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Release: Immediate

Cross-cultural understanding awards to be presented May 16 at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Office of International Education and Services (OIES) will present this year's Mariko Mizuhara Awards for Cross-Cultural Understanding during the upcoming foreign student graduation luncheon.

The luncheon will be at noon Friday, May 16, in the International Center Lounge. This year's Mizuhara Award winners are Iowa City residents Luis Sierra and Linda Walking Woman. Each will receive a $200 award.

The awards are given in memory of Mariko Mizuhara, a music major from Japan who died unexpectedly in 1992. Mizuhara was a student at the UI from 1988-1992. Awards are given each year to an individual or organization who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and participation in promoting cross-cultural understanding, appreciation of diversity on campus and in the local community.

The keynote speaker at the luncheon will be Raul Curto, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a professor of mathematics. OIES Foreign Student Adviser Claire Cardwell will present the awards. Michael McNulty, associate provost for international programs, and OIES Director Stephen Arum also will speak at the event.

Approximately 227 foreign students are graduating from the UI this month, representing countries as diverse as China, Taiwan, Korea, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Germany, according to Gary Althen, OIES assistant director for foreign student and scholar advising.

"One of the things that's interesting is that some of the students' families will come and be with them," Althen said. "Typically, it's a very happy event. It has a nice atmosphere about it."

The event is hosted by the OIES Key Internationals Program, which serves as a link between the UI and its alumni living abroad. The reception has been made possible with a bequest from the late UI alumna Dr. Leslie Garnett of Cedar Rapids.

"The reception is dedicated annually to Dr. W. Leslie Garnett, who believed strongly that UI graduates will become key people upon their return to their countries," Arum said. "It's a way to celebrate the crowning achievement of students from other countries who have not only earned an academic degree but have accomplished this in another culture and language and shared their culture with us."

OIES provides foreign student advising and educational and study abroad programming, and works to increase the cross-cultural understanding and skills of UI students, faculty and community members. Approximately 2,000 students and scholars representing an estimated 100 countries study at the UI, and more than 400 UI students study abroad each year in programs and exchanges in more than 35 countries.

OIES is located in the UI International Center, which can be reached by car at the end of Ferson Avenue off Park Road in Iowa City, or by foot up the stairway from Riverside Drive.

For more information, call Claire Cardwell at (319)335-0335.