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CIS Events Archive
NAFSA 2012 Annual Conference & Expo

On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, Dr. Natalia Smirnova, Director of the Center for International Studies and Associate Professor of Business and Economics at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, attended the NAFSA 2012 Annual Conference & Expo in Houston, TX. She presented a poster, "Building on Excellence: Internationalization at the College of Mount Saint Vincent."

Smirnova NAFSA 2012 poster
Photo: Dr. Smirnova at the NAFSA 2012 Annual Conference & Expo in Houston, TX.
Cuba and Film "Cuba and Film" Cultural Seminar

On Thursday, April 19th, 2012, the Center for International Studies presented a faculty cultural Seminar “Cuba and Film” by Dr. Rosita Villagomez, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. The seminar was dedicated to the 101st Founders Day Celebration. Saint Elizabeth Seton, the founder of the Sisters of Charity, said “I am a citizen of the world." Her legacy is kept alive by the Sisters of Charity who are actively involved in solving global problems of poverty, human rights, women’s rights, among others. The seminar on Cuba by Dr. Villagomez connected nicely with the theme of global awareness that was carried through the Founders Day on campus.

Dr. Villagomez outlined Cuba’s economic transformation after the breakup with the Soviet Union and evaporation of subsidies and aid from the old comrade. The period of the 1990s brought poverty and desperation to Cubans. As Cuba entered the twenty first century, the chasm between the ideals of the revolution and the island’s reality became greater. In the film industry, one can observe an attempt to find meaning in the every-day challenges and struggles: homosexuality, position of women, children’s issues, and artists’ role in the society.

Dr. Villagomez discussed four films: Fresa y Chocolate (1994), Viva Cuba (2005), Barrio Cuba (2005), and Habana Blues (2005). She described the issues in the films and engaged the members of the audience to discuss the highlighted issues. The presentation showed a detailed analysis of the film industry development in Cuba in the post-Soviet period, which illustrated attempts on the part of the Cuban Film Academy to portray the social and economic problems in a “true” light.

Cuba and Film April 2012
Photo: (From left to right):
Dr. Villagomez with students, Christman Perera and Eric Lara.
Paul Simon logo Symposium on Campus Internationalization

On March 27, 2012, the Center for International Studies organized the Symposium on Campus Internationalization. The goal of the Symposium was to share successful institutional strategies for campus internationalization and learn from Loyola University Maryland, which received the NAFSA Paul Simon Award in 2010 and is currently ranked number one in the nation regarding the number of students studying abroad.

Key Note Speaker
Dr. André Pierre Colombat -- Dean and Director of the Office of International Programs, Loyola University Maryland (L.U.M.)

About Loyola University Maryland
In 2010, Loyola University Maryland received a Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. Through this award, NAFSA: Association of International Educators recognizes institutions for overall excellence in internationalization efforts as evidenced in practices, structures, philosophies, and policies.

Since then, Loyola University Maryland has been ranked number one in the nation among master’s institutions that have the most students who study abroad in one-semester programs.

Key Note Address
Dr. Colombat explained how Loyola University Maryland has been internationalizing its campus, what they learned in the process, what he believes is essential for their programs, and why he believes they received the Senator Paul Simon award. Dr. Colombat ended with some challenges they are still facing.

Dr. Mary LoRe – Chair of the Department of Business Administration, Wagner College
Dr. LoRe discussed Wagner's:
1) Mandatory overseas trip in Executive and Accelerated MBA programs;
2) Revamping of undergraduate international concentration to include language requirement and overseas trip;
3) “Expanding Your Horizon” program.
Dr. George A. Mangiero – Associate Professor, Department of Finance and Director of Study Abroad, and Iona College.
Dr. Mangiero discussed challenges in recruitment of students and faculty for the study abroad programs; and administrative challenges in risk management and assessment.
Dr. Natalia Smirnova – Associate Professor, Department of Business and Economics and Director of the Center for International Studies, College of Mount Saint Vincent
Dr. Smirnova discussed the outcomes of the federal Title VI grant for the College of Mount Saint Vincent (CMSV), and focused on strategies, challenges and rewards of involvement of the faculty in the process of campus internationalization.

