Tuesday, November 9, 2021

A student’s first glimpse of the ocean during an excursion to the Galapagos. An evening in Seville that inspired a Spanish-learning journey. A welcoming carpet of black-eyed Susans in bloom on the Pentacrest.

These moments were experienced and captured in photos by University of Iowa students who studied abroad, international students on campus, UI staff, and alumni. They are among the winning images selected for the 2021 International Programs annual photo contest as part of International Education Week—a way to inspire greater awareness of the many ways the UI community can experience international education.

To view a gallery of all this year’s photo submissions, visit the IEW 2021 Photo Contest Flickr Album or visit the Center for Language and Cultural Learning at 111 Phillips Hall to view a curated display.

In addition to this year’s photo contest winners, the UI celebration also will feature award ceremonies for the annual UI International Impact Award recipients, Global Student Awards, and a number of key events reflecting the diverse work being done across campus to advance global engagement.

In many ways, this year’s celebration more significant than others given the global challenges the world faced during the last year due to COVID-19.

“Our world is in transition,” says Russell Ganim, UI associate provost and dean of International Programs. “As a result, it is incumbent upon us to continue learning about the world as people adapt and renew themselves in a shifting global environment. International Education Week focuses on how individual responses to disruption reflect trends seen across the world. Whether the changes occur in the realms of health, sustainability, inclusion, or security, the goal is the same: to show connections across distance, language, and culture in a way that reinforces our commonality and provides inspiration to tackle the collective challenges that lie ahead.”

Whether it’s helping students to develop international perspectives through study abroad and virtual global internships, or attracting a diverse community of students from the around the world, the UI is committed to creating global education opportunities for all its students.

This fall, more than 2,175 international students studied or conducted postgraduate research at the UI from 105 foreign countries and territories. And in academic year 2020–21, 117 students added an international component to their education through either virtual programming or global internships, with 26 UI students currently studying abroad in eight different countries.

The UI will celebrate International Education Week Nov. 15–19. A joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, International Education Week celebrates the many ways international education and exchange opportunities prepare citizens for community building in both national and international settings.

International Impact Awards

The UI International Impact Award recognizes distinguished alumni and other individuals with significant ties to the UI who have made important contributions internationally. The 2021 recipients are Martín López-Vega and Nina Jovanovic.

martin lopez vega
Martín López-Vega

Martín López-Vega is a noted poet, author, and essayist whose published works in Spanish and Asturian have been widely praised. He is one of a handful of artists and activists who have fought successfully to increase legal recognition for the Asturian language and the rich culture associated with it. López-Vega received a PhD from the UI and has served as both general director for culture and heritage of the Principado de Asturias and executive director of the Cervantes Institute, Spain’s government agency charged with promoting the varied languages and cultures of Spain and encouraging cultural, intellectual, and artistic exchanges between Spain and the rest of the world.

nina jovanovic
Nina Jovanovic

Nina Jovanovic is the leading eye researcher in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Jovanovic currently runs the oculoplastic surgery section in the Department of Ophthalmology at Canton Hospital in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Upon completion of a Master of Public Health degree at the UI, Jovanovic returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina where she became the first certified oculoplastic surgeon, introducing the techniques of oculoplastic surgery to Bosnia and Herzegovina; introduced the first eye injury registries to advance knowledge about eye injuries, their prevention, and treatment; and was the first physician to advocate for eye protection for workers. Jovanovic has embraced opportunities to promote public health and population-level prevention through her medical practice and she maintains a strong relationship with the UI, sharing her experience and expertise with students and faculty during nearly annual visits to campus and welcoming UI students for global clinical experiences in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Global Student Awards

The Global Student Awards recognize one undergraduate and one graduate student who are leaders deeply engaged in international education on campus or abroad. The award was established by UI International Programs and the Division of Student Life in 2019.

This year’s recipients are Hadley Galbraith, a PhD student (French and Francophone world studies) from Topeka, Kansas, and Amna Haider, an undergraduate student (international relations and philosophy) from Omaha, Nebraska.

hadley galbraith
Hadley Galbraith

Hadley Galbraith’s research at Iowa focuses on literature, film, and performance by artists from the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and sub-Saharan Africa. An active member of the World Languages Graduate Organization since 2016, Galbraith has served as a departmental senator for the Department of French and Italian, and on the International Committee of Graduate Student Senate.

“Hadley uses her global education and experiences to empower her peers and support global understanding and inclusion at the UI,” says her nominator, Anny-Dominique Curtius, an associate professor of Francophone studies.

