From Oct. 31 to Nov. 3, Kansas State University’s Office of International Programs hosted a specialized orientation seminar on U.S. culture and society for 164 Pakistani graduate students, participants in the U.S. Department of State-sponsored Fulbright Program. Also present were representatives from the U.S. Department of State, the Government of Pakistan, the U.S. Educational (Fulbright) Foundation in Pakistan, and the Institute of International Education. The State Department selected the Office of International Programs to host the orientation seminar on the topic of social movements in the United States following an open, competitive process.
In addition to presentations on the theme of U.S. social movements, the seminar included arts performances and workshops on leadership and achieving academic success. Over the course of the seminar, the Pakistani master’s and doctoral students, who are studying at universities across the United States, networked with each other, including those from their field and those who are studying in the same U.S. region.
Kansas State University President Richard Myers welcomed the students and other guests at the opening dinner Oct. 31 at the Wareham in downtown Manhattan. Myers introduced Asad Majeed Khan, ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the United States.
The ambassador’s remarks were followed by a discussion of the bilateral relationship, led by Ervin Massinga, deputy assistant secretary for Pakistan Affairs, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Presenters from K-State:
• Wayne Goins, university distinguished professor of music, who delivered the keynote address for the performing arts session, “The Soul of African American Experience in Jazz.”
• Mike Wesch, professor and university distinguished teaching scholar in the sociology, anthropology and social work department, who gave the social sciences keynote, “New Media and the New America: Movements, Media, and the Algorithms Driving the New Moral Divide.”
• Juanita McGowan, assistant dean emerita for diversity, and director and associate professor of American Ethnic Studies, “Desegregating America’s Schools: Race relations in the United States with particular reference to Brown vs. Board of Education.”
• Taylor Jennings, doctoral candidate and instructor in the English language program, “The Creek Native American Experience and Prospects.”
• Mary Kay Siefers, senior associate director and assistant professor, and Chance Lee, assistant professor, both in the Staley School of Leadership Studies, led a session on intercultural leadership.
• Brett DePaola, professor and head of the physics department, and Don Saucier, professor of psychological sciences, led a session on academic skills for success.
On Nov. 1, participants were entertained by the Swingin’ Spurs, a K-State student country dance group, and had the opportunity to meet and mingle with members of the university’s Pakistan Student Association.
K-State’s Muslim Students Association and the Islamic Center of Manhattan helped arranged Friday prayers.
Additional presenters included:
• Jim Richardson, National Geographic photographer, and contributing editor for TRAVELER Magazine, who presented “A Small Town’s Struggle to Survive through Unified Community Effort: A Photographic History.”
• CJ Janovy, digital content editor KCUR Public Radio in Kansas City, Missouri, presented “No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas.”
• John Jackson, Agricultural Management Group, Inc., former Peace Corps volunteer to Iran, offered some words of wisdom based on more than 40 years of international leadership.
Finally, Rita Bruun Akhtar, executive director of the U.S. Educational Foundation in Pakistan; Stephanie Reed, program officer at the U.S. Department of State; and Grant Chapman, associate provost in the Office of International Programs; delivered closing remarks.
International programs would like to thank Beverly Earles, associate director of international programs, for the engaging program agenda. Additional thanks go to Wendy Matthews, assistant director of sponsored student programs for logistical arrangements, and the director of the English Language Program, Mary Wood and her team of administrators, staff and faculty. Additional thanks to members of the K-State and Manhattan communities who helped make the seminar a success.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the U.S. government, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 390,000 passionate and accomplished students, scholars, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to complex global challenges.