Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is International Education an Agent of Democratization?

One of the first papers I wrote in my doctoral program in Comparative and Interntional Education was entitled International Education as an Agent of Democratization. I did well on the paper and in the class. It wasn't ground breaking research nor was it spectacular writing but it laid the foundation for my current reseach interests on this topic as well as on soft power, public/citizen/cultural diplomacy which I have blogged about from time to time on IHEC Blog.

For this post I thought I would put forth a short (and purposefully vague) question with the hope that IHEC Blog readers will leave a comment in response

Question: Is international education an agent of democratization?
Update: I've heard from a few people that it would be helpful if I provide a definintion/more information and I'm happy to do that. This IHEC Blog post is guided by Aaron Benavot’s (1999) question “What are the specific mechanisms and processes linking higher education and increasing levels of democracy in the recent period?” Benavot suggests that one research approach should focus on “students studying abroad, particularly those in North American or Western European universities, where foreign students often receive firsthand exposure to democratic institutions and practices.”Reference:
Benavot, A. (1999). Education and political democratization: Cross-national and longitudinal findings. In N.F. McGinn, & E.H. Epstein (Eds.), Comparative Perspectives on the Role of Education in Democratization (pp. 45-79). Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Peter Lang GmbH.

I'd love to hear what you think so please leave a comment. Thanks ~ David

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IHEC Blog will Participate in Blog Action Day 2009 Focusing on Climate Change

October 15th will be Blog Action Day 2009 and IHEC Blog has registered and will participate. The theme of Blog Action Day 2009 is Climate Change and my plan is to highlight the various efforts and resources in the field of international education that focus on climate change. Examples of what might be included in my Blog Action Day post are:

- Social networks/listservs for international educators that focus on sustainability and greening the field

- study abroad/exchange programs with significant course content focused on the environment

- Standards of Good Practice

- Study Abroad Programs/Providers mission statements and/or efforts in this area

In order to produce a good resource I need your assistance! Please take a moment to leave a comment below with information (preferably links) on what your study abroad program, institution, or organization is doing in this area and I will gladly list and provide a link. Additionally, if you know of any resources I should list please leave a brief description with any links in the comment section. An example of what I'm looking for can be found in the great work of GlobaLinks Learning Abroad in their efforts to go Green which you can read about here.

Thank you in advance and I look forward to reading your suggestions in the comments section!

Additionally, you can follow Blog Action Day on Twitter here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2009 Student Diplomat Video Contest

With the 2009 Student Diplomat Video Contest, students across the country have a chance to become the next Student Diplomat – and win $300 – just by sharing a story about their experiences abroad.

The contest, announced today by NAFSA: Association of International Educators and Abroad View, the global education magazine for students, is open to U.S. undergraduate students who are currently studying abroad or have recently returned from a study abroad experience. Videos should focus on how their experience has helped to advance global understanding. Participants are encouraged to consider how their study abroad experience has shaped them as a global citizen, served as a bridge to cross-cultural understanding, promoted peace, or positively impacted the local community in which they studied. Videos should be no longer than three minutes.

The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EDT, November 6, 2009. After the finalists are chosen by an expert panel of judges, the winning video will be selected through open voting on the NAFSA Web site. The winner will receive a $300 cash prize and the title of “2009 Student Diplomat.”

For complete contest guidelines and to learn how to submit a video, visit

Here is a video from Northwestern University junior Asha Toulmin inviting students to share their study abroad experience.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Influence of German Higher Education on U.S. Higher Education During the 1800’s

While I was reading chapter 10 “Science and Education: Towards a New Pedagogy” in A History of Western Education: Volume III: The Modern West (1981) by J. Bowen I came across an interesting part about Henry Tappan (1st President of the University of Michigan) and his visit to Prussia. Tappan’s argued that German universities served as the model for universities in the United States because they “were ‘purely universities’, complete with libraries…” (p. 355). I knew that Germany was top destination for students and scholars from the United States during 1800’s (and remains a top destination today) but I was unaware of some of the reasons why this occurred. This chapter has helped me to better understand the interest of U.S. scholars towards studying in Germany and in Europe in general during this time period. Bowen mentions a book that now is a must read for me and that is German Universities: A Narrative of Personal Experiences by James Hart from 1874. The idea by the trustees of making Johns Hopkins a wholly graduate institution based on the German model and, in the end, would make studies abroad unnecessary is fascinating to me. I would be interested in knowing how many others or which other institutions had a similar philosophy about modeling after the German system thus eliminating the need to study abroad. How about The University of Chicago where I work?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Writing and Publishing in the Field of International Education

