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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

Wang Center planning team ready for fall startup

Drs. Peter and Grace Wang
Drs. Peter '60 and Grace Wang at the spring town meeting.

By Drew Brown

The Wang Center for International
Programs—a truly distinctive international
education program—will be in place at PLU this fall.

At a spring town meeting attended by donors Drs. Peter '60 and Grace Wang, the Wang Center Planning Team laid the groundwork for startup of the center. The Wangs donated $4 million to establish the program to promote global understanding and peace.

The team recommended creating an administrative structure for the Wang Center. "It will serve as an all-campus hub for international activities and information exchange at PLU," said planning team member Tamara Williams. The Wang Center will be both an academic support unit and a coordinating body for international activities.

Also at the meeting, Ann Kelleher, another planning team member, presented a history of PLU's role in international education. She said PLU has done an amazing amount without an organizing structure, and can do even more with the Wang Center.

"There is a synergy that will come from a center that has centralized administration without centralized decision making," Kelleher said. "We are convinced that if we keep doing what we've done in the past, it will be done the right way."

The university will select an interim director by early summer to lead the search for an executive director, raise funds, organize the Spring 2003 Symposium and coordinate the university's international activities. By June 2003, an executive director will assume leadership of the Wang Center.

The planning team also recommended the working title for the April 2003 symposium of "China in the 21st Century: Prospects for Peace." It will have both an academic and cultural slant, featuring both national and international speakers who give a global perspective to Chinese issues.

The team also implemented a three-part grant program, which began last month, to further internationalize curriculum, encourage new initiatives and foster student involvement. The first recipients were announced last month.

At least four awards of up to $2,500 will be made to faculty for individual or collaborative projects that enhance international education at PLU, and at least two awards of up to $5,000 will be made to faculty for individual or collaborative projects in the area of Peace Studies. Ten PLU students will receive awards of up to $1,000 for academic activities with an international focus.

A Web site (www.plu.edu/~wangctr) will help continue conversations about how the Wang Center should develop. The site includes comments, questions and suggestions from the campus community.

"The direction Wang Center planning takes involves everyone at PLU, faculty, students and staff," said planning team co-chair Carlton Benson, assistant professor of history. "We hope that our recommendations will give the center direction and bring the campus community into the next stage of the conversation."

Associate Provost Bill Teska also co-chairs the committee. Other members are Gina Hames, history and global studies; Kelleher, political science and International Core; Richard Louie, physics, global studies; Gunnulf Myrbo, Scandinavian Studies, Judith Ramaglia, School of Business, IEC; and Williams, Languages and Literature and The Americas.

Faculty working to bring Peace Studies to PLU Wang Center awards grants

Looking back at her career both as a history professor and student, Beth Kraig remembers time periods that history teachers often glossed over – the time between wars.

"In history classes, this has been considered a void," Kraig said. "What we were missing from this period was something that we may call 'peace.' We want to find out what happened during peace times."

More than a dozen PLU faculty (led by psychology professor Chris Hansvick and Kraig) have proposed the creation of a Peace Studies program at PLU. These faculty members make up the Peace Studies Working Group.

In the works since spring 2001, the group takes seriously PLU's mission to educate for lives of service, thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care. Inspired by that, the group has its own mission: "to cultivate graduates who are aware, responsible, and actively engaged in the affairs of the world."

The Peace Studies group hopes to create an interdisciplinary program committed to understanding the origins of conflicts that create violence and intolerance and dedicated to the strategies and visions of movements seeking sustainable justice and peace.

The first big step in this program is a seminar in Peace Studies that will be offered next fall as a four-credit independent studies seminar, where students will be working under the framework of "Peace and Conflict In the Last Century."

"We all see ourselves as students of peace in this process," Hansvick said. "This program is of the most energizing things I've done at PLU.

The first student grants for international study were announced last month. The winners, including student, major (if applicable), project, and grant amount:

Heidi Kyle, history, for interviews and archival research at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., $1,000.

Amanda Kaler, English, for research on the Basel Convention and sustainable fishing practices in the Philippines, $750.

Kimberly Croft, Chinese studies, for research on Chinese bureaucratic regulation of fisheries, fleets, and aquaculture, $750.

Jeannie Sur, global studies, to use her Korean language skills to assemble training materials for environmental groups and workshops at Seoul University, $750.

Rosa McLeod and Jennifer Redding, both leaders of the student group Students for Justice Coalition, to attend a conference, “The Power of Nonviolence,” in New York City, $1,250.They will also share their experiences with PLU students in Peace Studies seminars.

Jennifer Harsch, psychology, to complete research in Tanzania for a cross-cultural study of concepts of religion
and spirituality, $500.

Bryson Adams, Spanish, to study Spanish language and culture in Cuzco, Peru, $1,000.

James Kozak, Chinese studies, to produce a video exploring urban identities in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, $1,000.

Juliann Miller, communications, to assist Professor Joanne Lisosky in the production of a video about UNESCO’s Community Multimedia Centres in Africa, $650.

Nova Schauss and Alexa Folsom-Hill, to organize an art exhibit that emphasizes international reproductive health and safety, $350.

Thu Huynh Nguyen, political science, to travel to Vietnam to study the impact of state policy on contemporary Vietnamese music and dance, $1,000.

Kimberly Andre, Scandinavian Studies, to travel to Norway to research and write a history of the Namibia Association of Norway (NAMAS), $1,000.

Leah Sprain, to research fair trade coffee cooperatives in Central America, $1,000.

 


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