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Thursday, October 14, 2010

MAGELLAN EXCHANGE: UNCP hosts international conference

UNC Pembroke hosted the Magellan Exchange’s Annual Coordinators Conference on October 3-5.

Cultural Exchange - Miss Lumbee Brandi Scott with Magellan Director Tori Patterson and CENET Director Robin Walker

Cultural Exchange - Miss Lumbee Brandi Scott with Magellan Director Tori Patterson and CENET Director Robin Walker

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Founded in 1997, Magellan is comprised of 27 universities in the Americas, Europe and Asia whose mission is to promote international study abroad experiences for students and visiting professorships for faculty.

The conference participants toured campus and the surrounding community to learn more about UNCP, which joined the exchange three years ago. Although originally focused on business student exchanges, Magellan has spread its wings into many areas of study.

The Magellan Exchange is also spreading across the globe. Two of its new members – from South Korea and Costa Rica – gave presentations.

“The conference was a fabulous success,” said Steven Ahn of Anyang University in South Korea. “For smaller schools like ours that are trying to encourage international study, I have 27 partners in Magellan.

“The interaction was lively, and I enjoyed learning about the local American Indian community,” said Ahn, who grew up in Gettysburg, Pa. “It was quite interesting and surprising, especially for our European members.”

Anyang University offers an array of scholarships for housing, travel and tuition to attract international students.

“The advantages of having international students on your campus is great,” Ahn said. “As a carrot, we are going to give your students dollars.”

Illeana Castillo, from the Latin American University of Science and Technology, offered opportunities to do scientific research in Costa Rican rain forests. Blaise Pascal University in France touted its international business programs, which enroll approximately 1,000 international students annually.

“It’s a program that has been very successful, and we hope to offer a full degree soon,” said Geoffrey Heels. “Study abroad is a valuable cultural experience.

“Twenty-five years ago, I was an exchange student and, as we say, things happen,” Heels said.

For UNCP, the meeting was a chance to network and to show its hospitality and its campus, said Dr. Chris Ziemnowicz, of the School of Business and UNCP’s representative with Magellan.

“We’re very fortunate to host this meeting as a relatively new member,” Dr. Ziemnowicz said.

Networking - Steven Ahn of Anyang University in South Korea chats with Peter Gordon of Southeast Missouri State University

Networking - Steven Ahn of Anyang University in South Korea chats with Peter Gordon of Southeast Missouri State University

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“This is a very distinguished meeting of deans, department heads and international office directors who will provide a degree of internationalization for our students,” he continued. “It’s great to have them here to show them what we have to offer.”

Dr. Rick Crandall, a UNCP business professor, said the School of Business is aggressively promoting study abroad.

“This is a big event in terms of building relationships between U.S. and European universities,” Dr. Crandall said. “There are also schools from Mexico, Costa Rica and South Korea here.
 
“For the School of Business, what makes Magellan unique is its history of serving students majoring in business administration,” he continued. “Likewise, students from those countries have the opportunity to study at any one of a network of universities in the U.S.”

During the conference, Dr. Crandall co-instructed a seminar in crisis management in international education with Caroline Michel of Rennes School of Business in France and Anneris Fuentes of the University of Monterrey in Mexico.

George Harrison, a Mass Communication professor at UNCP, said he is looking for programs to match up with majors in journalism, broadcasting and public relations.

“I am investigating what is available,” Harrison said. “I just returned from the Netherlands, where I served as a guest lecturer for two weeks at a Magellan school.”

At lunch, the group was entertained by Miss Lumbee Brandi Scott and John Oxendine, cultural education director for the Lumbee Tribe. He danced, played the flute and discussed Lumbee culture and history.

On a bus tour of the county, Sam West, a local historian and genealogist, gave a guided tour. Barbara Lyons of Morehead State University said the hospitality was warm.

“We felt very welcome,” Lyons said. “There was a big sign welcoming us, and people waved at us wherever we traveled.”

According to Erika Jones, the Executive in Residence with the School of Business who coordinated the bus trip, they travelled to COMtech, Lumbee Tribal headquarters, Historic Downtown Lumberton and ended with Lumberton Mayor Raymond Pennington welcoming the group for dinner at the Village Station.

The Pembroke representatives received a warm round of applause during the closing session. Next year, it is on to Rennes, France.

For more information about the Magellan Exchange, please go to their website at http://www.magellanonline.org/.

Information about international opportunities for UNCP students through Magellan is available from Robyn Deemer, study abroad director at the Office of International Programs at 910.775.4095 or email robyn.deemer@uncp.edu.

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