Can U.S. students really compete? Find out Friday

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Speakers from Time magazine, The Economist and other prominent organizations will be at Bowling Green State University Friday (Jan. 19) for a conference on the urgent need for students to use their education to become globally competitive.

Organized by the BGSU Students Initiative for Global Competitiveness, the conference will focus on inspiring, motivating and encouraging students to compete and collaborate globally. It will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

The conference is the brainchild of Jake Gallardo, a senior international studies major who last summer organized a “Young Global Leaders Summit” at BGSU on relations between the United States and the Muslim world. Coming from the Philippines, he was dismayed by American students' complacency about their security in the global marketplace.

Students across the globe, he says, are working much harder than many U.S. students to attain the success and freedom of expression found in the United States. “These highly educated and motivated people are BGSU students' competition, and they are determined to win,” Gallardo points out.

“The conference is a testament to the energy of our students and their engagement with the key issues of the day,” commented Dr. Donald Nieman, dean of the BGSU College of Arts and Sciences. “These students are asking important questions that we all should be considering and, in the process, taking charge of their own education.”

Nieman added that alumni and friends were helping students realize their vision.   “Without the generous support of Dean's Council members,” he noted, “the college would not have the wherewithal to provide financial support for this important initiative.   Together, our students and alumni are making this possible.”

Conference committee member Victor Massaquoi, a doctoral student in communication studies from Sierra Leone, also sees the conference as a hopeful event in a world of economic and political conflict.

“This student initiative is a wonderful way to facilitate cross-cultural education,” he said. “If young scholars and professionals decide to work together, with mutual respect and understanding, then we can make the world a better place.”

Among the day's events is a noon panel discussion on “How to Globalize Your Education.” Panelists will be Nicole Anderson, director of Education Abroad at BGSU; Dr. Christina Guenther, chair of the German, Russian and East Asian languages department, and Barbara Laird, director of Academic Enhancement.

The day's speakers begin at 9:30 a.m. with Yusuf Omar, consul general for the South African Consulate-General in Chicago. A lifelong human-rights advocate, he has extensive experience in the field of promoting direct foreign investment.

The keynote address, at 10:30 a.m., will be given by Robert Lane Greene, global agenda correspondent for Also an adjunct professor of global affairs at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies and a frequent commentator on radio and television, Greene writes daily political analysis for, covering American politics and international issues. He has written regular columns for the New Republic Web site as well, and his work has appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and Slate.

Dr. Henry Silvert, a research associate and statistician for the Conference Board, will discuss “Are They Really Ready to Work?” in a 1 p.m. session. A not-for-profit organization, the Conference Board is the preeminent business membership and research organization. Best known for the Consumer Confidence Index and the Leading Economic Indicators, the Conference Board equips the world's leading corporations with practical knowledge through issues-oriented research and senior executive peer-to-peer meetings.

“How to Build a Student for the 21st Century” will be presented by Sonja Steptoe, senior correspondent and deputy news director for Time magazine in Los Angeles. Steptoe was co-author of Time's Dec. 18, 2006, cover story on “How to Build a Student for the 21st Century: How to Bring Our Schools out of the 20th Century.” The Emmy Award-winning journalist and Duke Law School graduate began her career at the Wall Street Journal and has been a national correspondent for CNN/Sports Illustrated and People. She is also the author, with Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, of “A Kind of Grace: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Female Athlete.” She will speak at 3:30 p.m.

The conference is made possible through support from the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Business Administration, the Graduate College, the management department, the Center for International Programs, Continuing and Extended Education and private donations.

The conference is free and open to the public. To attend, email Gallardo at or call 419-494-9318.

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(Posted January 16, 2007)

Updated: 12/02/2017 01:13AM