International Division – UW–Madison University of Wisconsin–Madison Thu, 27 Feb 2020 15:30:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UW–Madison ranked 1st in producing Peace Corps volunteers Thu, 27 Feb 2020 15:29:58 +0000 The Peace Corps has announced that for the fourth year in a row, the University of Wisconsin–Madison is No. 1 on the agency’s list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities in 2020. There are 79 Badgers currently volunteering around the world.

Since the agency’s founding in 1961, around 3,369 alumni from University of Wisconsin–Madison have served abroad as Peace Corps volunteers. There are 279 volunteers from Wisconsin currently serving worldwide; 6,425 Wisconsinites have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

“UW–Madison is proud of these Badgers, who are working to better the lives of people around the world,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “These volunteers build ties with the communities they serve, creating lasting relationships that strengthen global connections for years to come.”


Read the full story originally published by Steven Barcus.

UW–Madison shares support for the Hmong community Wed, 19 Feb 2020 18:43:49 +0000 Translations available
नेपाली Nepali   中文 Chinese    Español    Hmoob 

UW–Madison is expressing support and sharing resources for Hmong community members following news reports that the federal government has opened negotiations that would allow the U.S. to deport certain Hmong residents to Laos.

“We support and value all members of our community, especially our Hmong members during this period,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

The negotiations are around a repatriation agreement that would allow the U.S. to more easily deport 4,500 non-citizens who have committed crimes or have deportation orders against them. More than 49,000 Hmong live in Wisconsin, including a vibrant community in Madison.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and other elected officials and community leaders have opposed the negotiations, calling on the U.S. State Department to reconsider the action.

If you are a student who would like to talk to someone in response to this or any other situation, you may contact the Dean of Students office at (608) 263-5700 or or the Multicultural Student Center at (608) 262-4503

Counseling or crisis support as a result of this incident or any other situation may be obtained by calling University Health Services Counseling and Consultation Services at (608) 265-5600 or drop-in between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you need immediate assistance after hours or on weekends, please call the UHS Crisis Line at (608) 265-5600, option 9. For more information, visit

Staff and faculty who would like to talk to someone in response to this or any other situation may contact the Employee Assistance Office at (608) 263-2987 or visit Employees can also contact Cultural Linguistic Services via Jzong Thao at 608-263-2217.

For local resources, please view the following links:

In addition, UW is reiterating information on its policies and practices:

  • UW–Madison will not provide information on immigration status of its students, faculty or staff unless required to do so.
  • The UW–Madison Police Department (UWPD) will not participate in immigration enforcement actions conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (ICE). Campus resources are limited and such enforcement is not part of UWPD’s mission, duties or philosophy. UWPD will only participate in immigration-related investigations if an individual has committed serious crimes which impact the campus.
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers must use appropriate legal processes if they are on campus and wish to contact individual students about enforcement-related issues.
Bonding over Bieber: Small connections create big impacts in the Peace Corps Tue, 18 Feb 2020 16:07:38 +0000 As a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers, many UW–Madison alums and Wisconsinites across the state hold the organization close to heart. UW–Madison will host a series of events on campus and in the community, March 1–7 as part of Peace Corps Week, a national celebration of the 59th anniversary of the Peace Corps. The week offers an array of events including films, a story slam, and informational sessions, wrapping up with the Annual Freeze for Food 5K/10K run/walk.

Preceding the celebrations, the UW–Madison International Division spoke with Lenai Johnson, one of more than 3,200 Badgers who have contributed to the legacy of Peace Corps. Johnson is a UW–Madison alum serving with Peace Corps in the Philippines, where she works with survivors of gender-based violence. Her Peace Corps journey began with a study abroad experience in South Africa. Now, she acts as a role model to girls across the globe.

UW–Madison International Division (UW ID): What sparked your interest in volunteering with Peace Corps?

Lenai Johnson: While I had heard about Peace Corps many times growing up, I never started to consider it a real possibility until my junior year when I was studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Realizing my interest in international affairs, I began thinking about what I wanted to do after undergrad. I’ve known for quite a while that I want to attend law school in the future, but during my Study Abroad experience I realized that I wanted time between finishing college and pursuing law school.

I became interested in finding opportunities that could combine my passions for both international human rights and for serving others. Peace Corps stood out as an opportunity that would allow me to pursue both passions while broadening my language skills and cultural understanding and allowing me to travel abroad in the process.

