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(Please load images) University of Minnesota GPS Alliance.
Global U
Spotlight on Learning, Discovery, and Engagement

Dear Friends,

It’s often hard to get excited when you hear the words “strategic plan,” but the University’s new plan is different:

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities Will Be Preeminent in Solving the Grand Challenges of a Diverse and Changing World  

What a bold and exciting vision! As the driving force for internationalizing the U of M, the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance will play a key role in achieving this vision.

  • We are preparing all students—both U.S. and international—to live and work in a global society.
  • We are supporting faculty research abroad that seeks solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems.
  • We are building relationships with alumni, business, government, and communities at home and abroad.
  • And we are connecting people and resources across the University to better and more strategically internationalize the University. 

As the strategic plan is implemented, we will look for new and better ways to do things and must be prepared to act quickly. There are so many ways you can help us to accomplish our goals: by spreading the word about the University of Minnesota, by displaying your own loyalty to the "U," by giving us ideas and suggestions for new programs and new initiatives, and by contributing resources toward our continued success. The GPS Alliance Strategic Directions fund provides resources to kick-start promising ideas that enhance our role as a globally engaged university. Through your generosity, and the generosity of others who value global engagement, we can accomplish even more. I ask you to consider becoming a philanthropic partner in the University's goal of solving the world’s pressing grand challenges. Thank you for your support.

Meredith McQuaid signature
Meredith McQuaid
Associate Vice President and Dean
of International Programs

Putting the Field Back in Field Experience

Shruti Saxena, a master of development practice student, received a 2014 Judd Fellowship to participate in a 10-week field experience in Vietnam. She shares some thoughts on her final days in Vietnam from her blog. Join Shruti and the other Judd Fellows at the Judd Fellows Expo to hear about their time abroad.

Sunday, July 27, 2014: This last week is full of infinite things to do, of impossible deadlines, of chaos, of the sense of loss settling in slowly…. As the number of days reduces, the list of goodbyes grows longer…. I haven't taken all the walks I wanted to, I haven't explored as much as I wanted to, I haven't done all the things I now know I would have liked too. This too, I know is part of the experience, making peace with the discontent at all that is left unexplored, accepting my own limits. But what I have from this experience is so much, it parallels nothing in my life. It hasn't only been an academic or professional experience, it has been much more.

Shruti and Meagan at a waterfall in Vietnam

Shruti and teammate Meagan visit a waterfall in Bach Ma national park.


October 7, 2014
Judd Fellows Expo
Hear from some of our best and brightest students about their life-changing and career-enhancing international experiences your philanthropy has supported.
4:30-6:30 p.m.
McNamara Alumni Center

October 12-18, 2014
Homecoming 100
Celebrate the 100th year of Gopher homecoming!
More information

November 17-21, 2014
International Education Week
A nation-wide event to highlight support of international education.
More information

Breaking News!

We just learned that alumnus Geir Haarde will be Iceland’s next ambassador to the U.S.! Haarde earned a master’s in economics from the U of M in 1997. He served as Iceland’s prime minister from 2006 to 2009.

Geir Haarde

Donor has a Change of Heart

Last year an anonymous donor included a bequest in her estate plan in support of learning abroad. We were happy to thank her and welcome her into the Heritage Society of the Presidents Club. Then about six months later she had a change of heart...not about making the gift, but because she wanted to make an impact NOW! Making a pledge of $25,000, she set about to learn the different ways to make gifts now, ultimately choosing an appreciated mutual fund transfer. It was an easy process to transfer the mutual fund shares to the U of M Foundation for sale.

To learn more about the many ways you can make gifts to accomplish your personal global passion, contact Diane Young at 612-624-8819 or

A World of Choices

Hundreds of students took their first step toward studying abroad when they attended the Learning Abroad Fair on September 17 to learn more about the 300+ international opportunities available to them. And soon more of these students will receive extra funding to help them achieve their goals of living and learning abroad. The University has set a goal to increase study abroad scholarships from $800,000 to $1.5 million each year. Help us reach our goal by making a gift to the Learning Abroad Alumni Fund today.

Learning Abroad Fair

Every Norwegian has an Uncle in Minnesota

A popular expression in Norway is "everybody has an uncle in America.” Maybe it’s better said that “everybody has an uncle in MINNESOTA!” With an estimated one million Minnesotans of Norwegian descent, that’s just one of the many reasons U of M President Eric Kaler chose Norway as the destination for his second international visit in August. The U of M also has deep and long-standing relationships with Norway’s best universities, we exchange dozens of students each year, and hundreds of U of M alumni live in Norway. In fact, President Kaler found alumni everywhere: the Parliament, universities, businesses, think-tanks, and more. The impact of the U of M is truly global! Thanks to the visit, the University plans to renew and enhance important research relationships, expand student exchange, and make new connections with government and industry. Visit the President’s travelogue to read more and see photos from the trip.

