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NewsFeb 21, 2019

Why we need study abroad, graduate fellowships and international education

Assistant Professor Louise Michelle Vital shared her expertise and perspective at a recent State House summit

Dr. Louise Michelle Vital understands the role that international education plays in bridging cultures and developing partnerships across borders.

She recently shared her expertise on the subject as a panelist at the “US/Caribbean 2020 Engagement Strategy” forum, held at the Massachusetts State House on Feb. 15.

Professor Michelle Vital poses in front of a banner on the State House steps
Assistant Professor Louise Michelle Vital shared her expertise as a panelist at a recent State House summit.

“As a Haitian-American scholar of higher education, I was excited to share my thoughts and expertise on the potential impact of the higher education sector through partnerships with the Caribbean and the United States, including institutions like Lesley,” said Dr. Vital, an assistant professor in the International Higher Education and Intercultural Relations master’s degree program.

The State House forum, organized in partnership with the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Washington, D.C. and the Authentic Caribbean Foundation, explored the potential role of the Caribbean diaspora and Caribbean allies in Massachusetts to support of the implementation of the Congressional United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of 2016.

“International education encourages intellectual exchanges among faculty, which contributes to knowledge production across disciplines and countries,” Dr. Vital noted. “I believe that there is a potential for Lesley to leverage our expertise and our commitment to social justice by supporting in-bound and out-bound faculty and students, collaborative research projects and initiatives sponsored by our Global Education Center.”

About the United States-Caribbean strategy

The multi-year Caribbean strategy, which was submitted to Congress by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), established a framework for enhancing the security and prosperity of the United States and its Caribbean partners. Last week’s Boston forum focused on achieving those objectives, with a specific eye toward the critical function that educational organizations play in this work.

“International education is a great way to develop academic partnerships across borders, and also provides opportunities for students to more deeply engage in and learn from a culture and academic system vastly different than their own,” said Dr. Vital, who also engages in this work through her service as vice president for academic partnerships development for the U.S, chapter of Le Groupe de réflexion et d’action pour une Haïti nouvelle (GRAHN), an organization supporting the work of the Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies of Haiti (ISTEAH).

Learn more about professor Vital’s scholarship and publications on her faculty page.