10 Facts About Melbourne, Australia

April 20th, 2017

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ACEI President & CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert will be traveling to Melbourne, Australia shortly to attend the Gronningen Declaration Network meeting on April 25-27. She will be representing ACEI as well as the Association of International Credential Evaluators and will be joining other invited guests to be a signatory of the GDN. The goal of the GDN is to making Digital Student Data Portability a reality so that citizens world-wide are able to view and share their “authentic educational data with whomever they want, whenever they want, wherever they are.” For more on the GDN, click here.

We thought that given Jasmin’s upcoming to Melbourne, we’ll share some fun facts about this city in southern Australia.

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1. Melbourne is Victoria’s capital city and the business, administrative, cultural and recreational hub of the state. (1)

2. The entire Melbourne metropolitan area covers 9990.5 km2 and has a population of around 4.5 million. (1)

3. Before Melbourne was called Melbourne, it was named Batmania after John Batman, a colonist farmer from Tasmania who landed in Port Philip Bay in May 1835. (2)

4. The Black Box flight recorder was invented in 1958 by Dr. David Warren at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories in Melbourne. Warren’s father had died in a plane crash over the Bass Strait in 1934. (2)

5. According to the RSPCA, Melbourne is officially the fox capital of the world, with between 6 and 23 foxes per square kilometre in the urban area of the city. Despite these numbers, it’s still quite rare to see one! (3)

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6. Melbourne’s tramway system is the largest outside Europe and the fourth largest in the world, stretching along 244km of track and boasting 450 trams. (3)

7. The world’s largest stained-glass ceiling is located in Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria. (3)

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8. Before Canberra, Melbourne was Australia’s capital city between 1901 and 1927. (3)

9. The University of Melbourne is ranked 42nd in the world and is one of the oldest Australian universities, having been established in 1853. It now has over 47,000 students enrolled, including 12,000 international students from 130 countries. The university is highly reputed for its research, with over 100 research centers and institutes and a research expenditure of $850m a year. (4)

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10. Seven universities in Melbourne are featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017, the highest-ranked of which is the University of Melbourne at 42nd in the world – second only to Australian National University on the Australian leaderboard. (5)

Bonus:

11. Known as Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne regularly tops lists of the world’s most livable cities, and is full of all the attractions that make the Australian lifestyle so appealing – including beautiful beaches, nightlife and a fair proportion of sunny days. (5)

Sources:

1.http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/about-melbourne/melbourne-profile/Pages/facts-about-melbourne.aspx

2.https://www.buzzfeed.com/simoncrerar/marvellous-melbs?utm_term=.kvJB0ZkE7#.tlb3NkqAj 

3.https://latrobetimes.blogs.latrobe.edu.au/2016/05/26/15-interesting-facts-melbourne/

4. https://www.topuniversities.com/where-to-study/oceania/australia/guide

5. https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings-articles/qs-best-student-cities/melbourne

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Why is Central European University under attack by the Hungarian government?

April 14th, 2017

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Demonstrators at the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest protesting legislation that would force the closure of Central European University, April 9, 2017. (Photo Credit: The Nation – MTI via AP/Jano Marja)

If you haven’t heard already, on Tuesday, April 4 2017, the Hungarian National Assembly fast-tracked and passed an amendment to a higher education bill that threatens the closing of the Central European University (CEU), a leading university in Europe. According to a report in The New York Times: “The new law requires, among other things, that foreign-accredited universities provide higher education services in their own countries — meaning the United States in the case of Central European University.” CEU has until January 1, 2018 to comply with these new requirements.

CEU, located in Budapest, is accredited in the United States and Hungary and offers degrees in the social sciences, humanities, law, public policy, business management, environmental sciences, and mathematics. CEU attracts students from over 100 countries from around the globe and is revered for its programs in social sciences and humanities.  According to The Times Higher Education, CEU was founded in 1991 as an English-language university by “a group of visionary intellectuals – most of them prominent members of the anti-totalitarian democratic opposition.”