“I am a big proponent of looking for ways to enter into cross-cultural ‘dialogue’ creatively,” says Galbraith. “One of my favorite things about teaching French language courses is guiding students to the discovery that they can engage with francophone cultures even at the early stages of learning French.”

amna haider
Amna Haider

Amna Haider has dedicated her time at Iowa to fostering collaboration, coalition building, and global understanding. Founder of the student peace advocacy group Peace by Peace, Haider serves as an Undergraduate Student Government senator on the Justice and Equity Committee, focusing on supporting international students, and is president of the Walk It Out Multicultural fashion show.

From her work volunteering at the Refugee Empowerment Center and the Student Advisory Board for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the UI Honors program to interning at the UI Center for Human Rights and Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, Haider “has been actively involved in celebrating and promoting different cultures, identities, and international perspectives through all of her work on campus,” says her nominator Brian Lai, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science.

Ganim and UI President Barbara Wilson will present the International Impact Awards and Global Student Awards in a virtual public ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 15, during a special WorldCanvass program event hosted by Joan Kjaer.


Photo Category: Show us your Hawkeye Spirit—FIRST PLACE
Name: Mariana Ruiz Nascimento
Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA), Spanish & Portuguese
Hometown: Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

old capitol

A Warm Welcome
Location: University of Iowa, Iowa City

Photo description:
This is a very special photo to me because it was taken the day I arrived in Iowa City. It was the first impression I had on the campus, and I guess it represents such a warm atmosphere: the weather and the sky were beautiful, and the flowers seemed like they were welcoming me. I'm having such an amazing experience at the University of Iowa because I made new friends, connected with people from all over the world, and had the chance to share my culture with my students. I am glad I had the opportunity to come here as a Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA).

Photo Category: Show us your Hawkeye Spirit—SECOND PLACE
Paige Ho
Hometown: Binh Duong, Vietnam

the wave

The Hawkeyes Wave
Location: Kinnick Stadium

Photo description:
Hawkeyes doing the Wave to the children at the hospital.

Photo Category: Student experiences—FIRST PLACE
Name: Guy Meyer
Graduate student/TA
Hometown: Mount Pleasant, IA


Evening in Seville
Location: Seville, Spain

Photo description:
This is a photo of the Giralda in Seville, Spain. The views and history in this city made me fall in love with Spain and the people there, and the experiences I had there started my Spanish-learning journey. Fast forward six years, and I’m teaching Spanish at Iowa as a TA.

Photo Category: Student experiences—SECOND PLACE
Kristi Vogel
Anthropology, Spanish, history
Hometown: Huxley, Iowa
Program: SIT World Learning, fall 2021

ocean rocks

Nunca había visto el océano | I Had Never Seen the Ocean
Location: La Isla Isabela, Las Islas Galápagos, Ecuador

Photo description:
There have been many “firsts” for me in Ecuador, but perhaps one of the most significant was our excursion to the Galapagos Islands, where I saw—and accidentally tasted!—the ocean for the first time. My peers have all traveled extensively, but this semester abroad is my introduction to travel. In this way, study abroad can be so vital in offering opportunities to students in more than just going to a new place. “Travel is a mindset,” PBS’s Rick Steves says, and while seeing the ocean and the Galapagos Islands was incomparable, it was more so an opportunity to learn about local struggles, culture, and make interpersonal connections during our stay. Even if we cannot travel physically, whether it be from the pandemic, financial restrictions, or personal obligations, we can always keep our hearts and minds open to learning and understanding.

Photo Category: Exploring local cultures and traditions—FIRST PLACE

Ying Li
Graduate student
Psychological and brain science
Home country: China

To be a Miao Girl
Guizhou Province, China

Photo description:
This picture was taken when I visited the largest Miao village in China, which is called Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village. Miao nationality is one of the minority nationalities in China. As you can see from the picture, I wear their traditional dress, which includes embroidery on the clothes and a complete set of silver ornaments, like hat, earrings, collars, and bracelets. Dresses for females is colorful and luxuriant and the amount of silver jewelry also represents family wealth. When they gather together for important ceremonies or parties, boys and girls will dress up like this. In addition, the scenery here is also very beautiful. The village is close to the river system so you can see many rivulets and bridges. Being close to a river system also means there will be a lot of rain so their houses also have a unique structure. You can see them on the top of the picture. The eaves are beveled to avoid rain gathering on the roofs. And they put lights on it. At night, you can see the whole hill lit up, which is spectacular and shocking.

Photo Category: Exploring local cultures and traditions—SECOND PLACE

Haochen Liang
Hometown: Beijing, China
Spring 2021

haochen liang in front of palace

Beihai Park
Location: Beijing
Photo description:
There is a lot of classical Chinese architecture in Beihai Park. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, this was a royal park.