USF World News

USF World Announces a Refresh of Global Engagement Activities Beginning with International Education Month

refresh of engagement for international education month

TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 29, 2021) -- “Strengthened by Diversity,” is the leading motto of USF World, the University of South Florida's leader in global engagement and relations. In celebration of that diversity, and in setting the stage for global opportunities, International Education Month (IEM) will kick off next week – on November 1. Read more below about how USF World is giving a refreshed perspective on the university's global engagement goals and is bringing back the much anticipated tradition in 2021.

Leading this “refresh” campaign is newly-appointed Community Relations Assistant Director, Vanessa Martinez. Beginning her new role with USF World in September of 2021, her responsibilities include bringing awareness of USF World to the community of the many students and faculty across USF campuses that are engaged in incredible, international initiatives. Additionally, Martinez hopes to create a network of USF global citizens to foster collaboration and engagement here in Tampa Bay and around the world. 

“As I like to say, 'Bulls Run the World' – not only do we travel the planet, but we also hold positions of influence, run companies, perform as artists and athletes, and conduct research – globally. I hope to highlight our global footprint and develop strategic, global engagement strategies that will expand our global impact.” 

--Vanessa Martinez

The strategy of the “refresh” campaign itself, under Martinez’s leadership, will bring renewed awareness of global engagement across USF campuses by educating the public on what USF World is, and the responsibilities that it undertakes in fostering and developing global relationships through its innovative and inclusive practices. The campaign’s launch aligns perfectly with IEM. “International Education Month is our time to shine! We have over 4,500 international students representing more than 140 countries, faculty engaged in research worldwide, students studying and volunteering abroad, and alumni in all four corners of the earth,” said Martinez. “In fact, our ‘2022 refresh’ campaign is all about how the very concept of international education is changing with the evolution of global learning and virtual exchanges among students and faculty internationally.”

International Education Month is an annual tradition, dating back to 2014. It was during this time that a month-long celebration of global diversity and engagement was envisioned as a University of South Florida take on International Education Week (IEW). IEW is a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of State to provide global opportunities to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. As a week-long celebration, IEW (occurring Nov. 15-19 of this year) encourages participation and interest in global opportunities for engagement, study, education, and exchange experiences. In an attempt to expand on those opportunities and experiences, IEM packs November full of events that center around IEW. This expansion of opportunities brings a month-long awareness of the global connections throughout USF across departments alongside global opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. 

During International Education Month, strength in diversity can be found accross all three USF campuses in the engagement and drive of international student organizations who offer consistent programming to engage and educate our student populations. Furthermore, student engagement can be found through the efforts of the Peace Corps Prep (PC Prep) program, which participates in International Education Month on a yearly basis. The program participates in IEM to promote its high-quality global opportunities for students – on USF campuses and across the world. “This participation helps to promote and raise awareness to global opportunities through the PC program by introducing students to a multitude of local volunteer, cross-cultural, and international engagement opportunities, as well as USF's resources to help students plan for and pursue international volunteer, study, and work opportunities,” said Kristen Vogel, USF Peace Corps Recruiter, and Lauren Strange, Peace Corps Prep Coordinator, in a joint statement. This year, USF's Peace Corps representatives have several events planned for the International Education Month calendar.

In 2020, organizers of International Education Month had to navigate the pandemic, finding ways to promote global opportunities and engage students in a way that was traditional, while implementing innovation through engagement with a digital landscape. “It goes without saying that we are deeply committed to global engagement, and that didn’t change with COVID,” Martinez added as she reflected on USF World’s navigation through the past year. “Moving forward, we are refreshing our outreach to connect with our internal and external global communities, and we’re developing innovative new programming and training for students, faculty, administrators, and staff in global capacity building.”

Through these challenges, USF World found growth and innovation, offering a refreshing take on a traditional concept: finding strength in diversity. This year, International Education Month is back and better than ever through diversification in its programming and opportunities for engagement. This year’s celebration will feature both virtual and in-person events, a hybrid mix that has not been seen before in IEM’s history.   

International Education Month starts Nov.1. Please visit our main event page for a complete listing of events.