Monday, November 6, 2023

Witnessing the art of falconry in the deserts of the United Arab Emirates. Celebrating the end of Eid with city residents in Marrakech. Observing the cherished holiday of Holi among new friends on Iowa’s campus. 

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To view a gallery of all this year’s photo submissions, visit the IEW 2023 Photo Contest Flickr Album. 

These are among the winning images selected for the 2023 International Programs annual photo contest as part of International Education Week (IEW)—which aims to inspire greater awareness of the many ways the University of Iowacommunity can experience international education.

The UI will celebrate International Education Week Nov. 13–17. A joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, IEW celebrates Iowa’s commitment to preparing Americans for a global environment and to attract future leaders from abroad to come to the U.S. 

The UI provides global education opportunities for all its students, whether it’s by fostering international perspectives through study abroad and global internship opportunities, or by attracting a diverse community of students from around the world. In fall 2023, 2,178 international students from 110 foreign countries and territories studied or conducted post-graduate research at Iowa. In the 2022-23 academic year, more than $760,000 was awarded to students to study abroad, with 1,058 students participating in study abroad programs in 37 different countries. 

IEW not only highlights photo contest winners, but also serves as a platform to celebrate the recipients of the annual UI International Impact Award and Global Student Award. 

Multiple events are planned during and leading up to IEW. This year’s signature event was a student-organized Multicultural Showcase on Nov. 3, introducing UI students, faculty, staff, and the greater Iowa City community to different cultures through performances, ethnic dishes, and interactive tabling hosted by student organizations and UI colleges and departments. 

“International Programs is proud to take a leading role in planning and coordinating International Education Week,“ says Russell Ganim, associate provost and dean of International Programs. “The variety of events planned is quite impressive and demonstrates Iowa’s commitment to global education on both an academic and cultural level. Our goal is to engage the public, and we invite the community at large to partake in as many activities as possible during what promises to be a busy and exciting celebration of internationalization on campus.” 

International Impact Award 

Linda and Dale Baker

The UI International Impact Award recognizes distinguished alumni and other individuals with significant ties to the university who have made sustained and deep contributions to promote global understanding internationally or in the U.S.

Educator and philanthropist Linda R. Baker’s (BA English '68) strong personal commitment to efforts that foster cultural competency and global awareness, as well as her internationally oriented philanthropy, has paved the way for hundreds of students and faculty to study, teach, conduct research, and travel abroad for educational immersion experiences. 

In 2005, Baker established the Dr. Ken Magid Scholarship in honor of her mentor, Kenneth Magid, who was a tremendous influence on her career and service efforts. Funds from the scholarship have helped Iowa students cover expenses related to volunteer service opportunities, including pursuing internships abroad. Her ongoing support of the UI College of Education’s Global Education Initiatives program has provided academic opportunities that span the globe with dynamic research collaborations, study and teaching abroad experiences, and innovative partnerships. Her dedication to supporting aspiring teachers resulted in the College of Education’s teacher leader center being named in her honor.  

Global Student Award 

Katherine Lyu
Katherine Lyu

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

The recipients of this year’s Global Student Awards are Katherine Lyu, an undergraduate student from Xiamen, China, majoring in English and creative writing, and Amira Nash, a PhD student from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, focusing on teaching and learning: literacy, culture, and language education. 

Lyu is a champion for international education, fostering inclusivity and expanding cultural understanding on campus. Her extensive accomplishments include serving as the vice president of the International Student Advisory Board, president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, and an international student ambassador for UI Admissions. 

“Katherine has always been committed to broadening her own horizon by reading, learning, and studying abroad to learn about different cultures, and identities, and expose others to different perspectives,” says her nominator Shuhui Lin, international student support and engagement coordinator in International Programs. 

Amira Nash
Amira Nash

Nash is committed to promoting global perspectives in education that benefit UI students, future teachers, and the world. As an undergraduate student, Nash studied abroad in India, Spain, and Cuba, and completed a student teaching experience in Ecuador. An advocate for international students, Nash worked as an English as a second language and social studies teacher. In her most recent transition to working for the Baker Teacher Leader Center, Nash helped organize and co-lead five study abroad programs and serves as an advocate for international students by organizing study sessions and social outings. 

