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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
May 10, 2004
Volume 39, Number 15

International Relations moves ahead
Nathanson drives initiative

By Carolyn Gonzales and Laurie Mellas Ramirez

International presence
at UNM on the rise

International students represent 3.4 percent of UNM’s total student body, announced Linda Melville, advisor with the Office of International Programs and Studies recently, noting an increase of 8.7 percent over last year. UNM currently hosts 900 students and 200 visiting scholars from 85 countries with the majority coming from India, China, Japan, Canada, South Korea and Mexico. More than 74 percent of UNM’s international students are graduate students in engineering, computer science, chemistry and Anderson Schools’ MBA program. UNM’s visiting researchers or professors come from China, Germany, India, Canada and Russia. UNM sends approximately 250 U.S. students abroad on short or semester long programs, with the United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain, Australia and France as the most popular destinations.

NathansonAssociate Provost for Academic Affairs Paul Nathanson has been assigned to lead the Provost’s Task Force on International Relations, formerly the UNM Circle on Sovereignty and Sustainability.

Nathanson was on the original task force and professed to Provost Brian Foster that he had both the time and energy to move the project forward. “I made a commitment. I like the challenge to reinvent myself and do new things,” he said. The provost gave him the go ahead.

Nathanson, director of the School of Law’s Institute for Public Law, has been on faculty at UNM since 1983. Eligible to retire last year, he chooses instead to invest his expertise.

A native German speaker, he earned a master’s in comparative law (German Law) from the University of Chicago School of Law and received a fellowship in foreign law. He spent his junior year at the University of Zurich and a summer at the Goethe Institute in Germany. He currently serves on the board of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. 

The UNM Task Force on International Relations will identify central themes within the university’s teaching, service and research activities. Among preliminary goals is promoting a UNM-based international research agenda, expanding international student and faculty exchanges, enhancing international service and service contracts and developing an international studies program encompassing all of UNM.

“I believe UNM can be in the center of great things in the international arena,” Nathanson said. “My job is not to tell people what to do, but build on their passion.”

Faculty and staff involved with projects or who have strengths related to the six thematic areas – all of which grew out of UNM’s connection to and strengths within the Southwestern United States – are asked to join small working groups on the task force. The themes are:

•  Indigenous peoples
•  Arts and culture
•  Borders
•  Economic development
•  Environment (with special focus on water issues)
•  Political and human rights

“A lot of medical schools ask for help from UNM’s School of Medicine because if we’ve solved some problem here, whether it’s related to medicine, borders or water, it is more important to those in the developing world because we are more like them. We have something unique to offer here at UNM,” Nathanson said. He noted that of UNM’s 400 medical faculty, 120 are actively engaged, or have taken part, in international work.

To create a UNM vision for each theme, he said, the self-selected groups will be asked to address issues that cut across them all – questions such as: What are the appropriate research questions UNM should pursue? What external partnerships are possible? And how do UNM’s region-centered resources affect its international profile?

Nathanson anticipates the planning phase will be complete within a few months, followed by work to implement the new international agenda.

Interested faculty and staff should email Karla Crawford at karlac@unm.edu.