World Trade Center Utah Highlights UVU Office for Global Engagement

On Oct. 25, the day after the Global Utah Forum, Utah Valley University will host 13 foreign dignitaries and their respective trade commissioners for the UVU International Conference on Trade Relations.

This major event is just one element of an aggressive global engagement program administered at the university by Dr. Baldomero Lago, assistant vice president of the Office of Global Engagement and Hon. Consul of Spain.

Lago says the Office of Global Engagement plays a critical role in helping achieve UVU President Matthew Holland's goal that all students graduate with a diploma and a resume. To that end, Lago's office provides comprehensive opportunities and services within what he describes as four pillars: Inbound, Outbound, International Internships and Domestic Multicultural Experiences.

Regarding the Outbound pillar, the Office of Global Engagement handles everything that relates to the international mobility of UVU students, faculty and staff: outbound programs, marketing, setup, logistics, pre-departure orientation, legal and insurance services.

Within the Inbound pillar, Lago says his office works with the international individuals and organizations that come to the university on academic exchanges, for relationship building or training. Moreover, the pillar includes a diplomatic component as the office hosts numerous ambassadors and consuls general each year. "We organize events attended by people from across the globe," Lago continues. "For example, the university will host the U.S. Ambassador from Georgia for a variety of activities celebrating the arts, culture and history of this former Soviet Bloc nation."

The Office of Global Engagement also hosts the popular "Global Spotlight," an endeavor to spotlight one nation each year that is important to Utah for education and economic purposes. Last year the school spotlighted Canada, one of Utah's largest trading partners, and Peru the year before. This year the Global Spotlight will be on Israel, with a variety of events planned to engage students and the public in the economic and cultural relationship Israel shares with Utah.

Lago says the third pillar, International Internships, is a program that just came online last year. Twenty-five students took part in international internships the first semester they were available and he expects the number to climb into the hundreds as the internship program gains exposure. "We tailor each internship to the individual student," he explains, "to help each student experience a professional, credit-bearing program."

In its fourth pillar, the Office of Global Engagement focuses on domestic multicultural experiences that work in conjunction with its Global and Intercultural Engagement program. All UVU students are required to take courses within the program before they may graduate. Lago says the goal is to provide students with domestic multicultural experiences in the event they cannot travel outside of U.S. For example, some past students have worked on the Navajo Indian Reservation, while others have volunteered at refugee camps or at a Jewish Synagogue. "The idea of this program is for students to see and live the culture without having to travel abroad," says Lago.

In another related effort, the Office of Global Engagement hosts approximately 1,000 Utah elementary students annually over three days during UVU's Dual Language Immersion Fair. He says approximately 250 student volunteers support the program, which focuses on the Spanish, Chinese and French languages and emphasizes both linguistics and culture. "Dual language immersion is an outstanding program that the state supports," he adds.

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