Office of International Initiatives Makes Strides with Emerging Market Task Forces

The Office of International Initiatives (OII) has taken a major step in its work to implement the international component of Georgia State’s Strategic Plan. Five emerging markets – Brazil, China, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey – were the focus of Task Force meetings organized by OII between March 19th and 26th. In preparation for the meetings OII sought nominations from the International Advisory Board (IAB) and deans, while a general call went out for faculty volunteers. More than 90 faculty members agreed to serve on the task forces. They represent each of the seven academic units and reflect the university-wide commitment to internationalizing GSU.

The task forces will assist OII to address Goal 5 of the Strategic Plan by identifying key partners in strategic countries to develop student and faculty exchanges, study abroad programs, research collaborations, executive training initiatives, government and private sectors networks, and dual degree programs. Each task force will identify thematic foci, priority areas for cooperation, profiles of likely partners, and premier city-based universities to eventually launch a consortium of megacity universities for critical issues challenging cities.

GSU faculty involvement in each of the five countries is already substantial. For example,  faculty have extensive professional networks at Seoul National University in Korea; GSU has cultivated strong relationships with international companies in Turkey; GSU’s Global Partners M.B.A. program travels to Brazil and China; School of Music faculty has growing collaborations in Brazil; faculty members have worked on USAID projects in South Africa and that agency is considering a recent GSU submission. Also, there are impressive study abroad programs and exchanges in each of the five countries.

Kim Reimann, Director of the Asian Studies Center and a South Korea task force member, said, in referring to the Korea Task Force, “It was a great meeting. I think everyone in the room was surprised by the variety of exchanges that are taking place already. And it was important to hear about the interests of faculty members who aren’t involved there yet.”

Additionally, Sergio Gallo of the School of Music and the Brazil task force said that he was “very impressed by the work accomplished by GSU faculty in Brazil.”

Through these engaging meetings, committee members had an opportunity to not only learn about the expertise of their colleagues, but to identify potential areas for growth, including study abroad participation, international student and scholar recruitment, improved graduation rates, and faculty support for new initiatives. Each task force will develop its respective standing committees, with sub-committees charged with proposing action on these and other topics.

S. Tamer Cavusgil, Executive Director of CIBER and Turkey task force member, was “encouraged by the range of experience, expertise and high-level contacts among the participants. We have a solid foundation to build an effective task force that will position Georgia State as a major player in Turkey.”

Yali Zhao, associate professor in the department of Early Childhood Education and China task force member, hopes “OII will continue its passion [and] exciting momentum [by working] closely with deans and chairs to further the various programs.”

The task forces also will coordinate a public event on their respective countries for International Education Week (IEW), Nov. 12–16 They are being asked to consult university and greater Atlanta resources, including Consuls General, guest lecturers, friendship and business organizations, and technical experts, to develop interesting and engaging events for the Georgia State community.

Jun Liu, associate provost for International Initiatives, considers the task force meetings a tremendous success and an important step in achieving Goal 5 of the Strategic Plan.

“I am greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm of our faculty who are willing to contribute their time, experience and expertise to help GSU reach out to our strategic countries through these task forces,” he said.

For more information about the Office of International Initiatives and the task forces, please visit

April 17, 2012