Kaler to co-chair MN2015 conference, thanks to Norwegian connection

It was just announced that in October 2015, Minnesota will host MN2015, a major international conference on sustainability that will be attended by more than 100 heads of state from around the world. One of the conference organizers is Partnership for Change, a Norwegian-based nongovernmental organization whose American affiliate is based in Minnesota. While he was in Norway, President Kaler met with representatives from Partnership for Change and agreed to serve as co-chair for the conference. Read more about the conference in a Star Tribune editorial.

How Do You Say "No Pedestrian Crossing" in Japanese?

Japanese Road Sign

A generous bequest was recently realized from the estate of John Billman to encourage even more students to broaden their educations through an academic experience abroad. Billman, who benefited greatly from his own travel to Europe in 1937, established the Billman International Scholarship Fund in 2001. Since then many students have followed in his footsteps on their own journeys abroad, like Micah Lindstrom, who participated in the Global Seminar, “Philosophies of Wellness: Holistic Healing in Japan,” in May. The class emphasized Japanese aesthetics, leading Micah to notice differences between Japanese and U.S. street signs. As part of the class, he worked on a research project comparing the direct, severe style of the U.S. to the detailed Japanese style. After returning home, he expressed his thanks in a letter to the Billman family:

Thank you for sponsoring me on this fantastic journey to a country undeniably modern yet so radically foreign, and sponsoring my chance to develop significantly in my global and self-understanding. I hope that my present and future actions can aspire to the same excellence as you have shown.

If you'd like to learn more about how to support the GPS Alliance through a bequest, like John Billman did, visit the the University of Minnesota Foundation's Future Giving website.

A Presidential Selfie

Selfie with the President

New international students lined up with excitement to take their photo with President and Mrs. Kaler at a welcome reception on Aug. 29. This fall, we welcomed 1,750 new international students from 102 countries.

Q & A: Recent Grad Leaves Impact on International Understanding

Khoa VuKhoa Vu, an international student from Vietnam, graduated last spring with a B.S. in economics and math. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in economics at Tufts University.

How did you work to improve internationalization at the U of M?
My work focused on two main aspects of international education: helping students to understand and appreciate differences in perspective and culture, and connecting organizations and departments that share the goal of promoting diversity at the University.

How does internationalizing of the campus help students?
One way is that when students can appreciate and learn from cultural difference, they will be able to work effectively in international settings, like a global corporation.

How did your work to internationalize the campus influence you?
This whole experience really shaped me into who I am today in terms of personality and leadership. I also realized that I love to bring the same positive impacts to society that it has imparted on me so my long-term goal is working in the development sector and bringing opportunities to less-developed countries. I am currently serving as a teaching assistant in international economics at Tufts University.

Watch the digital story Khoa made about his work to internationalize the campus.

Khoa Vu was a 2014 recipient of the new Josef Mestenhauser Student Award for Excellence in Campus Internationalization, which acknowledges outstanding work by students to internationalize the University. The award is made possible by gifts to the Mestenhauser Legacy Fund.

By the Numbers: CARLA Summer Institutes

CARLA By the Numbers

This summer, the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) hosted its 19th annual series of Summer Institutes for language teachers. The institutes reflect CARLA’s commitment to connecting research with practice as well as their ongoing mission to share what they've learned with teachers and their second language learners.

This was a wonderful opportunity to re-think the way I teach and the way
my students learn. I can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned here.
– Janice E. Rodriguez

FacebookInterested in languages? Check out interesting research and fun stories on CARLA’s Facebook page.

Your philanthropic investment in the GPS Alliance Strategic Directions Fund will nurture the “great ideas” that have too often withered on-the-vine for lack of a patron. This Fund provides the dean of international programs with flexible resources to respond quickly to emerging opportunities. These could include matching funds to leverage a faculty member’s research project abroad, an honorarium to bring an innovative international expert to campus, or an airline ticket for a student who gets invited to present research at an international conference. These timely investments will help ensure that great ideas no longer become lost opportunities. Be a philanthropic partner with the GPS Alliance and help make an impact on our students, our campus, and our world!
Make a gift

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