Members of the European Commission of EU’s executive body are investigating this new law imposed by the Hungarian government and questioning is legality. There have also been massive student protests in Hungary who see the government’s heavy handedness as a clampdown on free expression and in retaliation against Mr. George Soros, a financier who sits on CEU’s board. Mr. Soros, according to some observers is seen as an influential global threat by Hungary’s conservative nationalist government.  Even the U.S. has expressed concern and criticized the Hungarian government’s higher education bill and its impact on CEU.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is unmoved by the criticism and the protests. Mr. Orban’s party is convinced that George Soros is behind the shaping of CEU’s institutional philosophy of inclusion which encourages migration while the Hungarian government opposes it vehemently. Mr. Orban wants to stop migration while he sees Mr. Soros as an advocate of migration who will use money and his political capital to weaken and destabilize governments, such as Hungary, who oppose his philosophy. Mr. Orban has coined the term “Illiberal democracy” by turning liberals into the enemy and arguing that majority rule is more important than minority rights.

With such deeply rooted dislike for liberalism, George Soros, and migration which translates into international students, the future of the Central European University in Hungary looks rather bleak.

Sources:

https://www.oneyoungworld.com/blog/trouble-hungary-central-european-university

https://www.google.com/?trackid=sp-006#q=Central+European+University

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/central-european-university#ranking-dataset/1089

https://www.thenation.com/article/central-european-university-under/

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Dispatches from Minneapolis, MN

April 7th, 2017

AICE

The Annual AACRAO Conference this year was held in Minneapolis, MN which marked the third and final stop on my Midwest tour of international education-related conferences. Representing both the Association of International Credential Evaluators and the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc., speaking at three sessions, hosting and moderating the 2017 AICE Symposium meant I had a full plate with little time to catch my breath or sightsee. Nicolette Mall, where the Convention Center and the Millennium Hotel I was staying at was under heavy construction leaving the Downtown deserted with little or no evidence of life other than the two thousand AACRAO attendees milling about the Skywalk. Apparently, the construction has been underway for four years and still in progress in preparation for the Super Bowl.

Joined by fellow AICE Endorsed Members Beth Cotter and Aleks Morawski and ACEI’s Marketing Director, Laura Sippel, the early days of the AACRAO Conference kept us occupied with booth duty at the Exhibit Hall and reception hopping in the evenings.

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L-R: Drew Carlisle (AACRAO), Melanie Gottlieb (AACRAO, Deputy Director),
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (ACEI President & CEO and AICE President)

Attending the International Educators Luncheon stressed the gravity of the new administration’s anti-immigration policies in DC and its negative impact on the flow of students to U.S. institutions of higher education. At the International Educators Reception, an annual event sponsored by the Paver Family Foundation, it was an honor to be recognized by Dr. William Paver, as the incoming Chair of the AACRAO IESC (International Education Standards Council) for EDGE (Electronic Database on Global Education).

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L-R: Aleks Morawski (Director of Evaluations at FC, Endorsed AICE Member), Zepur Solakian (President of CGACC), Bill Paver (President of FCSA &Past AACRAO President), Beth Cotter (President of FCA, Endorsed AICE Member), Jim Bouse (AACRAO President), Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (President & CEO of ACEI & President of AICE) at the AACRAO Board Reception

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Photo: AACRAO Staff, Board, Sponsors and Special Guests at the International Educators Dinner, Mercy Restaurant in Minneapolis, MN

Though I didn’t attend the Opening Plenary with Garrison Keillor as the featured speaker, I made sure not to miss the Closing Plenary with Danny Glover and Felix Justice as featured speakers, and was not disappointed. Mr. Glover and Mr. Justice spoke of their experiences during the Vietnam Era, the struggles of Civil Rights movement, and ultimately Mr. Glover’s advice that what truly matters, is the connections we make with others and the lives we impact.

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AACRAO Closing Plenary: Danny Glover and Felix Justice

The AICE Symposium “Setting the Standard for Graduate Admissions: Three-year Degrees and Other Admissions Challenges” was kicked off with a wonderful reception at the Mission American Kitchen Bar and Grill. Invited guests, including AACRAO President, Jim Bouse, AACRAO Deputy Director, Melanie Gottlieb and representatives from U.S. universities, AACRAO staff, and AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates were all in attendance. To say the reception was a smashing success, is an understatement!

