leaders. The program is co-sponsored by the VCU Global Education Office, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and School of Business.

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Young African leaders meet at VCU

Young African Leaders Institute 2016

Back home in Nigeria, Dr. Danladi S. Idrisa works in public health to mitigate the pain inflicted by Boko Haram extremists on civilians — the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls represent only “a small fraction” of that suffering.
Idrisa now is at Virginia Commonwealth University for a six-week program he hopes will yield ideas to make intervention and assistance programs in Nigeria more efficient.

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GEO awards Undergraduate Research Fellowships

2016 Undergraduate Research Fellows

While some students use the summer to take a well-deserved break from academic pursuits, many spend this time delving further into subjects that they’ve studied throughout the semester. Such is the case for undergraduates Elyse Duani, Hannah Foster and Caitlin Lange who will be conducting summer research projects through the VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). The three students received Undergraduate Research Fellowships, funded by the Global Education Office and Office of Research and Innovation, to research global issues ranging from language acquisition to immigration and refugee communities to maternal health around the world. The research projects will be conducted under the supervision of their VCU faculty mentor.

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GEO in the News:
Task force to help fight Muslim stereotypes at VCU

Muslim Advocacy in the News

Multiple departments at VCU came together and created a “Muslim Advocacy Task Force,” in order to combat stereotypes against Muslims and hatred towards the Islamic culture. The school started the task force after increased hostility towards Muslim students on campus because of terrorist attacks like those in Paris, Belgium, and San Bernadino. Those attacks and other international terror threats instilled fear in many people across the United States - fear of the Islamic culture and the Muslim religion. That fear was felt on VCU's campus, resulting in many Muslim students and faculty feeling isolated and like targets.

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A Voice For Global Nomads Of Color

Amanda Bate

Amanda Bate, a master’s student in the VCU School of Education counselor education program recently completed an internship in the Global Education Office working with International Student and Scholar Programs. While in ISSP, Amanda completed her 100-hour practicum, meeting with several students to assist with graduate school applications, personal statements, resumes, career searches and social adjustment at VCU.

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Andrea Ward becomes first VCU graduate of Peace Corps Prep program to join the Corps

Andrea Ward

Andrea Ward, a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University, was one of the first students to enroll in the VCU Globe Peace Corps Prep program when it launched in November of 2014. Now, just a three semesters later, she has completed the program and plans to enter the Peace Corps this summer. Ward, who leaves for Benin, Africa in September is VCU’s first student to successfully complete the Peace Corps Prep program and subsequently accept a position with the Corps immediately following graduation.

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Five VCU students receive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships

Gilman Scholarship

Five Virginia Commonwealth University students have been awarded scholarships through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program for study abroad during summer 2016. Students were selected from a field of 3,400 applicants; approximately 950 students from across the nation were selected to receive the scholarship. Jonnathan Alvis, a sophomore majoring in forensic science in the College of Humanities and Sciences, received a scholarship to participate in the Sant’Anna Institute VCU summer direct-enroll program, which takes place in Sorrento, Italy. Alvis is from Springfield, Virginia.

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Task force meets with VCU community to discuss Muslim outreach initiatives

Muslim Advocacy Initiative

Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, Ph.D., and members of the Muslim Advocacy Task Force met with students, faculty and staff last week to discuss Muslim outreach initiatives on campus. Muslim advocacy issues are a priority for leaders at VCU as universitywide discussions continue to place an emphasis on diversity and inclusion initiatives. In light of concerns about hostility toward American and international citizens who practice Islam, Rao had established the task force to dispel misconceptions about the Islamic religion, to support Muslim students on campus and to provide a safe space for productive dialogue about current events. At VCU, Muslim students, and those who are perceived as Muslim, have expressed general concerns for their personal safety given the international climate. The task force includes nine university leaders and staff members.

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Faculty from China receive medical and English training at VCU


Over the last six months, a cohort of faculty from Youjiang Medical University for Nationalities in Guangxi, China has participated in a medical faculty development program hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University. Since October 2015, twenty-two faculty members have participated in the YMUN Education Qualify Project, which consisted of four months of English language training through VCU´s English Language Program, one month of lectures focused on medical pedagogy, and one month of tours and observations of medical classes, both through the School of Medicine.

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International educators enjoy ‘Global Learning through the Co-Curriculum’ conference at VCU

AIEA Forum

“How does a university equip students with knowledge that expands their global competence?” is a question asked on college campuses across the nation. Many international educators agree that the answers don’t only exist in the classroom, but also in the places where students live, work, volunteer and play. For two days last week, international educators from around the country delved into this discussion to uncover the role that co-curricular activities play in helping students increase their global competence.

