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K-State Today

February 7, 2020

K-State-Australia Initiative receive recognition by Institute of International Education

Submitted by Mary Pyle

The Institute of International Education, or IIE, recently awarded the Kansas State-Australian Initiative and Oz to Oz Program with an Andrew Heiskell Awards honorable mention in the International Partnerships category

The institute presented four awards and three honorable mentions, which represent a broad diversity of higher education institutions in the institute's network. The awards were announced on Jan. 27 and recognize the most innovative and impactful models for internationalization of campuses, study abroad and international partnership programs.

"This is a wonderful validation of the Australian Initiative and Oz to Oz Program's excellence by one of the leading, long-standing international education organizations in the world — the Institute of International Education," said Grant Chapman, associate provost international programs office. 

To build closer ties with Australia and promote international research collaboration, Kansas State set up its two-part Australia Initiative and Oz to Oz Program in 2014 under the leadership of John Leslie, university distinguished professor of plant pathology.

"The relationships that the university has built through this partnership program allow students and faculty to benefit from enhanced global opportunities and shared research," Leslie said.

The program offers Australian researchers a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences or a Fulbright Senior Scholar to come to Kansas State University. The other half of the initiative is the Oz to Oz Program, which invites Australians with existing U.S. Fulbright awards to come to Manhattan, Kansas for short-term visits. The scholars, ranging from many disciplines, meet and interact with students, faculty, administrators and community members to build mutual understanding and further internationalizing the campus.

"The core of the program is the relationship with the Australian-American Fulbright Commission, which ties in nicely with Kansas State's internationalization strategic vision," Chapman said.

According to Leslie, the U.S. Ambassador to Australia at the time of the program's creation, Jeff Bleich, now retired U.S. Ambassador and current chair of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, provided tremendous support and collaboration to get it started. 

"Great congratulations to Kansas State University on this well-deserved recognition from IIE," Bleich said. "It was a real pleasure to visit the campus this year and see all of the people who have made this happen. A terrific initiative that has been superbly executed. I'm hopeful that more and more places will follow your lead either with other countries or academic disciplines."