AUBURN – Auburn University will welcome Duncan Cole, the consul general from Australia based in Atlanta and the latest in a list of international visitors, to campus this Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Bob McGinnis, Auburn University senior counsel to the president and former vice president for development, said the series of visits are part of a strategic plan to internationalize the university.
“President Jay Gogue is very interested in giving students an opportunity to leave Auburn with more of an international perspective and international flavor to their education,” McGinnis said.
McGinnis said that although 25 percent of Auburn graduates have had an international overseas experience – which is substantially higher than the average in higher education – 75 percent do not get that opportunity and it is President Gogue’s goal to bring international experiences to those students.
The project began last February when Auburn invited 11 consul generals to Auburn, McGinnis said. Since that visit, the university has had the opportunity to welcome international dignitaries from Brazil, Albania, Peru, The People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Turkey and Mexico to campus.
Kenn McNabb, director of international programs, meets with the dignitaries during their visits in an effort to strengthen Auburn’s relationships with universities in other countries and to discover potential opportunities for student and faculty exchanges.
The visits have also given Auburn the opportunity to host international photo exhibits, the latest of which being the “UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany” exhibit that will be displayed through Dec. 15 on the second floor of Ralph Brown Draughon library.
“It’s an exhibit of 35 large photographs of beautiful world heritage sites,” McGinnis said. “The photographs are 4 feet wide and one-and-a-half feet high.”
McGinnis said Cole’s visit is the last international visit scheduled for the fall, but he is in conversations to bring more dignitaries to campus during the spring 2010 semester.
“I have discussions going on with the consul generals from Germany, Japan, Great Britain, France, Argentina and Canada,” McGinnis said. “I’ve invited the consul general from India and I’ve talked to the consul general from Saudi Arabia, among others.”
(Contributed by Natalie Nettles.)