“Amira is one of the most incredibly gifted and caring individuals with whom I have ever worked,” says her nominator Will Coghill-Behrends, associate professor in the College of Education. “I am always so inspired by the positivity and care she shares with our students and colleagues. I’ve known no other individual committed to creating spaces where all feel welcomed, seen, and cared for. She makes us all better in the work that we do, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside her.” 

Photo Contest Winners 

First place

Subin Erattakulangara 

PhD student in biomedical engineering 

Hometown: India 

United Arab Emirates 

"Being originally from India, I thought I had experienced a wide array of cultures and traditions. But coming to the University of Iowa, the scale of diversity just went through the roof. It's not just about meeting people from different states; it's about meeting people from all areas of the world.

In a way, Iowa has become my personal launchpad to the world. It's not just a university, it's a place where every encounter, every conversation, and every friendship leads to a new adventure.

One of the things that really got me excited was hearing stories from my friends here about the Middle East. Their experiences and tales ignited a desire in me to explore that part of the world, which led to this picture.

For centuries, the Arabs have possessed the incredible ability to tame majestic falcons and utilize them. This picture captures that timeless connection, a harmony between people and their feathered companions that has endured through the ages. This photo is a testament to the incredible bond between birds and humans, something truly special.” 

Second place

Reet Oberoi 

Finance major 

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois 

Study abroad program: CIEE Barcelona Business and Culture, spring 2023 

Marrakech, Morocco 

"The Medina market in Marrakech, Morocco, is a bustling and vibrant place that holds significant cultural and social importance for the city's residents. In this photo, the people who live in the city are gathering right after Eid ended to celebrate and spend time with their families. Although the Medina marketplace is usually not THIS busy at night, it remains very lively with locals during the times of principal Muslim festivals such as Eid and Ramadan. It was an amazing experience being a part of such a unique culture during such a significant time in the Islam calendar.” 

Third place 

Paras Gaur 

PhD student in biochemistry and molecular biology 

Hometown: Delhi, India 

Iowa City 

Festival of Colors 

“Holi, the magnificent festival of colors, has a sacred corner in my heart, especially because it's the second-largest celebration in India, and it resonates with my roots in the North. After living far from home in a foreign land for many years, this festival has become a lifeline to my cultural identity. One unforgettable day at work, my dear friends from the University of Iowa invited me to partake in the festivities. To my amazement, we were greeted with a kaleidoscope of vivid colors, instantly transforming the atmosphere into one of pure elation. With a close friend by my side, we became part of the vibrant whirlwind of Holi's joyful celebration, immersing ourselves in the lively revelry of colors. In those moments, I felt like I was back in India, surrounded by the warmth and camaraderie of my homeland. These precious memories have left an indelible mark, filling my heart with a profound sense of belonging and cherished festive joy.” 

Runners up

Razan Babikir 

Public health major 

Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa 

Study abroad program: CIEE Seville Summer Global Internship, summer 2023 

Plaza de Espana, Sevilla, Spain 

“This was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. Sevilla is a beautiful city with beautiful people, and I got to make wonderful friends while learning about the city's unique culture and history.” 

Andrea Chiu 

Translation major 

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan 

Study abroad program: Ewha Womans University Exchange, fall 2023 

Jeju Island, South Korea 

“This photo was taken when I was in Jeju Island during the Chuseok holiday in South Korea. I went to Jeju with some friends from Singapore, whom I met during my study abroad program. This photo captures the essence of Jeju Island, which I feel is a true natural wonder in South Korea. Jeju Island's natural landscape unfolded before me like a beautiful painting, which was a good break from the bustling city lifestyle. I am so thankful for having the opportunity to be able to study abroad and experience a different culture and landscape.” 

Haofeng Ma 

PhD student in political science 

Hometown: Shenzhen, Guangdong, China 

Patagonia, Argentina 

“I traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 2023 to present my doctoral research at the World Congress of Political Science held by the International Political Science Association. After the congress, I spent a week traveling from the national capital first to Iguazu Falls, the country's north border, and then to Patagonia, the southernmost area of the country and the world. This photo was taken on my road trip to Monte Fitz Roy, the most famous natural landscape in Patagonia. It was during July, but it was the deep winter season in South America.”