For three days in June, 25 educators from 17 institutions in nine countries joined NYIT staff and faculty members for NYIT’s first Global Partnership Summit. Organized by NYIT’s Office of Global Engagement, the conference invited participants to discuss opportunities for new or more robust partnerships with NYIT and with each other, including through initiatives such as dual degree programs and student exchange. Rahmat Shoureshi, Ph.D., NYIT provost and vice president for academic affairs, said, “We come from all across the world, but we all have the same goal: to educate the next generation in the best way possible.” He added that, for this generation, “Globalization is a necessity. It’s not a luxury anymore.”
On Saturday morning, the conference kicked off with NYIT administrators showcasing the university’s academic and student support services for international students. Then, participants broke into groups to brainstorm how students at their various institutions could study and even earn degrees in universities outside their native countries. Participants also discussed research collaborations and other methods for establishing formal relationships with one another.
Attendees represented six Western Hemisphere nations (Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico) as well as Lebanon, Turkey, and Sweden. “We invited representatives from these institutions because we are confident that we can help each other through student exchange, research collaboration, or both,” said Emily Rukobo, executive director of Global Engagement. “We want to roll up our sleeves and get to work on real collaborations with these institutions.”
“Overall, [the conference] has been a great educational experience,” said Gerardo Velazquez, professor of architecture and head of strategic partnerships at the Universidad Iberoamericana of Mexico City (IBERO). “I think that the IBERO and NYIT can do interesting things together.”
On Sunday, after touring the Old Westbury campus, the visitors heard presentations from several NYIT faculty members who shared projects that demonstrated NYIT’s breadth of research and academic offerings. (See slideshow.) Conference-goers also shared information about their own institutions and major initiatives of international interest.
The potential for partnerships (such as studying three years in one institution and one year in New York or earning a bachelor’s degree from one school and a master’s degree from NYIT) impressed many of the conference attendees. Velazquez noted that the visit to Old Westbury opened his eyes. “I work in [IBERO’s] school of architecture,” Velazquez said. “When I heard that we were going to Long Island, I thought, ‘Why would I want to go there when Manhattan is such an architectural showcase?’ I was happy and surprised to see what Old Westbury has to offer. We saw the architecture students’ projects, and now I understand why architecture students would want to study in Old Westbury.”
The conference culminated on Monday with “Perspectives on Global Education.” Hosted in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, the plenary session focused on the challenges associated with educating refugees displaced by war and mayhem.