By andrei Blakely
ANNAPOLIS – In an effort to expose Maryland students of different ethnic, gender and class backgrounds to the global community, the Maryland Commission for Celebration 2000 announced a new international scholarship Wednesday.
The $100,000 endowed scholarship will give $500 to $1,000 to between 10 and 20 students each year. Students will be selected by financial need and academic performance. The Maryland International Education Association, created earlier by Maryland 2000, will administrate the scholarship.
“Many students have unrealistic goals (for international study) unless they get additional money from the educational commission. This is the only such scholarship in Maryland for study abroad,” said Marlene Johnson, chief executive officer of the Association of International Educators, at the announcement.
The scholarship is available to students in two-year, four-year and graduate programs.
Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, Maryland 2000 chairman, shared his personal experiences traveling in Europe and Asia and how it is important to trust people from other locations.
“It teaches our people to understand other cultures. My experience was so important. The Japanese taught me one thing and the people in the Netherlands taught me another thing,” he said.
About 130,000 U.S. students study abroad, while 514,723 students from other countries study in America, according to the Institute for International Education.
Nationally, international educators and the Clinton administration have set a goal to have 20 percent of all graduating students in 2010 study abroad.
“We need to think about who our leaders are, set goals, establish strategies and take measures necessary to achieve our goals,” said Johnson. “These experiences offer unparalleled opportunities for inter-cultural learning.”
The Maryland Commission for Celebration 2000 was formed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening in 1997 to celebrate the state’s heritage and people along with preparing citizens for the future.
The MIEA has also initiated other projects to advance international education including, Millenium Seminars, a Millenium Speakers Bureau, a Youth Commission and the Achievement Counts program with the Maryland Business Roundtable.