In conjunction with International Education Week, recipients of the International Excellence Awards were announced recently.
The Faculty Award was given to Christine Sauer, professor of economics and director of the UNM International Studies Institute.
Natasha Kolchevska, associate provost for international initiatives, said, "Dr. Sauer represents the best of what an international education can mean both to students and faculty members." Kolchevska noted that Sauer completed her undergraduate education in Germany and Frank and earned her graduate degrees in economics from Brown University. Her research and teaching specializations include international finance and open economy macroeconomics; international trade theory and policy; and money and banking.
Kolchevska added, "As director of the International Studies Institute in the College of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Sauer has been instrumental in developing the International Studies major, which is currently the fastest growing major at UNM."
The Student Award recipient was Japji Hundai, who is set to graduate in December with a master's in electrical engineering and a second master's in business administration in the management of technology. Kolchevska said, "Since coming to UNM from Chennai, India, Japji has achieved extraordinary success as a student, a researcher and intern in several local businesses, as well as serving in leadership positions in campus organizations."
Hundai has received the Brian Colon Exemplary Service Award, the New Mexico Small Business Association Award and the Student Leadership Award. He served as President of the World Student Alliance, the Student Coalition for Diversity and the Management Technology Association.
The Special Program Award went to Conexiones, an intensive Spanish language and culture study abroad program that has been sponsored for 27 years by the Honors Program and the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. Collaborators include Celia Lopez-Chavez, Michael Thomas, Margo Chavez and Enrique Lamadrid.
Conexiones, UNM's longest continuous faculty led program, organizes an annual four-week summer program that goes alternately to Trujillo, Spain or Morelia, Mexico, and more recently, Granada, Nicaragua.
Kolchevska said, "Conexiones students live with homestay families, they study in intensive Spanish classes, and they do volunteer work and/or independent research. Integration of multiple skills has been the key to the Conexiones approach." She added that the program is designed to enhance intellectual, linguistic and personal growth through a unified process. "Students in the program are fully immersed in the culture and language of the country, and Conexiones is truly a model for short-term study abroad programs at UNM," she said.
Mary Anne Saunders, special assistant to the president for global initiatives, presented the Community Volunteer Award, which went to Bob and Andrea Stone. Saunders said, "The Stones have hosted dozens of international students and helped in myriad ways those who have come from all over the world and have been touched by their support and kindness. Not only have they served as host families for weeks, months and even whole years, they have also helped students in practical ways – airport pick up, finding apartments, applying for Social Security cards, banking, shopping – you name it.
Literally second parents to students from around the world, they in turn, have been welcomed by parents of many of these students when Bob and Andrea have traveled abroad."
International Excellence Week is a joint effort of the Department of State, the Provost's Office, and the Global Education Office at UNM.
Kolchevska said, "Without people like the ones honored today, we would not have the vibrant academic and cultural interactions that UNM is known for. I am pleased to present these awards."
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