The AICE Symposium, a full-day event, was also a success with thirty-one attendees participating in a lively and collegial discussion on topics covering the Bologna three-year bachelor degrees, the three-year bachelor degrees from India, and the three-year bachelor degrees from Australia, South Africa and Israel. Panelists and attendees collaborated in defining guidelines that will help AICE continue refining the Standard document. A full report of the Symposium’s talking points will be available shortly and posted on the AICE website.

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This ends my Midwest tour! My next adventure takes me to the Southern Hemisphere, where I will be attending the Gronningen Declaration Network in Melbourne, Australia, to be one of its invited signatories. Stay tuned!

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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Spotlight on the AICE 2017 Minneapolis Symposium -Setting the Standard for Graduation Admissions: Three-year Degrees and Other Challenges

March 30th, 2017

thoughts

In this week’s blog, we would like to showcase the upcoming Symposium, an annual event, of the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE), which will be held at the Millennial Hotel on April 5-6, 2017 in Minneapolis, MN. As Charter and Endorsed Member of the AICE, the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI) is proud to be part of the AICE 2017 Minneapolis Symposium.

The Symposium will feature several distinguished panels of international education specialists whose perspectives will encourage each of us to reflect on the Symposium theme, Setting the Standard for Graduate Admissions: Three-year Degrees and Other Challenges. This year’s Symposium continues with the spirit of past Symposia highlighting our Association’s steadfast commitment to activate and reinforce dialogue on international credential evaluation standards, methodologies and practices. AICE is proud to have contributed to promoting best practices and collaboration for academic excellence and to strengthen communication among international educators from academia and professional organizations, laying a strong foundation for the development of long-term sustainable partnerships and networks.

For a description of the Symposium’s program, please click here and open the PDF.

Registration for the AICE 2017 Minneapolis Symposium is still open. A few seats are still available. If you are interested in attending, please click here.

Back in October 2014, ACEI posted a blog on India’s attempt to extend its three-year bachelor’s degree by one additional year. The attempt was short-lived, for reasons you’ll find in the blog. Since India is included in one of the modules programmed for the Symposium, we thought it appropriate to repost it in this week’s blog. Click here.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Diversity and Inclusion is The New Initiative for 2017

March 24th, 2017

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Advocacy for our profession of applied comparative education is needed more than ever in 2017. In light of forming new partnerships and celebrating our differences, diversity and inclusion will be the top initiative for 2017.

What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity is any aspect that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another, but it also means appreciation of and respect for differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion. But let’s look deeper into this thought. We all bring with us diverse views, work experiences, life styles, perspectives, and cultures. How does your institution or organization foster diversity and inclusion? How do you individually?

Some may define inclusion is a state of being valued, respected, endorsed, and supported. It’s also about focusing on the needs of everyone and ensuring the right conditions are in place for each person to achieve their greatest potential. Inclusion should always be reflected in an organization’s culture, practices and relationships that are in place to support a diverse workforce.

To look at this big picture, diversity is the mix; inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.

For institutions to succeed in the global marketplace, there must be a variety of perspectives. If organizations want to attract and retain the right skills, the best minds, all the aspects needed for success – and that means diversity.

At ACEI, we respect and welcome diversity in our clients, colleagues, friends, and our staff, and it is part of our mission. We strongly advocate for diversity and inclusion. We state as part of our mission, “ACEI is dedicated to the advancement of international academic exchange and understanding through the dissemination of information on world educational systems and evaluation of international educational documents.”

With our new administration, changes in the global landscape, more advances in technology and communications, diversity and inclusion are quickly becoming critical initiatives around the world.

Laura Sippel

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Laura Sippel
Marketing Consultant
Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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Kedi: A Sweet Film and Soundtrack for Istanbul’s Constant Companions

March 16th, 2017

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A scene from Kedi. Photo courtesy of Ceyda Torun

Istanbul is a city at the center of the old world, for millenia a crossroads of civilization, trade, and cultural exchange. On the many sailing ships entering the Bosporus over the centuries came the stray cats that kept mice and other vermin under control, who then left the boats and became landlubbers. Kedi is a wonderful new film about the street cats of Istanbul. We usually adopt cats into our homes, but in Istanbul the street cats choose to adopt certain lucky residents, who then take care of them. According to Oscilloscope Films, the film’s distributor, “claiming no owners, these animals live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame—and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt.”