“While we have done many successful (and quite a few unsuccessful — that just comes with being a Peace Corps Volunteer) activities, the moments that stick with me the most are truly the small ones.”

ID: Did you have the option to choose your location or field of study?

LJ: Yes, I did have the option to choose both my location and the sector that I work in! While Peace Corps still offers volunteers the option to be sent wherever they’re needed, and many volunteers still do select this option, I knew that for me to be successful in my service, I needed to be the one to make that decision for myself.

When beginning my search into what posts and positions Peace Corps offered, I came to find that the Youth in Development sector (known as the Children, Youth, and Family (CYF) services sector here in the Philippines) piqued my interest the most. This helped me narrow down the number of countries to consider, and eventually, I was deciding between Peru, Morocco, and the Philippines. Ultimately, I chose the Philippines because the work that the CYF sector does here (working with Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL), survivors of human trafficking, street youth, and many more populations) aligned with my career interests the best.

Johnson with her coworkers at a trauma-informed care training session. The group works with survivors of gender-based violence to improve their quality of life and empower them with skills.

ID: What type of work do you do as Youth Development Facilitator?

LJ: I work at a residential center for survivors of gender-based violence, with most of our clients having cases that involve sexual abuse and/or human trafficking. My role at the center is to help create activities and programs that improve the clients’ quality of life and capacitate them with skills they can use when they are discharged from the center. The projects that I’ve worked on so far include assisting the older girls at the center with facilitating monthly life skills sessions, starting monthly therapeutic activities, drafting and implementing the center’s behavioral management program, assisting in presenting advocacy sessions throughout my province to raise awareness about gender-based violence, and planning various camps and workshops for the girls.

My favorite time of year at the center is during the summer, despite the insane heat, because it means the girls are out of school and we’re able to do a lot more activities! An activity we did last summer that stuck with me, and the girls constantly bring up how much they enjoyed, was our GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp. GLOW Camps are implemented worldwide by Peace Corps Volunteers, and with the material relating so closely to the work that we do here, my counterpart and I thought it would be a great activity for the girls. The camp was three days long, and we covered topics ranging from women’s empowerment to women’s health, to overcoming trauma, and many more. Our final activity was a mural that we created together to allow the girls to reflect on the lessons that they had learned from the camp. Seeing how much the girls engaged with the material, became more confident in themselves and were more supportive of each other as a result of the camp was truly amazing to see.

Johnson with her counterpart during Peace Corps Project Design Management training. Johnson graduated from UW-Madison in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology and Legal Studies, and a certificate in Criminal Justice.

While we have done many successful (and quite a few unsuccessful — that just comes with being a Peace Corps Volunteer) activities, the moments that stick with me the most are truly the small ones. Having one of my clients tell me that she passed a test that I had helped her prepare for all week, or seeing how much more confident the girls are in using their English around me, or just hanging out with the girls and bonding over our love of Justin Bieber—these moments are the ones that mean the most to me. Something I’ve come to realize in Peace Corps is that oftentimes volunteers don’t see the result of their service during the time they’re on site, and that learning to celebrate the small successes and being confident that our time with our communities is making a difference is what Peace Corps is all about.

ID: Who do you live with during your time in the Philippines?

LJ: For Peace Corps Philippines, we live with a host family during our 3 months of training at the beginning of our service and for the first 3 months at our sites. Volunteers have the option, after discussing with their host families of course, whether to move out after those first three months or to remain with their host families for the rest of their service. A big rule with independent housing is that volunteers aren’t allowed to live together so it doesn’t hinder their integration. So, living with a host family can be instrumental to making sure that you are integrated into your community.

I ultimately decided that it was best for me to move into independent housing so that I had more privacy and a place that was all my own on the days I needed to decompress. I currently live in a small boarding house that has four to five other boarders, depending on the time of year. The other girls who live at the boarding house are a little older than me and have all taken me under their wings. The boarding house is owned by a family that has become almost like a host family to me: inviting me to meals, taking me to events in the community, and coming into my room to clean it while I’m gone. I truly feel like I have the best of both worlds with my living situation, and I’m really glad I made the decision to move into independent housing.

ID: How have you responded to the change of lifestyle that comes with being part of the Peace Corps?