I've always wondered where the best place is for international education practitioners/researchers to submit their work for publication. One publication avenue is in journals/publications such as Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, Journal of Studies in International Education, or International Educator where we educate/inform our field (critical need for this). Another publication route is to submit work for publication in journals/publications focusing more generally on higher education, public diplomacy, policy, or on many other topics where we educate/inform those outside of our field in order to gain more support and understanding of our field (also critical need for this)? A third possibility is to take both paths and to write and submit different manuscripts for the different audiences you are trying to reach. What are your thoughts on this?

Monday, September 21, 2009

GlobaLinks NewsWire

As many colleagues and IHEC Blog readers may know, I’m all over the internet looking for news about new projects and developments in the field, interesting links and research related to U.S. students studying abroad and, more broadly, international education. The new media tools of today have made it easier than ever for me to follow the trends of this field (and any field or topic for that matter) and I spend less time searching and more time reading and sifting through all of the information I have fed to my Gmail inbox and Google Reader. Additionally, IHEC Blog now attracts enough attention that I frequently receive news pieces from colleagues/organizations that I can further learn and blog about.

One site that I’ve really come to appreciate is GlobaLinks NewsWire. GlobaLinks NewsWire, edited by
Stacey Hartmann, reports on interesting study abroad topics as well as interesting news pieces from participants and partners of GlobaLinks Learning Abroad programs AustraLearn, AsiaLearn and EuroLearn. While I really like the content that GlobaLinks NewsWire publishes I’m most impressed with how GlobaLinks Learning Abroad has taken advantage of the new media tools available and have used them to their advantage and in my opinion they are leading the field of education abroad in this area. To be sure, there are other third-party study abroad providers who are doing some really great things but GlobaLinks Newswire has captured and retained my attention. You can link to GlobaLinks NewsWire here and be sure to subscribe via e-mail or RSS feeds here. Additionally, IHEC Blog readers will want to follow GlobaLinks NewsWire on Twitter at @GlobaLinksNews.

I would also like to note that GlobaLinks Learning Abroad is a leader in greening the field of education abroad. You can read more about their efforts in this area

Friday, September 18, 2009

Links of Interest for Week of September 14th to 18th

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program season is on full swing at my day job which leaves little time for anything else so I’m compiling another list of interesting links for this past week that I’ve found on or have posted to Twitter. Response to my “Links of Interest” post from last week has been quite positive so I think this might become a weekly Friday feature on IHEC Blog as a way to recap items of interest. Please leave a comment letting me know your thoughts about this new “feature”!

Phi Beta Delta, Honor Society for International Scholars July 2009 Medallion published. Discovered a photo of me

Academic Solutions and NAFSA blogs listed on"100 Best Higher Education Blogs" (and IHEC Blog!)

A Small World After All: Education Researchers Form Global Group

Updated new records now in the IDP Database of Research on International Education

Just who was Senator J. William Fulbright? History on him and the program

Sign-up to receive the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy newsletter

New web site for students who want degrees overseas:

Engaging the World: US Global Competence in the 21st Century

Still a No-go for Lifting Academic Travel Restrictions to Cuba

Forum on Education Abroad Survey on Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on Education Abroad Results released

International students build bridges that help U.S. diplomatic interests

UK's Brown calls on NYU President John Sexton to help promote US-UK collaboration in higher education

Study Brisbane ~ Another city understanding the value of international education!

Lehigh University has had an international education connection with China dating back to 1879!

