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UCEAP Alumni and Friends

 A Note from Vivian-Lee Nyitray
UCEAP Associate Vice Provost and Executive DIrector

October 2017

September 11, a national day of remembrance, had a bit of additional significance for UCEAP this year. Facilitated by Grace Boda of Vital Partnerships, members of UCEAP’s Advisory Council and the leads for strategic workgroups met with the Campus Administrative Directors from all 9 undergraduate campuses for a daylong retreat in which we reviewed our partnerships, policies, and procedures as part of a new long-range planning process to increase student participation in UCEAP programs to a goal of 10,000 students annually. In the coming months, there will be tweaks and changes to some of UCEAP’s financial and operational structures, all of which will be discussed, shared, and rolled out with an eye toward optimal timing for all parties.

In reaching UCEAP’s earlier goal of 5,000 students, every staff member at the system-wide office, on the campuses, and at our Study Centers exerted themselves mightily and should feel proud of that accomplishment. Now we aspire to send 10,000 students abroad. And the questions arises: “Why?” Why, indeed. What need does this number satisfy? What does this number signify? In my view, the response harkens back to 9/11, a day on which forces of ignorance, fear, exclusion, dehumanization, and destruction reigned—or attempted to. The legacy of that day lingers still, and may even be strengthening in the perceived decrease of respect for knowledge, civility, and diplomacy. That’s why I want to send 10,000 UC students abroad through UCEAP and another 20,000 through campus-based programs. I want thousands of students out there gaining the enlarged perspective and enriched experience that comes from engaging those from different cultures. I want them all to know how California and the US look from beyond our borders, and I want them all to offer a different view to outside observers. I want them to hear other languages and be inspired to learn them—even a little. In China, the number 10,000 has long been used to signify “a very large number” or even “every” or “all.” “May you live 10,000 years!” is a common wish for longevity, and a popular New Year’s wish is “May the 10,000 things be as you want them!” To think of “10,000” UCEAP students abroad is to imagine a vibrant and mobile world of intellectual and cultural exchange happening everywhere, yet person by person. Education abroad by itself doesn’t ease racial tensions, solve the world’s problems, or bring peace among nations. But it can help. 

 

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