The event was attended by 24 people – administrators, faculty and staff members from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, as well as from Caldwell College, Wagner College, LIM College, Iona College. Additionally an alumna of the CMSV was present. The fruitful discussion followed the main presentations.

Symposium CIS March 2012
Photo: (From left to right):
Dr. Colombat (key note speaker), Dr. Meyer (Dean, CMSV, moderator),
Dr. Smirnova, Dr. Mangiero, Dr. LoRe.
Study Abroad Fair March 2012 Study Abroad Fair “Let’s Study Abroad!”

On March 6, 2012, the Center for International Studies hosted Study Abroad Fair “Let’s Study Abroad!” About 20 students browsed various program tables that were set up in the Pastorini Dining Room.

The following study abroad programs were represented:
1. UK, London – semester and summer 2012. Ms. Lesley Haig, Director of Academic Affairs of St. Mary’s University College Twickenham, London, was in attendance and answered questions about the London program. Contact: Dr. Meyer
2. Russia, St. Petersburg – semester and summer 2012 – contact Dr. Smirnova
3. Italy, Rome – winter 2013 – contact Dr. Aliano
4. Italy, Florence – semester, summer 2012 and winter 2013 – contact Dr. Meyer
5. Canada, Quebec – summer 2012 – contact Dr. Picher
6. Spain – winter – 2013 – contact Dr. Wong
7. Brazil – winter – 2013 – contact Dr. Ramirez

Photo: Ms. Lesley Haig, Director of Academic Affairs of St. Mary’s University College Twickenham, London, at the Study Abroad Fair.

“Dostoevsky and the Moral Emotions”

On March 1, 2012, the Center for International Studies hosted a renowned Dostoevsky scholar from Columbia University, Dr. Deborah Martinsen. She presented a talk “Dostoevsky and the Moral Emotions.”

Considered one of the world’s greatest psychologists, Dostoevsky as a young man told his brother Mikhail that he wanted to study the mysteries of the human heart. His work not only explores individuals’ complex psychologies but also their social and metaphysical context. In considering a broad range of complex emotions explored by Dostoevsky, this talk focused on the dynamism of emotions and the emotional dynamism of his work. It also showed how Dostoevsky as author appeals to our moral imaginations in order to affect and train our moral emotions.

Deborah A. Martinsen is Associate Dean of Alumni Education at Columbia University. Since 2007, she has been President of the International Dostoevsky Society. The editor of Literary Journals in Imperial Russia and author of Surprised by Shame: Dostoevsky’s Liars and Narrative Exposure, she is currently co-editing a volume on Dostoevsky in Context for Cambridge University Press and writing a book on Ivan Karamazov’s devil. A Columbia Ph.D. in Russian Literature and former Associate Dean of Columbia’s famed Core Curriculum, she teaches courses in the Slavic Department as well as the Department of English and Comparative Literature. She has also taught at Princeton, New York University, Rutgers, and Fordham.

About 100 people attended the event: Faculty, students, staff and senior citizens from the neighboring Hyatt Classic Residency. The evaluation forms collected after the talk revealed that everyone really enjoyed Dr. Martinsen’s ideas, her animated answers to the questions and the passion she exhibited for a classic Russian author.

Olympic Games 2012
“Olympic Games: Global Impact”

On Thursday, February 23, 2012, Professor Jonathan Rosenberg, Department of Business and Economics, delivered a talk “Olympic Games: Global Impact.” The lecture contained a brief history of the games with an emphasis on how the Olympics impacts the world in areas of sports, business, politics and society. The audience learned that while originally intended to teach peace and love through sports, often the Olympics reflects societies’ greatest hopes and greatest fears.

From the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" to the civil rights rally cry in 1968 Mexico City to the atrocious terrorist actions in 1972 Munich, the Olympics can sometimes inspire many to come together. It also unfortunately has been used as a podium for those trying to take advantage for their own personal agendas, for example the U.S. and Russian boycotts of 1980 and 1984. The speaker also discussed the financial opportunities of a host country and how the bid process works to attain the games.

Glocalization “Glocalization: Community Beyond Borders”

On Thursday, November 17, 2011, Center for International Studies presented a talk by Dr. Scapp, Professor of Humanities and Teacher Education, “Glocalization: Community Beyond Borders.” The talk was attended by more than 100 people (students, faculty and staff).