U.S. scholarships get Cuban college students expelled

What Defines an International Student? A Look Behind the Numbers

Thursday, September 17, 2009

U2 Live in Chicago on September 12, 2009

On September 12, 2009 I saw my 10th U2 concert and it was a good one (it was my wife's 8th show!). I thought I would go off topic today on IHEC Blog and create this online "bootleg" of the show with links to video on YouTube. Please note that these are not professional videos and were shot by people in the audience and each video provides a unique perspective of the concert including variations in the audio. Here are some interesting videos of U2 in Chicago as well as the setlist (click on each title or song to link to the video):

MLK (view minutes 0:00 to 1:54)
Walk On/You'll Never Walk Alone (snippet) (view minutes 1:54 to 8:26)


Time permitting I will create a similar "bootleg" for the U2 concert I saw the following day on September 13, 2009.

*Many thanks to The U2 Setlist Archive at <> for the excellent resource and the one I turn to every tour. Keep it up!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NAFSA Chicago Roundtable Meetings for 2009-2010

The NAFSA Chicago Roundtable is a monthly meeting held during the academic year for international educators in the Chicagoland area (particularly for those who work with international students and scholars) and it has been happening ever since I entered the field when I started as an Assistant Director in the Office of International Affairs at The University of Chicago. Here are the details for this 2009-2010 academic year:

Meetings will be held at DePaul University downtown campus (1 E. Jackson,) on the first Friday of the month except October and April from 2:30pm to 4:00pm.

Friday, October 9
Foreign Fullbright: Megan Spillman
DePaul Center 8002

Friday, November 6
Admissions 101: Nancy Katz & Ken Warren
Lewis Center 1411

Friday, December 4
Recruitment: Panel Format
DePaul Center 8002

Friday, February 5
Immigration Update: Bob White
DePaul Center 8002

Friday, March 5
Taxes: Sergio Guzman & Hector Santos
DePaul Center 8002

Friday, April 9
DePaul Center 8010

Friday, May 7
Students with disabilities: Maria Mangold
DePaul Center 8002

Friday, June 4
Planning Meeting
DePaul Center 8002

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Point of Clarification on Public Diplomacy Talk at IHEC Blog

A colleague recently (and thankfully) commented on a previous IHEC Blog post where I was writing about public diplomacy. I realized from the comments that I should be more clear when I’m writing about public diplomacy. When I’m writing about public diplomacy on IHEC Blog I’m almost always focusing on the sliver of public diplomacy that involves international educational exchange programs. To be sure, public diplomacy involves much more than international exchange programs and I will work to be more clear in future posts to indicate/remind that my focus is on international exchange programs.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Intercultural Eyes ~ An International Education & Assessment Consultant You Should Know About

I wanted to take a moment to promote the work of my colleague Bettina Hansel who, after almost 30 years working for AFS Intercultural Programs and the past seven years as Director of Intercultural Education and Research, has started her own consulting business. I’ve known Bettina for about 3-4 years now (although I’ve known her name for many more than that as I was/am a fan of her scholarship and work) as our paths have crossed at several research related meetings and sessions at the annual NAFSA conference. If you are looking for guidance and professional support for your research, writing, and intercultural program development efforts I highly recommend that you take a look at what Bettina can offer you and your institution, program or organization. You can visit Bettina’s website here.

Bettina writes and publishes Intercultural Eyes, one of my favorite blogs, which chronicles her “ongoing journey as a geographer and as an intercultural explorer.” IHEC Blog readers might want to bookmark Intercultural Eyes or grab the RSS Feed here.

Additionally, Bettina is the author of
The Exchange Student Survival Kit which you can order at a very reasonable price here.

P.S. This was my 400th IHEC Blog post which is a big milestone for me as IHEC Blog is a very, very part-time project and I can’t think of a better post than promoting the work of someone I’ve come to respect and admire over the years!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Links of Interest for the Week of Sept. 7th to 11th

It’s been a very, very busy week for me (as I knew it would be) and I’m happy that I had prepared messages prior to my vacation which were scheduled to post to IHEC Blog this week. For today’s post I thought I would search through my recent Twitter posts for items relevant to IHEC Blog and provide a brief list (click on the item/topic to learn more):

Overseas Study at Indiana University Bloomington: Plans, Participation, and Outcomes (May 2009)

Where in the World is iDrop?

