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Outstanding contributions in international education honored

January 20, 2020

One NIU faculty member, one student and an entire department were recognized for their outstanding contributions to international education during the 2019 International Recognition reception held in November.

“The faculty and students that we recognize are committed to a common goal: facilitating learning about other places and people to ensure that our community develops cross-cultural understanding and communication skills,” said Bradley Bond, associate vice president, Division of International Affairs. “It’s important to take a moment and celebrate the work of faculty and students.”

Matthew Werstler, Kheang Un, and faculty in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education were presented with awards by Dean Brad Bond for their outstanding contributions to international education.

Kheang Un, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, was selected as the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding International Educator. Born and educated in Cambodia and the United States, Un has worked in foreign countries and collaborated with scholars from around the world throughout his career.

“It is a great honor to receive the 2019 Outstanding International Scholar Award,” Un said. “This award not only recognizes internationally engaged scholars such as myself, but it also reflects NIU’s commitment to global educational outreach in an era of global interconnectedness.”

Un, who also serves as an associate of NIU’s Center of Southeast Asian Studies, is a world-renowned expert on Cambodian politics. In addition to promoting multicultural understanding at NIU, he is always learning.

“I have the opportunity to work with students of diverse backgrounds from the U.S. and abroad who challenge me to look at issues from multiple angles,” Un said. “They have taught me as much as I have imparted my knowledge to them; my own work has benefited greatly from the interaction and collaboration with these students.”

The Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE) was recognized for their significant contributions made to international education. The department was honored for their internationalization efforts and for cultivating curricular and co-curricular opportunities for NIU students.

In addition to the faculty and department awards, the Division of International Affairs recognized School of Music student, Matthew Werstler, for his contributions and efforts in fomenting cross-cultural understanding, empathy and peace at NIU.

Werstler received a $500 credit on his bursar account and a plaque commemorating the award.

This year marks the 50th anniversary the Division of International Affairs was established at the university.

“NIU’s commitment to internationalization was recognized 50 years ago with the creation of the Division of International Affairs,” Bond said. “That commitment is exemplified by the interest and passion of faculty and students who were and remain eager to teach and learn about our interconnected world.”