FEBRUARY 11, 2004

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Number of international exchange agreements continues to climb at OU

The University of Oklahoma continues its record-setting expansion of international study opportunities for students, entering into international exchange agreements with 14 universities and institutes in 2002-03 and bringing to 135 the total number of agreements.

OU ranks first in the Big 12 and at the top in the nation in international exchange agreements with countries around the world. OU has exchange agreements with universities in 55 nations.

OU initiated international exchange agreements in 2002-03 with the following: the Universidade para o Desenvolvimento do Estado e da Regiao do Pantanal, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and Universidade Santa Ursula, all in Brazil; the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia; the University of Gloucestershire in England; Mekelle University in Ethiopia; the University of Burgundy in France; the Studio Entropia Institute in Greece; Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan; Philadelphia University and the University of Princess Sumaya, both in Jordan; National Seoul University in Korea; The American University of Technology in Lebanon; and the Universidad Popular Autonoma Del Estado de Puebla in Mexico.

In November OU established its latest summer program, with the University of Perugia, located in the heart of the Umbrian region of Italy, just north of Florence.

"We all realize that the next generation of Americans will live and work in an increasingly international environment,” said OU President David L. Boren. “Our graduates will work with people from all over the world with very different cultural backgrounds. We are proud that OU ranks number one in exchange agreements, which helps prepare students to succeed anywhere on the globe.”

Exchange agreements include student and faculty exchanges and research collaborations, explains Millie Audas, director of the Office of Education Abroad and International Student Exchanges, who also pointed out that exchange agreements are made with institutions that fulfill the linguistic, academic and cultural needs of OU students and that have a safe environment.

Audas said that there has been a recent increase in interest in programs with Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and that participation in programs in Europe and China continue to increase. She noted that, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, OU actually saw an immediate, significant increase in the number of students applying for study abroad opportunities. “That tragic event,” she said, “demonstrated the even more important need to understand, respect and value other cultures, other customs and other religions.”

OU offers $100,000 in Presidential International Travel Fellowships: $75,000 for students and $25,000 for faculty. The program assures that OU students are not prevented by financial status from having the opportunity to study abroad.

Today, OU annually enrolls 1,800 international students from more than 100 nations, placing OU among 100 universities in the United States with over 1,000 international students for the past three decades. Audas attributes much of the diversity of OU’s student body to the success of the university’s exchange program, which she stated has been greatly enhanced by President Boren’s leadership and support of OU’s international dimensions.

Contact: Catherine Bishop, 1-405-325-1543