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International Ed Director Envisions Campus Without Borders

Joseph F. SheleyCSU Stanislaus students may soon notice more diversity in their classes and hear more foreign languages around campus. That’s because the university’s Office of International Education has a new director with big plans and a proven track record of increasing international student enrollment in the United States.

“I’m envisioning a United Nations on this campus,” said Mahmoud Lamadanie, who started at CSU Stanislaus in the summer. “People celebrating outside, having food from different cultures, dressed up differently — the fabric of the whole university will look different.”

VIDEO: Meet Mahmoud Lamadanie

Lamadanie arrived at CSU Stanislaus after a successful stay as executive vice president of the Center for International Affairs and Programs at Grambling State University in Louisiana. In his seven years at Grambling, Lamadanie touts a surge of international students — from 30 students to nearly 1,200 from more than 45 countries.

The key to success in recruiting international students, Lamadanie said, lies in building relationships with education and government leaders around the world.

“I invest heavily in building friendships for the university,” he said. “These are everlasting relationships.”

CSU Stanislaus has 66 international students from 22 countries, though most are from Saudi Arabia and China. Lamadanie hopes to stimulate more global-mindedness on campus by recruiting students from places such as Nepal, Turkey, India and Africa, in addition to China and the Middle East.

Studying in the United States can be a life-changing experience for international students, but Lamadanie said diversification can bring benefits to current students, as well.

“We are not living in a hermetically-sealed environment,” Lamadanie said. “Our American students can learn about the world, get engaged in study abroad or be part of a buddy system with an international student.”

Lamadanie hopes people in the community and on campus will help provide a warm welcome to increasing numbers of international students.

“The presence of international people on campus is something to be appreciated,” he said. “Please take initiative when you see someone who looks different from you. Strike up conversation. You will be so happy that you met such wonderful people who might impact your life forever.”
Updated: 12/05/2013
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