Next Monday will be the 400th post on IHEC Blog. I currently have 394 followers on Twitter. What are odds of 400th Twitter follower hitting the same day as my 400th post IHEC Blog post?

American Council on Education to Recognize Innovative Uses of Technology to Promote Internationalization.
Rick Steves' in Iran is now on Hulu

Tool for Institutions & Organizations to Assess Diversity of Participants in Study Abroad

International Students with Disabilities Accessing Community Resources

National Council for International Visitors Archive Library

Institute of International Education CEO Allan Goodman makes the case for international education

Why is consular notification and access so important?

Call for Proposals~Going Global 4, The UK’s international education conference

STEM field participation in the Fulbright Scholar Program by numbers

Many thanks Online Degrees Hub for listing IHEC Blog in your list of 100 Best Higher Education Blogs!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Update on Call for Proposals for Innovative Intercultural Training Activities

Just a quick update to IHEC Blog readers that the Call for Proposals for Innovative Intercultural Training Activities put out by that I blogged about back in July has now extended the proposal deadline to December 1, 2009. Consider contributing to this great project!

Then Secretary of State Colin Powell on the Importance of International Education

Continuing my recent IHEC Blog trend of posting quotes on the importance of international education and exchange...

Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke on the importance of international exchange and scholarship at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Reception for Humphrey Fellows and Foreign Diplomats in Washington, D.C. on November 15, 2004 and stated:

"This wonderful experience will put you in touch with America’s next generation of leaders. Together you will build the partnerships and lay the foundations for future collaboration and exchange. You will work together to apply the best knowledge we have to the biggest challenge we face as one international community: Promoting democratic principles, creating free and vibrant economies, curing HIV/AIDS. These are not simply American goals that we are trying to accomplish. They are universal goals, universal human aspirations…one of you may help your country chart its long awaited course to freedom and democracy."


Powell, C.L. (2004, November 15). Speech by U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Reception for Humphrey Fellows and foreign diplomats in the Benjamin Franklin diplomatic Room, Washington, D.C. URL retrieved November 17, 2004 from the World Wide Web:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Social Learning Sites and Online Communities for Language Learners

The following IHEC Blog guest post is by Karen Schweitzer who previously wrote “Making the Most of Your Study Abroad Experience” on IHEC Blog back in May. I think her current post fits very nice with the focus of IHEC Blog:

Social learning sites and online communities are great places for language learners to learn a new language while connecting with others around the globe. Many of these social sites feature user-generated lessons, language partners, and other learning tools. Here is a list of some of the best social learning sites and online communities for language learners:

Livemocha - With over two million members speaking over 25 different languages, Livemocha provides an excellent community for self-paced language learners. Within this site, users will find over 160 hours of self-paced lessons for each language, native speaking language partners, and tools to build conversational skills.

iTalki - This all inclusive social language learning site features resources for learning over 90 different languages. iTalki allows file sharing, knowledge-based wikis, Q & A, and multimedia chat.

Babbel - Babbel is a fun, interactive way to learn Spanish, German, English, Italian, and French. This site allows users to learn by themselves or practice with one of the 400,000 other members worldwide through online chat and courses. The courses help users to learn effectively by incorporating interactive elements, video, sound, and pictures.

Busuu - This web-based language learning community offers the opportunity to learn from native speakers and online material. The image and sound based courses cover over 150 learning units of diverse topics and grammar.

MyHappyPlanet - MyHappyPlanet is an online language community for learning a wide range of languages. The site uses social learning to connect people around the world with one common goal. On this site, users will learn through live chat, language videos, messaging, and user-generated lessons.

Palabea - Palabea is an online social language learning site that features tools for talking to native speakers, improving writing, and learning new languages. Simply sign up for a free account to start learning your choice of over 100 new languages.

Ling - This social community makes learning a new language fun and easy for beginners and advanced learners alike. Signing up for a free account gives you access to unlimited lessons, 300 LingQs, live conversations, writing help, and the ability to make friends worldwide. - The community gives language learners a way to learn and practice language with over one million members speaking over 100 different languages.