LJ: At the end of the day no matter how perfect your site placement, work, or host family is, living in a new country with a culture very different from your own is going to present challenges. There’s a reason Peace Corps is referred to as “The hardest job you’ll ever love.” I think a large part of the reason that I have been able to cope with and manage the challenges that arise at my site is that I came into Peace Corps expecting those challenges and ready to try to figure out how to work through them. Aside from that, I have found that the ability to listen and understand our communities is vital to a successful Peace Corps service.

Something our Program Manager told my sector at the beginning of our training is that the first three to six months of service we shouldn’t be focused on getting any projects started, we should just focus on listening. While that may seem a little strange, having taken the time to listen and learn about the center that I am working at, find out about what issues the clients and staff think are most pressing, and to really get to know everyone at my job, I’ve been able to lay the groundwork for the rest of my projects. I understand how the center operates and what needs to be prioritized when thinking about my projects, and I have taken the time to build trust with my community members, and that has made implementing projects so much easier.

Lastly, and I truly cannot stress this enough, patience may be the most important quality in helping me overcome the challenges that Peace Corps presents. As Peace Corps Volunteers, we encounter many situations that may be frustrating or that clash with the cultures that we come from — this is inevitable. There are days when these situations can be harder than others to manage, but remembering to go into each situation with patience and a willingness to try to understand has helped me navigate even the most difficult situations in my service.

ID: You were a PEOPLE scholar. Did that experience impact your time at UW–Madison or your interest in Peace Corps?

LJ: Being a PEOPLE scholar has truly impacted my life in so many ways and I am forever grateful for everything that they’ve done for me. Coming into UW–Madison, I was shocked by the lack of diversity on campus. Having lived in Madison my whole life, I was surprised to find that the number of multicultural students on campus in no way matched up with the diversity of the rest of Madison. The PEOPLE Program provided me a safe space with peers that had similar backgrounds to my own, and this community is something I relied on throughout my entire college career. Having that community at UW–Madison was vital to my success as a student, and while the PEOPLE Program may not have directly impacted my decision to pursue Peace Corps, it did provide me with opportunities that led me here. Learn more about Peace Corps and Peace Corps at UW–Madison.


Editor’s note: Learn more about opportunities to serve and celebrate UW-Madison’s legacy of service during Peace Corps Week, March 1-7!


UW–Madison to celebrate 59th anniversary of Peace Corps Fri, 14 Feb 2020 15:23:27 +0000 The nation can take pride knowing that the Peace Corps has made a difference in the lives of people around the world for almost 60 years. But with more than 3,200 Badgers and over 6,300 Wisconsinites overall having served, the legacy of the Peace Corps is especially meaningful in Madison and across the state.

Peace Corps logo“For 59 years the Peace Corps has shown the world that volunteerism, service, and mutual respect are important qualities in a thriving society,” said Kate Schachter, UW–Madison campus recruiter. “Through the Peace Corps, UW–Madison alumni expand the Wisconsin Idea beyond the boundaries of the nation and bring valuable experiences and partnerships back to Wisconsin and the U.S.”

UW–Madison will host a series of events on campus and in the community from Mar. 1–7 as part of Peace Corps Week, a national celebration of the 59th anniversary of the Peace Corps.

The week offers ample opportunity for students and the public to expand their worldviews and learn what it means to serve in the Peace Corps through special events including a story slam, informational sessions, and a 5K/10K/Walk benefitting Open Doors for Refugees.
Informational sessions and application workshops are planned for early in the week. On Wed., Mar. 4., the 6th annual Peace Corps Story Slam will take place from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at The Rigby in Madison. This year’s theme for the Story Slam is “The Tipping Point.” Returned volunteers will have 5 minutes to share engaging and entertaining stories from their service revolving around their personal “aha!” moment during their service. Entry fee is a $5 donation or two non-perishable food items. Students get in free.

On Fri., Mar. 6, stop by Bascom Hall 260 between noon–5 p.m. for the “Human Library,” a drop-in open house affair. Ask questions to returned volunteers who served in regions around the globe. The UW Peace Corps recruiter will be available to discuss how to serve. Members of the community are also welcome to discuss opportunities in the Peace Corps with the UW recruiter.

The week’s events will wrap up on Sat., Mar. 7, at Vilas Park with the Annual Freeze for Food 5K/10K/Walk. Participate to raise funds for food security projects related to refugees in Wisconsin. The events are chip-timed and awards will be given to top male and female participants in each age group. Advanced registration is recommended.