Dr. Scapp introduced the concept of glocalization as global companies adopting their product to local tastes or local demands, as well as local companies reaching global marketplace with the help of technology. He gave examples of such strategies employed by McDonald’s and Starbucks or a local Italian candy company, as well as French wine makers. Dr. Scapp’s presentation style was very engaging. He solicited students’ opinions; he inflamed their curiosity and made them think about their goals in life. Overall, students commented that they learned a lot, that they enjoyed the lecture very much, and that they would like to have an Integrated Course on Glocalization to be offered at the College. Evaluation: Excellent.

Study Abroad Fair Ed Meyer "Let's Go Abroad Fair"

On October 27, 2011, at 4 p.m. the Center for International Studies hosted the Study Abroad Fair “Let’s Go Abroad”. The fair was set up as a conference with Dean Meyer making opening remarks to outline the benefits of studying abroad, the application process and the overview of various types of study abroad opportunities available to Mount students.

His introduction followed by short presentations from the guests: Mr. Morgan, Director, International Partnership for Service Learning (IPSL), and Dr. Mangiero, Director, Study Abroad Programs, Iona College. Our guests gave a summary of programs offered through their institutions. After that two-minute presentations of the Mount faculty-led programs followed.

The following programs were showcased: Italy (January), China (January), London (Semester and Summer), Russia (Semester and Summer), and Quebec (Summer). Concluding remarks were offered by Dr. Smirnova, Director of the Center for International Studies, who encouraged students to seek financial assistance to study abroad through various governmental and non-governmental organizations. Students were then free to roam the Smith Hall to find out specific information about the program which was of interest to them. The fair concluded at 6 p.m. Total attendance was 44 students.

Let's Go Abroad Fair 2011
College of Mount Saint Vincent Center for International Studies "Let's Go Abroad" Fair
Ambassador of Egypt Youssef Zada Oct 14 "Egypt: The Revolution and Its Implications"

On October 14, 2011, as part of the Distinguished Guest Lectures series of the Center for International Studies, Ambassador Zada, Consul General of Egypt, delivered a talk entitled “Egypt: The Revolution and Its Implications”.

The opportunity to hear the Egypt’s official speaking about the Arab Spring and subsequent developments in the region was extraordinary. First Ambassador Zada commented on the Revolution and its consequences. Then he opened the floor for discussion and many questions were raised. Ambassador’s answers were candid, detailed, and educational. He elaborated on Egypt’s political power structure and economic developments, religious history and reality, and enlightened the audience on the recent confrontations in the country.

The talk was attended by more than 150 people-students, faculty, staff and senior administrators.

Egyptian Ambassador at CMSV
(from left) VP for Institutional Advancement and College Relations Madeleine Melkonian; College of Mount Saint Vincent President Dr. Charles L. Flynn, Jr.; Ambassador Youssef Zada (Consul General of Egypt) and his wife Fatma Sabry; Executive Vice-President/Treasurer and CFO Abed Elkeshk; Director of the Center for International Studies and Associate Professor of Business and Economics Natalia Smirnova
Russia Talk September 29 "Business and Culture in Russia: An Eyewitness Account"

On September 27, 2011, as part of the Center for International Studies activities a faculty cultural seminar entitled "Business and Culture in Russia: An Eyewitness Account" was delivered by Dr. Smirnova (Business and Economics) and Dr. Nagi (Sociology). The speakers summarized the experience of visiting Russia as part of the CMSV delegation during the summer 2011.

Dr. Smirnova outlined several business related topics, such as Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and investment opportunities in Russia in general and in St. Petersburg SEZ in particular. Two business cases were discussed: Baltika Brewery and McDonald's.

Dr. Nagi outlined some cultural aspects of the trip. He discussed the history and architecture of St. Petersburg, current youth culture trends, and outlined other observations of a typical summer during White Nights season in St. Petersburg.

The event was well attended: 75 students, 12 faculty, 10 guests from the Hyatt Senior Residency, 5 staff members. Evaluation: Very Good.

Teresita Ramirez Talk "Red-Hot China: Opportunities and Challenges for the World Economy"
On Tuesday, April 26, 2011, the Center for International Studies hosted a talk by Dr. Ramirez, Chair of the Department of Business and Economics entitled “Red-Hot China: Opportunities and Challenges for the World Economy.”

