Welcome to this special issue of UD Global, in which we celebrate the 90th anniversary of UD’s path-breaking study abroad program and the enduring belief that international travel and scholarship can serve as a bridge to cross-cultural understanding and global cooperation.
In 1923, eight UD juniors sailed to France with Raymond Kirkbride, a professor of modern languages and a World War I veteran who’d seen firsthand the devastation wrought by countries in conflict. With their departure 90 years ago, study abroad was born.
However, this issue of UD Global is far from a mere remembrance of our past. It’s a wonderful celebration of our present, and our future. You’ll read about our expanding efforts to engage with academic partners in Africa. You’ll read about our presence in the Middle East, training conservators to preserve photographs important to their history and heritage. And you’ll read about students who’ve gone abroad in the 90 years since those eight young Blue Hens pioneered international study, and how those experiences continue to influence their lives and choices today.
I hope that-to the extent that each of us is able-we continue to travel, to learn about different countries and cultures, to adopt a more global perspective on the challenges and opportunities we face as one human race.
I was in Mumbai this spring, invited on a trade mission with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. It had been six years since I’d last been to India-not so very long ago. But the changes I saw were staggering; you cannot stay away for years and expect the same India that you left. I’d venture that today you can’t expect sameness anywhere. And that’s why we must persist in our interest and openness, in our eagerness to experience and understand the world by being a curious, courageous and contributing presence in it.
Prof. Kirkbride would expect nothing less.
Patrick T. Harker
President, University of Delaware