KEDi-22-800x450Aslan Parçasi—the hunter. Photo courtesy of Ceyda Torun

Istanbul native Ceyda Torun, who now lives in Los Angeles, directed this utterly delightful film, with cinematographer Charlie Wuppermann giving us great kitty-eye’s view of the feline characters, following them around in their haunts and daily travels. Thirty-five cats initially showed up for the “casting call,” but many were unreliable, so the cast was pared down to seven:

Sari—the hustler; Bengü—the lover; Aslan Parçasi—the hunter; Psikopat—the psychopath; Deniz—the social butterfly; Duman—the gentleman; and Gamsiz—the player.

The charming soundtrack features Turkish pop songs as such as “Arkadasim Esek” by Baris Manço, “Bak Yesil Yesil” by Emel Sayin, “Deli Kadin” by the Turkish psychedelic band Erkin Koray, as well as Eartha Kitt singing a Turkish classic, “Usku Dara,” plus “Amber Eyes” by an American musician named Lloyd Miller who plays over 100 instruments and is known for his expertise in world music and jazz. What makes the soundtrack music even more fun is that each cat character has his or her own theme song, kind of like friends who have specific ring tones on your phone.

2927116167_837950fd13_oA cat hanging out in a record store in Istanbul. Can you imagine fighting with a cat for elbow room in the bins at Amoeba Records? Photo by Amanda (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0) via Flickr

The cool score is by Kira Fontana, a classically-trained (Eastman School of Music, Yale University) pianist-composer. Her mentors include Steve Reich, John Adams, and David Lang. The playful and percussive music score—in which you clearly hear the Steve Reich influence—is performed by percussionist Sidney Hopson, a three-time alum of USC’s Thornton School of Music, and features marimbas, glockenspiels, vibraphones, and strings. The music was recorded at Cal Arts in Valencia, California.  The Arabic darbuka drum is used to highlight the hunt and fight scenes. As Kira described to me, they aimed for “an ethereal, magical sound-world to reflect the spiritual role Istanbul’s cats play in the daily lives of the city’s residents.” I think that together, the Turkish songs and score perfectly complement the feline stars as they pursue their daily adventures.

This is a movie not only about a great city and its colorful felines, but a tribute to the kind citizens of Istanbul who love and care for them. It’s a feel-good movie if there ever was one, whether you like cats or not. If you haven’t seen the documentary yet, the trailer below provides a taste, but you can also find screening information here.

And here is Eartha Kitt’s “Usku Dara” (theme song for Aslan Parçasi—the hunter):

And this is American Lloyd Miller’s “Amber Eyes” (theme song for Gamsiz—the player):

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Above, Sari—the hustler. This and banner photo at top courtesy of Ceyda Torun.

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Tom Schnabel, M.A.

Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Blogs for Rhythm Planet
Author & Music educator, UCLA, SCIARC, currently doing music salons
www.tomschnabel.com

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Importance of International Students and Immigration to US Higher Education

March 10th, 2017

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As someone who has been actively involved in international education, this article expresses why I’m so passionate about the importance of immigrants and international students. The contributions made by immigrants and international students in the sciences, humanities and arts, economics, medicine, their innovations and inventions are too numerous to list. Yet what the Trump administration has done in less than two months with the enactment of the travel ban, revoking visas of international students, detaining refugees, deporting undocumented immigrants has so negatively impacted our standing in the world and will so deeply hinder and stunt our growth that the effects are far reaching will be felt by all. Immigrants and international students who are considering to legally enter the U.S. are seriously reconsidering their options by turning to friendlier and more hospitable countries to migrate and/or pursue their higher education.

This article by Jonathan R. Cole that recently appeared in The Atlantic sums it up nicely; American universities need international students and immigrants:

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/03/american-universities-need-immigrants/518814/

We all need to stand up and support academic and scholarly exchange rather than erect walls and hide behind them in fear. Aren’t we Americans made of stronger stuff? Where’s our courage? Where’s our foresight?

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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