Dr. Ramirez discussed China’s economic and business trends, environmental and demographic issues of the 21st century, and showed several pictures of her trip to China in 2006. The presentation captivated the audience with amazing graphics and detailed statistics. In conclusion Dr. Ramirez identified several important topics that need to be “watched” in the future decade, such as China’s GDP growth and potential movement to become number one in the world surpassing the US; Dalai Lama issues; freedom of information issues; and foreign trade issues, among others. The audience expressed the desire to “continue” the conversation about China in the future seminars.
CMSV Welcomes Distinguished Guest, Dr. Kalyan Ray
On Tuesday, April 5, 2011, the Center for International Studies hosted a talk by a Distinguished Guest, Dr. Kalyan Ray, the India Program Director of the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership, a published author and a teacher.

Dr. Ray presented an outstanding lecture highlighting the philosophical aspects of self-exploration. He captivated students with fascinating teachings from the sacred writings and questions for study and reflections for those engaged in service. His dynamic personality and profound life experiences mesmerized the audience. Students commented that they never encountered anyone of this "magnitude" in their lives; that they are enthused to service their communities; and that they would like to be engaged in more meaningful ways at the College.
Women and Young Girls Trafficking Panel at Fordham University
On March 26, 2011, 35 students and 10 faculty and Sisters of Charity attended a Women and Young Girls Trafficking Panel at Fordham University. The event highlighted the problem which exists in our own backyard – the New York City Metropolitan area. After the key note address by Rachel Lloyd, the founder of Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) and a panel exposing us to the plight of young women who are sold into labor or sex slavery here in New York, the small group discussions produced some real solutions that we can implement. The CMSV students were very active, articulate and enthusiastic about combating the problem by informing their fellow students of the issue, volunteering and educating the younger generation of teens in their communities.

Sr. Mary Ellen O’Boyle who coordinates the Sisters of Charity of New York’s efforts to stop modern day slavery / human trafficking says of the workshop “I felt privileged to be at the Fordham Trafficking event and was very moved by the passionate commitment of the three panelists and felt awed by the hour-long sharing of Rachel’s very personal story. We received a call to greater awareness and personal response for which I am grateful.

Sr. Mary Ann Daly, SC found that “The day broadened my concept of trafficking from a problem involving crossing borders to one which puts all children and women at risk. I was encouraged to see and hear the voices of high school and college age students involved in this issue. It made me confident that together we can make a difference.”

“I am so grateful” says Sr. Carol De Angelo, SC “that we, the Sisters of Charity of New York and the College of Mt. St. Vincent were able to collaborate on an initiative that educates us all on how to stop modern day slavery / human trafficking. If St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton were with us today, they would be encouraging us to work together on this critical issue. It is my hope that we will continue to explore together how to witness and advocate for change around this need and others. My thanks to all those whose interest, time and energy made this a successful collaborative effort. I especially thank Dr. Natalia Smirnova who provided initiative, coordination and a bus through the Business Club to transport students; Dr. Nagi and Dr. Opler who involved their students; Megan Gonzalez who helped spread the word through the CMSV Women’s Club and all the others who supported this endeavor.

Sr. Lily Butler’s comments may offer the best way to end this summary, “Over-all affirmation by the attendance and the commitment of so many Sisters and promising students to this heinous crime. Rachel Lloyd is truly an apostle to these shamefully violated young women and children. I left the gathering with hope that our input will keep up and even accelerate the momentum.” Perhaps, it can be said a surging up of hope was in the hearts of many who attended. For truly passion, enthusiasm and desire to be agents for change were palpably felt throughout the day.

“Resolving Legal, Ethical, and Moral Conflicts in Counterterrorism”
Dr. Joseph M. Skelly, Department of History
Dr. Skelly's lecture, "Resolving Legal, Ethical, and Moral conflicts in Counterterrorism," examined a series of vexing dilemmas that have arisen in the course of the War on Global Terrorism since its beginning right after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The primary conflicts that were examined in this seminar include drone strikes from UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) against terrorist targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere; and the debate over civilian trials versus military tribunals for suspected terrorists such as Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.