The community is also finding ways to get involved in Peace Corps Week. In addition to cosponsoring many of the events planned by Peace Corps at UW–Madison, the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) of Madison will host a screening of A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps, followed by a panel discussion at The Marquee Cinema at Union South at 6:30 p.m. on Mar. 3. The screening is free and open to the public.

UW–Madison is the #2 all-time producer of volunteers and was recognized by the Peace Corps in 2019 for more volunteers coming from UW–Madison than any other institution. Learn more about the Peace Corps at UW–Madison and Peace Corps Week at

About the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since the founding of Peace Corps, more than 235,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide. For more information, visit

EU AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. TO SPEAK AT UW–MADISON Thu, 13 Feb 2020 20:11:39 +0000 As the U.S. expands its own goals for growth and prosperity, continuing a productive relationship with partners around the world will be of paramount importance. The relationship between the European Union and the United States has significance for both entities in the realms of security, trade, and international politics.

The future of the relationship between the United States and the European Union will be the focus of when EU Ambassador to the U.S. Stavros Lambrinidis visits campus on Feb. 17 for a fireside chat with Jean Monnet Chair and Professor of Political Science Nils Ringe,“Adapting the EU-U.S. Relationship to New Challenges.” The event, held from 4–5:30 p.m. at the Pyle Center, is free and open to the public.

“While the transatlantic partnership has come under strain in the recent past, it continues to be the capstone of international economics, security and diplomatic cooperation,” Ringe said. “Working in concert, the U.S. and EU can bring about substantial change around the world and jointly advance their shared interests and values, even in times when crises abound—perhaps especially in those times. The visit of the ambassador signals how UW–Madison remains at the forefront of European and European Union studies in the U.S., and more importantly, reflects the recognition and status of the state of Wisconsin and our university worldwide.”

The ambassador will arrive at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on Feb. 17 as part of a two-day trip to Wisconsin, where he will meet with individuals on campus, as well as local and state politicians and leaders.

Lambrinidis, an attorney by training who specializes in arbitration and international trade, has filled roles such as foreign affairs minister of Greece, member of the European Parliament for the Greek Social Democratic Party, and European Union special representative for human rights (2012–2019).

The European Union Delegation in Washington, D.C. chose to visit Madison in part because of UW–Madison’s EU funded Jean Monnet Center of Excellence for Comparative Populism, which engages experts worldwide to illuminate the widespread phenomenon of populism in developed and developing democracies. The EU has a longstanding partnership with the university. The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, sponsors the Erasmus + granting competition and funds research, graduate training, and public outreach together with a steady two-way flow of people, projects, and ideas across the Atlantic. Named after the architect of European unity post-1945, Jean Monnet (1888–1979), the Erasmus + granting program has produced a global research network of approximately 100 Centers of Excellence.

This event is sponsored by the Jean-Monnet European Union Center of Excellence. Learn more at

UW–Madison listed as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. students Mon, 10 Feb 2020 21:33:23 +0000 Fulbright Program Student Program Top ProducerUW–Madison is proud to be included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2019–2020 Fulbright U.S. Students.

Each year the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the lists annually.

Thirteen students from UW–Madison received Fulbright awards for academic year 2019–2020, with 53 applications submitted in total. Students selected for awards represent a variety of fields, from ecology and public health to sociology and the fine arts. Recipients are applying their awards in numerous ways, with many working as language and cultural assistants and others conducting research in support of graduate work while enrolled at UW–Madison or as post-baccalaureate independent researchers. Additionally, one student has enrolled in a graduate program in Taiwan and two others are honing skills in installation art in New Zealand, and sculpture in Sweden.

“The opportunities awarded by these prestigious awards are nothing short of transformational,” said Guido Podestá, vice provost and dean of UW–Madison’s International Division. “In addition to the vast academic benefits for participants, the cultural exchanges that take place with people of the host country grow mutual understanding that enhances relations with the U.S. It is wonderful that so many UW–Madison students have been selected with the Fulbright U.S. Student Awards.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at the University of Wisconsin–Madison through the Awards Office in the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS). IRIS is a unit of UW–Madison’s International Division. Learn more about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program at UW–Madison.

About the Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over 2,200 U.S. Students and over 900 U.S. college and university faculty and administrators are awarded Fulbright grants annually. In addition, some 4,000 Fulbright Foreign Students and Visiting Scholars come to the United States annually to study, lecture, conduct research, or teach their native language.