SharedTalk - SharedTalk gives language learners access to a global community of people dedicated to learning and exchanging languages. Throughout this site, learners will find the opportunity to connect with a language partner, practice skills with voice chat, and improve writing skills with text chat.

PhraseBase - The PhraseBase social language network has over 119,000 members that provide and benefit from language learning. Through this network, users can memorize phrase translations and practice phrases with native speakers. This site also features video lessons and flashcards for English learners. - This award winning online community operates on the principle of connecting people around the world with one goal: language learning. With this concept, Huitalk offers you the opportunity to learn and practice through chat, forums, activities, vocab lists, and articles.

xLingo - xLingo is an online language exchange community for discovering, connecting, and sharing languages from around the world. This exchange community is a great place for practicing your skills, making new friends, and sharing your language with others through blogs, flashcards, chatrooms, and forums.

LearnHub - LearnHub provides an online language community for learning and teaching languages. Within this language community, learners will find video and audio lessons, tests, discussions, and a large community of learners to connect with.

AddLang - AddLang offers a place for intermediate language learners to practice the skills they already know through various instant messengers. Members of this online community can practice or learn languages, discuss translations, work on grammar, and improve vocabulary.

Unilang - Unilang is an online language community that connects language lovers around the globe through online foreign language resources, forums, and live chats. The member-generated resources consist of courses, videos, podcasts, grammar tips, dictionaries, vocabulary lists, pronunciation guides, and exercises.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about
top online colleges for

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Clinton Administration Cabinet Members Views on International Education

Frequent IHEC Blog readers know of my interest in the history of international exchanges and recently I posted quotes about international exchanges and the Fulbright Program from the past twelve Presidents of the United States. Following are two quotes by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of Education Richard Riley from the year 2000 that I have pulled from my research notes.

During a 2000 U.S. State Department dinner honoring international education where Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke to the importance of international education and stated:

“Today, Fulbright alumni are building a democratic Bosnia, bridging the digital
divide in West Africa, keeping Americans informed about developments in southern
Europe, and fighting HIV/AIDS in Guatemala. Our Humphrey alumni are doing
equally impressive things from managing immigration in Macedonia to advocating
the rights of Filipino migrant workers, to serving on the Supreme Court of

Earlier in the same year, during a speech given at the La Maison Fran├žaise in Washington, D.C., Secretary of Education Richard Riley, who is a staunch supporter of international educational exchange, discussed his Department’s efforts in promoting democracy through education and emphasized:

“I strongly believe that the growth of democracy, economic prosperity and
economic stability throughout the world is linked to the advance of
education. This is one of the strongest reasons why the United States
should have an active and strong international education agenda. Education
and democracy go hand in hand…All throughout the world there are thousands of
leaders in other nations-political, economic and social leaders-who got a taste
of democracy in all of its complexity when they came to study here in the United

Secretary Riley delivered these remarks on the same day that President Clinton signed his executive memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies implementing a national international education policy. President Clinton’s memorandum implementing an international education policy for the United States was the first of its kind. Never before in the history of the United States had international education been highlighted and celebrated in such a manner. President Clinton proclaimed that “we are fortunate to count among our staunchest friends abroad those who have experienced our country and our values through in-depth exposure as students and scholars” (2000). This same message has been repeated in some manner by the President and Secretaries of Education and State each November since the inaugural International Education Week held November 13-17, 2000.

To see more statements on the value and importance of international education and exchange from internationally recognized dignitaries, heads of nations, statesmen and women and businessmen and women please visit the Study Abroad Now More Than Ever website hosted by The Center for Global Education at Loyola Marymount University here.


Albright, M.K. (2000, November 30). U.S. global education programs “incredible investments.” Remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright a dinner honoring international education, Washington, D.C. URL retrieved November 4, 2004 from the World Wide Web:

Clinton, W.J. (2000, April 19). International education policy. Memorandum from U.S. President William J. Clinton for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House.

Riley, R.W. (2000, April 19). The growing importance of international education. Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley at the La Maison Fran├žaise, Washington, D.C. URL retrieved August 7, 2001 from the World Wide Web: