Andrew O’Brien, U.S. Department of State Special Representative, brought the Diaspora Tour to Ohio State on Wednesday, October 1. O’Brien presented a keynote address and moderated a panel discussion with those from Ohio State and the central Ohio community who have been involved in diaspora initiatives.
Engineering professor Kevin Passino discussed his involvement in service learning programs with students in Guatemala and Honduras. Graduate student Hannah Bonacci shared her passion for improving the lives of at-risk youth and women in Western Africa and how she helped found The Akumanyi Foundation to help fund development projects. Barbara Pratzner, executive director of Greater Columbus Sister Cities International, provided insight into the capital city's growing international interests and the importance of community involvement. And, Jibril Mohamed, executive director of SomaliCAN, addressed the role of the Somali diaspora community in Columbus, Ohio.
Global opportunities abound with the opening of the Brazil Gateway in São Paulo, Brazil. On September 13, a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorated the occasion with Ohio State leadership, alumni, global partners and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman on hand to celebrate Ohio State's presence in one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. The Brazil Gateway will serve as a catalyst to enhance global opportunities for Ohio State students and faculty. With Global Gateway offices also in Shanghai, China and Mumbai, India, Ohio State continues to consider opportunities for expansion in sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey and Europe.
Provost Joseph Steinmetz called the opening of the Brazil Gateway a "momentus step forward for the university. The Gateway is a true partnership with broad engagement from 14 colleges.... Without a doubt, this outpouring of support has allowed Ohio State to advance our core academic mission around the globe. It will be an embassy for the university in Brazil - a critical hub for Ohio State in the 21st century."