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Why Studying Abroad Is Safer Than You May Think

Safe Education Abroad Travels

The deaths of Americans studying overseas make headlines back home, but going abroad is no riskier than staying on campus. In fact, it might be less dangerous. A new comparison of health and safety data finds that death rates are lower for students on study-abroad programs than for those on American campuses. Students in the United States are an estimated 2.18 times as likely to die as their classmates overseas.

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VCU Fulbright Scholar visits UKZN

Fulbright Scholar James Vonesh

Dr James Vonesh of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in the United States visited UKZN’s School of Life Sciences to present a lecture based on his work as Principal Investigator at VCU’s Vonesh lab. Vonesh is currently conducting research and teaching at Stellenbosch University on a Fulbright Scholarship sabbatical.

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VCU Globe graduates inaugural cohort

VCU Globe Graduation

Surrounded by family and friends, students in the inaugural cohort of VCU Globe celebrated their completion of the program in a graduation ceremony on Friday, February 12.

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Special Announcement: Health Alert: ZIKA VIRUS


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel alert for countries where Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC's travel notices regularly for updates as new countries are being added to this list. The Zika virus is spread by infected mosquito bites to people. Avoiding mosquito bites is the best form of prevention for those traveling to an area where Zika virus is occurring. There has been one confirmed case of Zika infection in the U.S. that occurred through sexual transmission.

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VCU to host Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Mandela Washington Fellows

For the second year in a row, Virginia Commonwealth University has been selected as a host institution for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, VCU will welcome 50 of Africa’s brightest emerging leaders in the areas of public management, business and entrepreneurship.

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GEO awards five grants to the Humanities Research Center

Humanities Research Center Awarded Grants

The Global Education Office is pleased to award five grants to support the Humanities Research Center.

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Students graduate from the ELP Program, Fall 2015 Graduation

ELP Fall 2015 Graduation

International students celebrated as they received certificates for graduating from the English Language Program at the Fall 2015 graduation. Students Zeinab Diaby and Rafaela Silva delivered the keynote speeches to fellow students, offering student reflections and words of encouragement.

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VCU Globe wins the Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award

VCU Globe wins the Paul Simon Spotlight Award

VCU Globe was recently presented with the prestigious 2015 Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award during International Education Week. The award is granted by NAFSA: Association of International Educators to innovative university programs that make a significant contribution to campus internationalization. Marlene Johnson, executive director and CEO of NAFSA, welcomed the scholars, university administrators, students and others gathered for the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C on Nov. 18.

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VCU participates in historic U.S. higher education delegation to Cuba

VCU delegation to Cuba

Virginia Commonwealth University recently participated in a historic delegation visit to Cuba from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1. R. McKenna Brown, Ph.D., Global Education Office senior international officer, Joe Seipel, School of the Arts dean and Joann Richardson, Ph.D., associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences represented VCU in the delegation. The purpose of this visit, led by the Institute of International Education, was for U.S. universities to learn more about the current state of higher education in Cuba and to explore potential partnership opportunities. The visit was part of a broader initiative which seeks to reinvigorate higher education engagement between the U.S. and Cuba in light of the opening of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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Open Doors report: International students see VCU as a top choice in Virginia, study abroad grows

2015 Open Doors report

For the fifth year in a row, Virginia Commonwealth University is among the state’s top five institutions hosting international students, according to the 2015 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released Monday in Washington, D.C. by the Institute of International Education. With 1,889 international students enrolled in the 2014/15 academic year, VCU is ranked 143rd among nearly 1,500 institutions surveyed. In addition, international students represent 4.8 percent of all students currently studying in the U.S.; VCU is ahead of this national percentage with 6 percent of its entire student body made up of international students.

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VCU Deans visit China to explore collaboration opportunities

Virginia Commonwealth University’s initiative to increase the number of Chinese students who enroll at VCU and university students who study in China took a major step forward this summer when the Global Education Office led a delegation of deans to China for a two week period.

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African presidential fellows at VCU hope for ‘United States of Africa’

YALI 2015

When the continent of Africa is mistakenly referred to as a singular country, it‘s typically seen as a dismissal of the myriad of cultures it comprises. Benjamin Dankaka, a member of the presidential Mandela Washington Fellowship from Nigeria, said perhaps that is prophetic.

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Six VCU alumni selected for Fulbright grants

VCU Campus

Six Virginia Commonwealth University alumni have been awarded Fulbright grants for the 2015-2016 academic year. The awards include four English Teaching Assistant grants and two research grants. With this newest group of Fulbright student scholarship recipients, 34 VCU students and recent alumni have been offered Fulbright awards since VCU established the National Scholarship Office in 2005.

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VCU hosts Nelson Mandela International Day Celebration

Mandela Washington Fellows

Virginia Commonwealth University, in collaboration with the African Community Network of Greater Richmond and Cammepa Productions, will host a celebration honoring participants in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day.

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