“We are delighted to see that the colleges and universities we are honoring as 2019–2020 Fulbright top producing institutions reflect the geographic and institutional diversity of higher education in the United States,” said Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. “We are committed to the Fulbright Program’s goals of creating lasting professional and personal connections by sending passionate and accomplished U.S. students of all backgrounds to study, research, or teach English in communities throughout the world. These Fulbrighters serve as citizen ambassadors for the United States in their host communities, and we will benefit from the skills, knowledge, and global connections they build on their exchanges long after they return home.”

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given over 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to important international problems. The global network of Fulbrighters fosters mutual understanding between the United States and partner nations, advances knowledge across communities, and improves lives around the globe.

Fulbright is active in more than 160 countries worldwide and partners with participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States. Many of these organizations also provide direct and indirect support. ECA sponsors the Fulbright program, and several non-profit, cooperative partners implement and support the program on the Bureau’s behalf. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

Driven by Earth’s orbit, climate changes in Africa may have aided human migration Tue, 04 Feb 2020 14:50:29 +0000 In 1961, John Kutzbach, then a recent college graduate, was stationed in France as an aviation weather forecaster for the U.S. Air Force. There, he found himself exploring the storied caves of Dordogne, including the prehistoric painted caves at Lascoux.

Thinking about the ancient people and animals who would have gathered in these caves for warmth and shelter, he took up an interest in glaciology. “It was interesting to me, as a weather person, that people would live so close to an ice sheet,” says Kutzbach, emeritus University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Kutzbach went on to a career studying how changes in Earth’s movements through space – the shape of its orbit, its tilt on its axis, its wobble – and other factors, including ice cover and greenhouse gases, affect its climate. Many years after reveling at Ice Age cave art, today he’s trying to better understand how changes in Earth’s climate may have influenced human migration out of Africa.

Read the full story originally published by Kelly April Tyrrell.

Longtime political scientist, scholar on African politics M. Crawford Young dies at 88 Thu, 23 Jan 2020 17:06:45 +0000 M. Crawford Young, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and one of the foremost scholars in the world on African politics, died Jan. 22 in Madison from complications related to congestive heart failure. He was 88.

While the Department of Political Science was Young’s disciplinary base, he was a central figure in the creation of the university’s African Studies Program. His critical early leadership and support helped the program thrive and provided him with an interdisciplinary community of scholars that nurtured his work. He remained actively engaged with the program until his death.

“We have lost a man of towering intellect and an international scholar who was one of a kind,” says UW–Madison Professor Aili Mari Tripp, who worked closely with Young in the political science department and African Studies Program and considered him a mentor. Tripp is the Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies and chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.

Read the full story originally published by Doug Erickson.

UW–Madison celebrates 10-year milestone of institutional partner Mon, 23 Dec 2019 19:11:49 +0000 As Nazarbayev University (NU), located in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, celebrates its 10-year anniversary, students, faculty, and staff at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are celebrating with them as well. UW–Madison is one of NU’s original institutional partners. This provides UW a unique perspective as NU continues growing and building a world class university located in Central Asia.

The UW-NU partnership is administered through the International Division’s International Projects Office and involves numerous units across campus. Currently, under its sixth agreement, UW–Madison works closely with faculty and staff in NU’s School of Sciences and Humanities, provides capacity building and training support for academic staff in a broad range of institutional support services and units, facilitates a cohort of NU students studying at UW through the Visiting International Student Program, and collaborates with the Nazarbayev University Research and Innovation System.

To mark NU’s first decade milestone, Chancellor Blank and Faculty Partnership Director David McDonald offered a message of congratulations.

Clinical trial for Ebola vaccine developed at UW–Madison underway in Japan Tue, 17 Dec 2019 17:20:14 +0000 As of this week, a phase one clinical trial to test a potential new Ebola vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is underway in Japan.

Fifteen healthy young men* will receive two doses of the experimental vaccine. If the first group tolerates the vaccine, an additional group of up to 20 volunteers will receive a higher dose of the vaccine.

“In phase one, the main goal is safety,” says Yoshihiro Kawaoka, professor of pathobiological sciences at the UW–Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, who, with Peter Halfmann, a research associate professor in his lab, created the new vaccine.

Read the full article originally written by Kelly April Tyrrell.