I send my heartfelt greetings to all of our international friends and alumni. I am pleased to introduce this inaugural edition of Lehigh University’s international newsletter and I look forward to opportunities to communicate with you in this forum.
As Lehigh embarks on an unprecedented 10-year strategic plan
, a key area of focus is globalization. Globalization may well be the defining characteristic of the twenty-first century and Lehigh is well-positioned to address a wide range of intellectual and practical challenges posed by globalization through our research, teaching, and service.
Our newly created Office of International Affairs
, headed by Vice President for International Affairs Mohamed El-Aasser, provides excellent leadership for our global efforts. We aim to capitalize on our existing strengths while identifying new opportunities to provide pipelines for international students to study at Lehigh, collaborations with international faculty colleagues, and opportunities for our students to have experiences abroad. Mohamed’s leadership abilities, his expertise in international affairs, and his deep understanding of the Lehigh community make him ideally suited to lead this important office.
As it should be for a great university, our sights are set high; we seek nothing less than a systematic and sustained engagement between the Lehigh community and the world-at-large. We aim to make international experiences a signature of a Lehigh education. We start from a solid foundation of international programs already in place: Global Union, our United Nations NGO status and Global Citizenship programs, faculty-led international programs, and the Global Village at the Iacocca Institute. These are strengths that we can build upon in the coming decade and beyond.
This past fall, I attended the Science and Technology in Society Forum in Kyoto, Japan. As the sole U.S. university president in attendance, I noticed many common interests among presidents from around the world. Many of them expressed a strong desire for educational experiences beyond their own borders for their students. I was struck by the opportunities available to us for exchanges and enriching collaborations, and I came home more convinced than ever that the time is right for Global Lehigh. I also had the pleasure of visiting with Lehigh friends and alumni in Seoul, Korea and was impressed with their level of interest and sincere desire to help us take Lehigh to new levels.
I returned to Lehigh and made a request of our faculty. I asked that when our faculty members are traveling abroad to conferences and for research projects, if time permits, they would seek out and visit with alumni, parents, students, and friends. So keep your eyes open; we will be providing more connections to current campus activities through visits from our faculty and staff.
I look forward to keeping in touch and I thank you for your support of Lehigh.
Alice P. Gast
President, Lehigh University