As her tenure comes to a close, University President Mary Sue Coleman traveled to California to receive recognition for her efforts in international engagement.
Tuesday, Coleman was honored with the Cassandra Pyle Award for Leadership and Collaboration in International Education and Exchange from NAFSA: Association of International Educators at a ceremony in San Diego.
NAFSA is a nonprofit organization that works to promote international exchange and global education. Apart from serving as NAFSA president from 1978 to 1979, Cassandra Pyle – the award's namesake – held positions at similar organizations like the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, American Council on Education and the Institute of International Education.
The previous Pyle recipients include Julia Chang Bloch, founder and president of the US-China Education Trust and the first Asian-American U.S. ambassador, and Zuhair A.G. Humadi, who assists Iraqi students in studying at foreign institutions as the executive director of Iraq's Higher Committee for Education Development.
“For a great public university to thrive in a rapidly evolving environment, we must absolutely forage in the connections of mutual understanding that can allow our citizens and our nations to flourish,” Coleman said in her recorded acceptance speech. “That is why, as president of the University of Michigan, I have led faculty delegations to develop partnerships with colleagues on three continents.”
According to a University press release, the number of undergraduate students who studied abroad doubled under Coleman’s presidency. Participation increased in underrepresented fields of study and programs in nontraditional and diverse locations.
Coleman also created partnerships at universities in Ghana, China, Rwanda, Brazil, South Africa and India. She made trips abroad during her tenure to promote engagement for international students. During her most recent visit to India she promoted the University of Michigan Health System’s partnership with the only freestanding trauma center in India, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
“International education is important to sustaining the world,” Coleman said. “It delivers powerful rewards and I can know of no more important work than joining hands with other universities to transform lives with the power and promise of global knowledge.”
Students currently research in various countries preforming projects like diabetes research in Bolivia, the effects of television violence on emotions in Germany and aquaculture investigation in Vietnam.