Provost Robert Shelton, who opened the event by speaking about the University's commitment to international affairs, first thanked his mother -- whose birthday was Monday -- for encouraging him to study abroad.
He then introduced speaker Harriet Fulbright, wife of the late Sen. J. William Fulbright, D-Ark.
Her distinguished career in public service includes a former role as executive director of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and her presidency of the Fulbright International Center.
Her late husband was instrumental in implementing public policy -- including the resolution that led to the establishment of the United Nations -- before founding the Fulbright Program for international education.
The private reception, held on the second floor of Wilson Library, was intended for applicants and past participants of the Fulbright Program. Nearly 80 UNC faculty, students and staff have received various Fulbright awards in the past five years.
International Education Week is sponsored by the U.S. departments of Education and State to promote greater understanding among students from different nations.
President George W. Bush distributed a letter last week that thanked participating schools and universities for their commitment to worldwide educational exchange.
In Monday's speech, Harriet Fulbright focused on the career of her husband, who served on the Senate from 1945-74.
J. William Fulbright, who attended the University of Arkansas, first left the country when he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England.
The cultural sensitivity he gained during this experience would later influence his career in public service. Harriet Fulbright said her husband's trademark was his thorough research of a country's history and culture before presenting his position on political issues. "The single most important role of a legislator in his opinion was that of educator," she said.
Harriet Fulbright added that this respect for each country's viewpoint is especially important as the country stands on the brink of international conflict.
"Nationalism is the single most powerful force of contemporary world politics," she said. "It is also the most dangerous."
This is the second year the University Center for International Studies has coordinated on-campus events for International Education Week.
The week will include an international film festival and a forum on issues such as global justice and immigration identity. A complete list of events can be accessed here.
UCIS Associate Director Niklaus Steiner said the week showcases the increasing global emphasis of UNC's education and recent changes to the state -- including an influx of migrant workers and international high-tech industries. "As a flagship institution, it makes sense that we would mirror the changes to the state and educate our students on these changes."
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