In an effort to better connect our members, we wanted to send out a brief, unofficial report on today’s meeting. This does not supplant nor replace the minutes, which will be distributed closer to our May meeting.

We had guest presentations from Dirk Spiers, of Spiers New Technologies, who gave a lively briefing of his firm’s work in Oklahoma and his take on our current state of affairs. Here’s a link to Dirk’s interview with last year.

Next up was Peggy Millikin of Millikin Intellectual Property Law who discussed her firm’s full service intellectual property legal work, including work for Oklahoma firms interested in international trade and copyright protections.

Loida Salmond of Le Monde International School, a public charter school in Norman offering K-6 education in French and K-1 education Spanish, set to open in August 2017. The group agreed to discuss offering a letter of support for the mission of promoting foreign language instruction at a later date.

In the final guest presentation, the University of Tulsa’s Jane Kucko introduced herself to the group in her role as TU’s Vice-Provost for Global Education. She’ll oversee the university’s center for global education, which oversees study abroad, TU Global Scholars and global development program initiatives.

Following that the group members in attendance overwhelming voted to affirm four new members of the group:

Rico Buchli gave an update on the consular corps, including an update on the situation in Peru from OKGIT member and honorary consul Enrique Villar-Gambetta, who requested an email be sent to the group concerning relief efforts at mitigating devastating floods there.

The group agreed to fund $2,000 for this year’s International Day at the Capitol, taking place April 19.

Those in attendance, along with feedback from some members who were unable to attend the meeting, supported the proposal to reschedule the time of the May 16 OKGIT meeting to 2 p.m. and investigate the possibility of a reception to follow at a nearby venue. More details will come in the following weeks.

Chair John Curzon also discussed the possibility of closer collaboration with partners in the Netherlands through work with OKGIT-member organizations like Creative Oklahoma ahead of Dutch Design Week in October 2017 and the World Creative Forum in November 2017.

The next OKGIT meeting will be May 16 at 2 p.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

For two days on March 31-April 1, the Tulsa Global Alliance and Global Ties Arkansas are partnering with the University of Tulsa to host the Diplomacy Begins Here: Global Ties U.S. Regional Summit in and around historic Tulsa. OKGIT member Bob Lieser is the point of contact for this multi-day event that has participants running all over the Tulsa metro areas to promote international friendship and connections. Each trip has a cost, so contact Bob Lieser at or at 918-631-4801 for a price list.

TGA Diplomacy Begins Here March 31

For many undergraduates hailing from the state that is the namesake of the University of Central Oklahoma, their time on campus is often a first chance to interact with fellow students from across the globe. At first glance, Edmond, Okla. does not appear to be a hotbed of international culture, but the presence of international students and faculty at one of the state’s oldest higher learning institutions fosters an inviting atmosphere for learning and cultural exchanges.

According to an article in the Edmond Sun, UCO’s international students hail from 84 countries and make up nine percent of the student body a total of 1,525 international students; 67 percent of those come from Saudi Arabia, China, Korea, Nepal and Vietnam.

From the Edmond Sun:

“UCO is a great place for international students — it stands out as a first class university in a growing metropolitan area. In addition to the amenities Central’s location offers, it is the only university in the state with an International House, which focuses on bringing American students and international students together for understanding and friendship,” said Dennis Dunham, Ph.D., executive director of the Office of Global Affairs at Central.

The university’s ranks thirteenth in the latest Open Doors Institute of International Education Report, is the only institution in the state to be ranked in the top 40.

According to Open Doors latest data from 2014 on Oklahoma, the state is ranked twenty seventh out of fifty one (including the District of Columbia) in terms of the number of international students, a total of 8,913 persons. Oklahoma State University (2,324 students), the University of Oklahoma (1,985 students), the University of Tulsa (1,291 students) and Oklahoma City University (401 students) are the state’s other top institutions for international students. Chinese nationals make up the largest contingent of those studying in the Sooner State at 23.6 percent.

To read the full article about UCO’s ranking as a top destination for international students in Oklahoma, please click here.

Old North at UCO – Photo courtesy DrinkOmega at Wikipedia Commons.