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Volume 12, Edition 7: April 2013 *20 year Anniversary*

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Staff Highlight: "Visit to Malaysia"

By Nor Othman-LeSaux, IPC Program Coordinator

My trip to Malaysia during the recent Chinese New Year celebration (aka “Gong Xi Fa Cai”) in February of this year proved to be very informative and fruitful. First, thanks to Nurliyana Bukhari, a Malaysian PhD student at UNCG’s School of Education who initiated the communication, I was able to meet with her mentor, Dr. Rosna Awang-Hashim, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & International) and Ms. Norimah Alias, Special Officer to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & International) from the Universiti Utara Malaysia (UMM). At the meeting in the heart of Kuala Lumpur at UUM’s satellite office, we discussed potential collaborations and partnerships between UUM and UNCG.

Similarly, I was able to meet with Dr. Imran Ho-Abdullah (Director) and Ms. Zie Fazleen Hashim (Senior Assistant Registrar) of the Office of International Relations at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), to gather information about possible future collaborations between UKM and UNCG.

Nor meets with Dr. Imran Ho-Abdullah (center) and Ms. Zie Fazleen Hashim (right) of the Office of International Relations at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) A visit to the Malaysian-American Commission for Educational Exchange (MACEE) and saying “hello” to Dr. James Coffman, Executive Director of the commission and the Malaysian Fulbright program

These fact-finding missions were complemented with a meeting with Dr. James Coffman, the Executive Director for the Malaysian-American Commission for Educational Exchange (MACEE) and the Fulbright programs in Malaysia, in which we spoke about the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program in Malaysia and a few recruitment strategies for American universities interested in penetrating the Malaysian higher education market.

I was also very happy to meet with UNCG’s visiting scholar for this semester, Dr. Sharifah Latifah Syed Abdul Kadir from Universiti Malaya. I spoke with her about life at UNCG and in Greensboro to help her prepare for her trip here in March. Dr. Sharifah is here to collaborate with Dr. Prashant Palvia who, in the past, was a visiting scholar at Universiti Malaya. Dr. Sharifah is hosted by the Information Systems and Operations Management (ISOM) department of the School of Bryan of Business and Economics.

The highlight of my visit was the opportunity to meet with five American Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) who attended my niece’s wedding ceremony. Elizabeth D. Soltan (Cornell University), Amanda Ussak (George Washington University), Katie Schmittauer (Ohio University), Hannah Boeck (Concordia University), Amy Holiday (Tulane University), and I spoke about their experiences as Fulbright ETAs in the Malaysian rural schools. According to Dr. Coffman, there are currently 75 American Fulbright ETAs in Malaysia and, for 2012-2013, Malaysia ranks third after Germany (140 awards) and South Korea (80 awards). This number is likely to increase to 100 awards for the Fulbright ETA program in Malaysia next year. In fact, UNCG is very happy to announce that our own graduating senior Aisha Crawford has been selected to participate in the 2013 - 2014 American Fulbright ETA program in Malaysia. Congratulations, Aisha, and all the best to you!

Nor Othman (far left) hosts five American Fulbright ETA students who came dressed in the Malaysian traditional costumes (“baju kurung”) before the Malaysian wedding solemnization ceremony American Fulbright ETA students (Liz, Amanda, Katie, Hannah, and Amy) with Nur Zarith Sofia and her husband, Azfar (center), right after the couple was announced “man and wife”

Overall, the trip to Malaysia was a memorable and rewarding experience which I hope will lead to long lasting partnerships between UNCG and its new friends.

If you are interested to know more about the Fulbright ETA program or any of the Fulbright programs, please contact Steve Flynn, UNCG Fulbright Student Adviser at stflynn@uncg.edu.

If you would like to know more about Malaysia, you can email me at naothman@uncg.edu.

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