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OSU Students travel to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stillwater, OK – April 12, 2006 – Representatives of the OSU School of International Studies (SIS) had a unique spring break experience.  Graduate students Jennifer Springer and Samantha Wolthuis, along with Donna Birchler, of the SIS Graduate Program and Kay Keys, Director of the English Language Institute, represented Oklahoma State University at the Women as Global Leaders Conference organized by Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), March 12-14th, 2006.  More than 1,200 students representing over 87 countries attended the conference. 

The conference opened with a speech of welcome by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research and President of Zayed University.  His Excellency noted that, “Women continue to make incredible advances around the globe, and we realize that their full and unhindered contributions are essential to the success and prosperity of local and global communities,” and that he “fervently hopes that the friendships you make and the knowledge you acquire [here] will enable you to function as productive leaders in our global society.”

The Women as Global Leaders Conference seeks to educate the next generation of women leaders.  This year’s conference built upon the success of last year’s conference which was the first international student leadership conference ever to be held in the Middle East.  The theme of the conference this year was “Communities in Transition” which focused on the ability of women to affect change on a local and global scale as leaders in their communities.  Those in attendance had the opportunity to listen to speakers, establish partnerships and networking contacts, and meet with prominent women leaders from around the world.  The extensive list of speakers included Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, of Jordan; The Honorable Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights; and Ms. Linda Ellerbee, award-winning journalist and television producer. 

"The Women as Global Leaders conference was a life-changing experience for me. As a woman and a student interested in creating a positive impact in Third World development, presentations by women such as Queen Rania Al-Abdullah and Mary Robinson, along with my peers, both humbled and challenged me to work harder and reach for greater goals," SIS graduate student Jennifer Springer explained.

 “It was uplifting to see young women from so many different countries emerging as leaders.  The exchange among cultures was fascinating and will be invaluable to the participants.  My hat is off to Zayed University for having had the forethought to organize such an inspiring event,” added Kay Keys.

The mission of the School of International Studies is to provide a university-wide focus to expand international opportunities in instruction, research, and outreach for individuals and organizations seeking a greater understanding and involvement in international affairs.  The School is part of the International Education and Outreach unit, which helps carry out the University’s mission of providing educational programs and services beyond traditional campus boundaries. 

The School of International Studies coordinates academic programs and opportunities with colleges and departments system wide.  School components include the International Bureaus, English Language Institute, Study Abroad, a Peace Corps Recruiting Office, Fulbright Information Center, Mexico Liaison Office, Phi Beta Delta, and a Graduate Program offering an M.S. and Certificate in International Studies and the Master’s International Peace Corps degree.  More than 147 OSU faculty members participate in School activities.


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