Dr. Skelly laid out both sides in these debates; encouraged audience discussion and debate; and then called on the students, professors and guests attending the lecture to share their assessments of these dilemmas. It was an interactive and engaging seminar on a topic of relevance and immediacy.

Study Abroad Fair
On Tuesday, February 8, 2011, as part of the Center for International Studies Title VI activities, we had a Study Abroad Fair. First, Dr. Meyer, Dean of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies, gave a talk about “10 Reasons For Study Abroad”, then we had 5 programs showcased by faculty or students that took part in the previous years: Russia, China, Italy, Quebec, and London.

After the formal presentations and Q&A, participants had an opportunity to “browse” various programs represented at the fair. The event was well attended. In addition to faculty promoting their respective programs we had 27 students, 6 faculty, and 3 staff members, and one Sister of Charity stopping by. The evaluations showed that everybody was happy with organization of the fair. Students found information valuable.

Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World" Dr. Robyn M. Rodriguez, Rutgers University

Attendance: 75 + people. Students, faculty, community people (from Hyatt Senior Residence 2 people + at least 1 from the neighborhood).

On November 30, 2010, Center for International Studies sponsored a Distinguished Guest Lecture “Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World” by Dr. Robyn Rodriguez from Rutgers University. Dr. Rodriguez is an author and a professor of Sociology. Her areas of expertise include migration, development and ethnic studies.

In her new book “Migrants for Export” that was published this year, Dr. Rodriguez explores the role of the Philippine state in the global labor market, and institutional framework of migration process around the globe. The lecture covered her field research in the Philippines during 2000-2009. She presented interesting findings that stimulated a lively discussion among participants. Q&A part lasted for more than 30 minutes and touched upon many aspects of migration, immigration, role of the state and the development of the global labor market.

Overall, average rating of the event: Excellent.

Faculty Cultural Seminar: “Russian Far East: Women and Work”
On November 9, 2010, Center for International Studies sponsored a faculty cultural seminar “Russian Far East: Women and Work” presented by Dr. Natalia Smirnova, Department of Business and Economics.

The seminar was well–attended by more than 125 people. Majority was CMSV students, faculty, with community guests from the Hyatt Classic Residence and several people from the Riverdale neighborhood.

Content of the talk generated a lively discussion about the status of women in Russia as compared to that in the US. Dr. Smirnova presented an original field research on the Russian Far East economic development and labor market imperfections. Questions from the audience were insightful and thought-provocative. Students commented on a high value of new information about Russia and about women’s status in Russia for them.

Overall, the average rating of the seminar by the audience was “Excellent”.

Photo: Dr. Natalia Smirnova presents her seminar "Russian Far East: Women and Work."
International Studies Symposium: “Let’s Go International”
On October 19, Center for International Studies organized an International Studies Symposium “Let’s Go International”.

The Key Note Speaker Mr. Tom Armbruster, a Senior Foreign Officer of the US Department of State, outlined opportunities for internships and careers in the Foreign Service, and answered questions about the foreign service exam, life as a diplomat and challenges and rewards of foreign service career.

Students from our Study Abroad programs delivered presentations showcasing their experiences abroad complemented with pictures, stories and anecdotes.

Participants browsed the information stations to find out more about upcoming study abroad programs. Participants also received a portfolio with Department of State brochures, list of courses with international focus, International Studies Minor and foreign language offerings for the Spring 2011.

Photo: Mr. Tom Armbruster, Senior Foreign Officer of the United States Department of State
with College of Mount Saint Vincent students.

Photo: Participants learn about upcoming study abroad programs.
Faculty Cultural Seminar: “India and Political Violence”
By Dr. Omar Nagi, Department of Sociology
On September 28, Center for International Studies sponsored a faculty cultural seminar “India and Political Violence” presented by Dr. Omar Nagi, Department of Sociology. The seminar was well–attended by more than 125 people, including College of Mount Saint Vincent students, faculty, community guests from the Hyatt Classic Residence, and several people from the Riverdale neighborhood.

Dr. Nagi described the fascinating history of the political division of India, showing maps of partitions, as well as religion and poverty distributions. Prominent figures in India’s political movement were identified, pictures of them were shown, and their life stories were shared.

This event was made possible by the Title VI grant from the US Department of Education.