Two Honored With International Excellence Awards

Two Honored With International Excellence Awards

By Suzanne PanferovCenter for English as a Second Language
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Two University of Arizona employees have been honored for their devotion to international education and outreach.

Christian Sinclair, assistant director of the UA's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, has been presented with the International Excellence in Service Award and UA professor Linda R. Waugh has received the International Excellence in Education Award.

Both were recognized last month during the UA's celebration of International Education Week, which featured the dedication of a "peace pole" just north of Old Main.

The UA Center for English as a Second Language hands out the award annually to coincide with International Education Week.

The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education – collaborators for the national event – noted on a dual-agency Web site that promoted the week that it "is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide."

This year's theme, "International Education: Fostering Global Responsibility and Leadership," emphasized the role of universities in providing a venue for dialogue across many cultures.

"I am very proud to have gotten the award since there are many people on campus who are doing excellent work in international education," Waugh said.

Waugh's wide-ranging interdisciplinary interests regarding language in all of its different facets have driven her research, as well as her leadership, in cultivating a world famous top-ranked program in Second Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics.

The UA "really is a premier institution for internationalism," said Waugh, who teaches French, English, anthropology, linguistics plus courses in the language, reading and culture department.

"This is very important, given the fact that we live in a world where contact between different nations, different cultures, different languages is becoming more and more common," said Waugh, who also co-directs the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy, or CERCLL.

Foreign language and culture studies are a key focus of the strategic plan at the UA, which established a Confucius Institute in a collaboration with the Office of Chinese Language Council International.

Also, the UA has an international student body of more than 2,300 who have come from about 120 countries.

Sinclair said it was a "great honor" to be recognized for his work.

He brings vast expertise in issues of international communication and understanding and said one of his key interests is in how learning another language is tied to learning another culture.

"I've done a lot of work overseas, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa," said Sinclair, who added that his center is devoted to promoting a greater understanding of the Middle East.

"Without understanding the cultures and the languages of that part of the world I would not have been able to accomplish all that I did," he added. "Regional expertise is an invaluable tool when working in a particular region or dealing with people from that region. Cultural empathy is built on that knowledge and experience."

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