April 14, 2003

ICIS, OIA hand out honors to students, faculty, alumni

Lailee Mendelson is communications specialist for the Office of International Affairs

It is a testament to Emory’s increasing engagement with the world that two annual awards receptions now celebrate the varied international activities of faculty, students, staff and alumni.

On April 1, the Institute for Comparative and International Studies (ICIS) hosted its second-annual awards night in Winship Ballroom. Gordon Newby, executive director of ICIS, began the event by congratulating all of the nearly 100 guests, which included Emory College students, faculty and staff.

“I wish all of you here could receive an award,” Newby said, “because you are participating in internationalizing Emory. And if you watch the news, you know that this is one of the most important things we could be doing right now.”

More than 25 students and faculty members were recognized for their work in several international areas. Students Pearl Wu and Amanda Gish received awards for their achievements in study abroad. Ron Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English, received the Service to Study Abroad Award for his nearly three decades of work promoting international experiences for undergraduates.

In area studies, awards went to students Philip Jones (African studies), Samit Shah (Asian studies), Reem Marto (Middle Eastern studies), David Buxton (vernacular modernities) and anthropology postdoctoral student Carla Jones (vernacular modernities).

Student Minh Le and senior lecturer in the department of Spanish and Portuguese Vialla Hartfield-Méndez took home awards for their outreach work with the immigrant student population of Cary Reynolds Elementary School.

The following students were recognized for their achievement in language learning: Reem Marto (Arabic), Michelle DeBlieck and Meg Rithmire (Chinese), Sang Hee Kim (ESL), Charles Andrew Kearns (French), Jessica Lawson (German), Benjamin Bayer (Greek), Leora Fischer (Hebrew), Aamera Thazyeen (Hindi), Joseph Dee and Nicholas George (Italian), Eugine Oh (Japanese), Brie Allaman (Latin), Amy Malek (Persian), Sally Chambers (Sanskrit) and Takiyah Tate (Spanish). Kristen Brustad, associate professor of Middle Eastern studies, was presented with the Excellence in Language Teaching Award.

Two nights later, on April 3, 150 guests gathered at the Miller-Ward Alumni House for the Office of International Affairs’ (OIA) annual awards dinner. The venue signaled a recent addition to OIA’s awards night: the Sheth Distinguished International Alumni Award, now in its second year. The Sheth award, created by the family of Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing in Goizueta Business School, honors Emory’s international alumni who have gone on to achieve prominence in universities, governments, private sectors and/or non-governmental organizations around the world.

This year’s award was presented to Ecuadorian biologist Eugenia del Pino Veintimilla (’72G) in recognition of her outstanding contributions to teaching, research and conservation. Del Pino, who heads a research program at the Pontifical Catholic University in Quito, has collaborated for 30 years with the Charles Darwin Foundation, an organization dedicated to the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. Her pioneering research into the developmental biology of the marsupial tree frog has garnered several international prizes, including the 2000 L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science.

Also presented that evening was the Marion V. Creekmore Award for Internationalization, which honors an Emory faculty or staff member who has contributed to the University’s internationalization. This year’s recipient was H. Kenneth Walker, professor of medicine and associate professor of neurology, for his commitment of time and energy to improving health care in the Republic of Georgia.

For more than a decade, Walker has been co-director of the Atlanta-Tbilisi Healthcare Partnership, a collaborative effort between institutions in the newly independent nation of Georgia and their Atlanta counterparts, including the School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health.

Established in 1992, the partnership contributes medical expertise, manpower and supplies to Georgia, whose healthcare and medical education systems have been devastated by civil war and economic crisis since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

“This is a particularly important time in the United States for us to be concerned about our involvement with and understanding of the rest of the world,” said interim Provost Woody Hunter in his closing remarks, “With bringing the world to Emory, and taking Emory out beyond our cocoon.” Hunter thanked both award recipients for doing just that.