Fall 2019: Welcome Message

Dear Friends of International Affairs:

This is one of KU’s most exciting times as we prepare to welcome new and returning students and faculty to campus. As we look forward to the upcoming academic year, we stand poised to do great work.

This summer, we hosted short-term programs for visiting students from China, K-12 teachers from Brazil, as well as international Hubert Humphrey Fellows who have just departed Lawrence for their graduate programs across the United States. We also launched a new summer program for Mexican students who conducted science and engineering research with KU faculty advisors. We provided all these groups with linguistic, cultural, academic, and professional training to help them take the next step in their lives and careers, but also to connect them in a foundational way with the people of the United States. These programs represent the finest efforts of our nation in terms of citizen-to-citizen diplomacy and bridge building.

KU also had the honor of hosting the 2019 national Fulbright Pre-Departure Orientation program of the U.S. Department of State for grantees heading to Western Europe, Central Europe, and Eurasia this July. Over 230 U.S. Fulbrighters, now heading off on their Fulbright grants, came to Lawrence to learn from our faculty regional specialists and international affairs staff, as well as to connect with U.S. Department of state leadership and program administrators from the Institute of International Education. Most notably, the presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board came to Lawrence to participate in the program and to meet our out-bound leaders from across the U.S. These participants will forever associate the University of Kansas with one of the most transformational experiences of their lives.

Last week we welcomed to campus 129 new umbrella, all international graduate students to KU from 35 countries, and this week we are ready to welcome over 300 new international undergraduate students to campus. This group of incoming new international students will be historical for KU as it stands to be our most diverse incoming international class in KU history. This success is evidence that KU is more present around the world than ever and that our university brand and reputation remains strong. To be growing in international enrollment at this time and in our region sets the University of Kansas apart.

KU also received a $400,000 continuation grant from the Freeman Foundation to manage the Freeman Foundation Scholarship for East Asia Internships program. That’s $400,000 in outside funding that goes entirely to KU students to support their participation in internships across the East Asian region over the next two years. This is the third consecutive two-year renewal grant Study Abroad and Global Engagement has earned from the Freeman Foundation, which is a testament to their responsible stewardship of these funds and to the remarkable performance of our students.

Welcome to a new academic year at the University of Kansas. We continue to work at the forefront among those universities fully engaged in campus internationalization and our realignment sets us up for success in the ever-changing world of international education. I look forward to our continued collaboration and I invite you to partnering with the KU community to continually expand upon and enhance our internationalization initiatives.


Charles A. S. Bankart
Associate Vice Provost for International Programs