Finland welcomes one of Kent State’s own

Angelo Gargaro

Geography professor David Kaplan speaks to about 80 students and faculty at the University of Helsinki in Finland’s symposium in September. Kaplan said the goal for the symposium was to show people the best way to communicate their ideas to an internation

Credit: Ron Soltys

The University of Helsinki in Finland invited speakers from all over the world for a symposium in September. Two were from the United States. One was a Kent State professor.

Geography professor David Kaplan visited Finland for one week. During his stay, he gave a speech on publishing ideas and editing journals to about 80 students and faculty.

Kaplan recently edited a journal called National Identities.

“That’s probably why they wanted me to come out,” Kaplan said. “As a journal editor, I am sort of better qualified to talk about how you go about publishing for a journal.”

Jay Lee, chair of Kent State’s geography department, showed his support for his faculty speaking overseas.

“The university as a whole is trying to gain international status,” Lee said. “We want to increase our visibility internationally.”

Lee will be going to Taiwan this spring to teach. He also takes students every spring break to China.

“That results in many positive outcomes,” Lee said. “I know several students went on to making many more international trips.”

People like Kaplan, who travel to other countries and share their knowledge and expertise, not only help spread their scholarship, but also help extend Kent State’s name.

Kaplan said there are not many people outside Finland who speak Finish. Most classes at the University of Helsinki are taught in English. This is why the university wanted to get the two key speakers from North America.

“They may conduct certain classes in Finish,” Kaplan said. “In terms of their own professional development, they know the best thing is to write in English for an international audience – so they’re more concerned with publishing outside of Finland.”

Kaplan said the goal for the symposium was to show people the best way to communicate their ideas to an international audience.

“There was a lot to admire about the students that I met there,” Kaplan said. “They were all presenting, and they all did it in English.”

Kaplan mentioned that one of the most interesting things about the symposium was the amount of people from other countries.

“There was a student from England who actually came to Helsinki to study about colonial America,” Kaplan said. “I said to him, ‘Why don’t you just go to Massachusetts?’ He said his girlfriend was in Helsinki.”

Kaplan said he has done a lot of editing in his years, and it has been a big part of his scholarship. This helped make his speech more enjoyable.

“I never really talked about it,” Kaplan said. “I never actually had to put my thoughts together and present. I guess in some ways that was very satisfying.”

He said this is something he enjoys doing. He hopes to go back to Finland or other countries soon to continue giving speeches on his editing.

Contact the College of the Arts and Sciences reporter Angelo Gargaro at [email protected].