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International Education Week

Monday, Nov. 15, 3:30 p.m. – The Globe Auditorium

Good afternoon and welcome. We are here today to talk about the importance of international education.

As Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris reminded us, we truly are one world. On behalf of Florida State, I’d like to take just a moment to express my profound sympathies to the people of France as well as the French faculty, scholars and international students who are here at FSU.

We currently have more than 40 students with French citizenship here at FSU, as well four visiting research scholars and several faculty and staff members.

And to them I’d like to say: We are family at FSU, and we are here to support you as we grieve with you.

Let’s take a moment of silence now to show solidarity with France and to acknowledge all of those affected by these acts of terrorism, including the victims and their loved ones.

Today marks the official opening of Florida State University’s International Education Week. During this special week, FSU joins in a worldwide celebration to recognize the many benefits of international education and exchange.

International Education Week was established 16 years ago as a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State to promote the development of new international initiatives and to increase the opportunities for students and faculty to be globally engaged.

This special week is now celebrated worldwide. The official theme for the week this year is “International Education: Advancing Access for All.”

A year ago, I also gave the opening remarks for FSU’s International Education Week. Throughout the past year, I have learned so much about the many enriching opportunities we offer our students both abroad as well as right here on campus.

Many colleges and departments, as well as centers in both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, are offering international experiences to our students.

We are fortunate that so many of our faculty and staff — and many of them are here today — have worked collaboratively to increase international activity.

FSU is truly advancing access for all.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look around the room and you will see some examples of the many ways in which more than 2,000 of our students are engaging internationally through study, research, internships or service.

These photos are just a very small reflection of what our students are doing out in the world with the support of FSU. There are also numerous student organizations — too many to mention here — that organize mission trips or service trips to help meet the needs of local communities abroad.

Through these various types of international engagement, our students learn more about themselves, increase their global awareness and develop the skills necessary to be productive citizens.

At FSU, we believe in preparing all students for today’s global society. Although we would like to see more students travel and study abroad, we know that this is not an option for everyone.

Many students may not have the time or resources to include an international experience in their busy schedules. Or they may have work, family or other obligations preventing them from leaving even for a short period.

That’s why our goal is to give access to the world to all of our students by bringing the world to FSU.

We’re proud to have a campus community dedicated to creating a rich intercultural learning environment that promotes interaction among students and faculty members from around the world.

I would like to thank all of the international students, scholars and faculty who have come to FSU and are helping us achieve this goal.

It’s important that we recognize the contributions made by our 2,000-plus international students from more than 130 countries who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees here. We also have international students participating in short-term programs and intensive English language study.

Let’s also recognize the contributions through research and other collaborations made by more than 200 international visiting scholars each year.

I am proud of the accomplishments that we have made to internationalize our campus. I know that these efforts will continue to grow and result in more and more students going out into the world.

These efforts will also lead to an increasing number of international students and scholars coming here and helping to bring the world to FSU.

So, we certainly have a lot to celebrate this week. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to express my appreciation to all of you who play a part in preparing our students for today’s global society.

Thank you to everyone at FSU for believing in, participating in, and supporting international education.

And now, I’d like to introduce Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Coburn.