Gerald H. Read Center celebrates 30 years

Hannah Wagner

The Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education will celebrate its 30-year anniversary throughout 2017 to acknowledge the center’s accomplishments and milestones.

Linda Robertson, director of the Center for International and Intercultural education, said the center has adapted to the changing needs of society since opening in 1987 and wants people to be aware of all its accomplished and hopefully grow the endowment.

“It gives us an important part of recognizing what the center does for the University,” Robertson said. “It’s part of our goal right now to become better known within the university structure, as well as the community at large.”

Graduate Assistant Shakhnoza Yakubova said she has been with the Gerald. H. Read Center for three years and feels it’s helped her gain experience she believes she could not get anywhere else.

“I think it’s a unique place where I get to work with a very diverse population, including students, faculty and the community,” Yakubova said. “When you are able to work with people of different cultural backgrounds it helps you to grow professionally and personally.”

Robertson said the center has a lot to be proud of: becoming the first center to travel study in Cuba, hosting the International Leaders in Education Program for 11 years and serving as the first in the world to incorporate an International Baccalaureate program in an early childhood program.

The first event, Change Is In Our Hands, features visiting scholars from the Philippines and Mexico to talk about how telephones and social media are changing their societies. This event will be open to students, staff and faculty will take place on Thursday, Feb 2. from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in room 200 at White Hall.

The following event is centered around a public presentation by visiting Humphrey Fellows. This will take place on Friday, Feb. 3. from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in room 200 at White Hall. After this event, there will be a private dinner for the scholars, faculty advisory council and selected invitees.

“We do so much in this office like working with refugees, visiting scholars, study abroad or the local community,” Yakubova said. “I think this is a way of celebrating what we do and honoring the people we work with.”

Robertson said their most recent hallmark is the visiting scholars program.

“We think out visiting scholars program is exemplary and unique,” Robertson said. “It’s one of our new signature parts of the center.”

Robertson said the internationally-presented program is unique because of the high number of participants and sense of community within the group.

Mark Kretovics, interim dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services said the accomplishments of the center stem from the history and founder, Gerald H. Read’s, initiatives.

Later on in the year, Robertson plans to hold another event on May 4 and 5 with the professional advisory board to talk about future plans with the center.

“We plan to invite experts and elected officials to that meeting to try to get a better understanding of where we are with world issues and how to go forward.” Robertson said.

The last celebration will be in the fall when the professional advisory board will meet in Cuba. This celebrates the legacy of Gerald H. Read looking at rural education in Cuba today while making it a study tour open to students.

Hannah Wagner is the education, health, and human services reporter. Contact her at [email protected].