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Community Engagement And Partnerships


International Studies and Programs has forged strong partnerships with individuals and organizations in the area to develop and deliver programs to enrich and improve the cultural, educational, and economic life of the community. These partnerships enable us to better inform more people about the university and our programs, attract wider audiences, and play an important role in planning and conducting a wide range of programs.

International Affairs Advisory Committee

International Studies and Programs’s International Affairs Advisory Committee is comprised of individuals committed to assisting International Studies and Programs in achieving its mission of internationalizing the campus and the community. Some of these individuals also represent important cultural, educational, and economic organizations and firms in the region. Committee members provide advice to the International Studies and Programs Director in planning programs and provide support for study abroad programs and other activities. Advisory Committee Members List

For organizational purposes, the partnerships mentioned below have been categorized according to their main function but most of the partnerships are multifunctional.


E. Desmond Lee Global Ethnic Collaborative 

Based in International Studies and Programs, the Collaborative offers conferences, workshops, cultural events and performances that enhance awareness of and respect for the region’s rich ethnic heritage, identify and nurture fresh voices and visions promoting cultural harmony, focus greater attention on the local dimensions of global affairs, and prepare St. Louis to design the strategies and mobilize the resources needed to play a leadership role in a globally interdependent world.

The Collaborative directs the outreach efforts of the six endowed international professorships housed in International Studies and Programs. As part of the mandates of the endowed professorships, the professors and International Studies and Programs make special efforts to develop and conduct programs in cooperation with other organizations in the community.

Current lectures and programs are listed on the ISP website. Last year’s programs are listed in the department's Annual Report.
The professorships are:

International Performing Arts Series

The most visible program of the Collaborative is the International Performing Arts Series, supported by resources from the endowed international professorships, which brings five internationally recognized performance groups to campus each year. The nineteenth season began in Fall 2017 and is one of the major performance niches for the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The series celebrates the cultural diversity of Saint Louis and introduces campus and community audiences to less well known artistic traditions especially those that represent and illuminate performing arts of the countries and/or cultures of the endowed professorships.

Partners: The series is supported by Saint Louis Irish Arts, Karakas Family Foundation for the Advancement of Hellenic Studies, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, Alliance Francaise de St. Louis, Dance St. Louis, Saint Louis Chinese Association, and the Goethe Institut of Chicago.

German Culture Center

The closing of the Goethe Institut in St. Louis created a void for persons in the community with a primary interest in Germany. International Studies and Programs opened the German Culture Center (GCC) in March 1999 as the successor to the Goethe Institut. The GCC conducts programs and loans materials to promote interest in German language and culture.

The GCC offers seminars, lectures, conferences and cultural programs to promote German culture, enhance understanding of and appreciation for the German-American and European- American relationships, strengthen and support German language instruction, and highlight the contribution and legacy of German immigrants to the United States.

The GCC operates a lending library of audio and video tapes and disks, teaching aids, German history, literature and travel books, language aids, reference materials, and selected German periodicals and newspapers. Most of these materials are available for loan to the public.

In addition, the GCC provides a full range of services for area teachers, elementary through college, including a variety of teaching aids about German language and cultures and workshops specifically designed for teachers of the German language.

Twice monthly the GCC hosts an informal coffee hour, Kaffeestunden, for German speakers. Visitors are welcome to join to converse in German while sipping coffee and eating snacks.

More information on GCC and its collection of materials can be obtained by visiting its website:

Partners: The GCC is funded cooperatively by the University, the Goethe-Institut, and private and corporate donations. Also, the GCC is supported financially by the German-American Heritage Society, and the St. Louis Stuttgart Sister Cities Committee.

Greek Culture Center

The Greek Culture Center opened in November 2005. Thanks to the generosity of donors from the community, International Studies and Programs was officially named The Nicholas and Theodora Matsakis Hellenic Culture Center. It includes the Karakas Family Library, the Andrew Diamarogonas Media Center, the Mary E. Critzas Archives of the Greek-American Community, the Mary E. Critzas Gallery of Greek Art, and the Hellenic Spirit Foundation Conference Room. The Center features permanent displays and replicas of Greek statuary, art, archaeological objects, and features special exhibits. In addition, it provides services similar to those offered by the German Culture Center. (See:

A current community project is the collection of documents on the history of the St. Louis Greek-American community. The goal is to safeguard and preserve materials that may otherwise be lost or dispersed.

Partners: Hellenic Cultural Foundation (St. Louis), Hellenic Spirit Foundation (St. Louis), and the Karakas Family Foundation for the Advancement of Hellenic Studies.

India Initiative 

This initiative was organized by International Studies and Programs and members of the Indian community in St. Louis to promote closer cooperation between UMSL and the community. Among the goals are: present cultural programs to introduce India’s rich cultural life and heritage, present programs about business opportunities and public affairs issues in India, to increase the number of Indian students at UMSL and to offer a host family program for Indian students.


Shibusawa Seminar 

Since 2000, International Studies and Programs has been the partner of the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation, Tokyo, Japan, in presenting this international seminar on Japanese studies. The seminar, now held in alternate years in Japan and the USA, brings together a select group of experts to present seminar papers on topics of importance in Japanese studies and U.S.-Japan relations. The University of Toronto Press has agreed to publish a series of books based on the papers presented at the seminars.

The seminars honor the memory of Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931) who helped establish the first national bank in Japan, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and more than 500 companies including Tokyo Marine Insurance, Tokyo Gas, Tokyo Electric, Oji Paper, and the Tokyo Imperial Hotel. He also helped establish 20 universities and colleges and numerous social welfare organizations as part of his belief that business leaders had the moral obligation to pursue activities that benefited the community.

Partner: Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation, Tokyo, Japan.

Lentz Fellow in Peace and Conflict Resolution Research

International Studies and Programs established the Lentz Fellowship in 1993 with the support of the Lentz Peace Research Association and in cooperation with the Department of Political Science. Fellows conduct individual research on peace and conflict resolution and teach one course each semester in political science.

Partner: Lentz Peace Research Association (St. Louis).

Joint Center for East Asian Studies of University of Missouri-St. Louis and Washington University

The Joint Center for East Asian Studies was established in 1991 by the universities to combine the resources of an independent private university, known for its program in East Asian humanities and law, with those of a public university that has strengths in social sciences and business.

The Joint Center makes available to each campus the curricular strengths of the other by encouraging students to enroll in courses available on the other campus, by encouraging faculty and student interaction through a joint colloquium series, and by coordinating outreach efforts to the broader educational, business and legal communities.

Through the Joint Center the teaching of Chinese and Japanese language was begun on campus. Now UM-St. Louis students may take at least the first four courses of each language on our campus and through a cooperative agreement may continue more advanced studies in Chinese and Japanese on the Washington University campus.

Partners in the Gulf Region

International Studies and Programs has coordinated efforts to provide assistance and support to two developing private universities in the Gulf Region, the Modern College of Business and Science (MCBS) in Oman, and the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) in Kuwait. International Studies and Programs leads the campus effort to provide technical assistance to the two institutions, both academic and non-academic, and to evaluate their efforts to insure quality control.

Modern College of Business and Science opened in 1996 and offers degrees in information technology, business, computer science and economics. 

Gulf University for Science and Technology opened in Fall 2002 with approximately 500 students and now enrolls approximately 2,000 students. We are developing some courses in business, computer science, economics, and nursing to offer for GUST. We are also assisting GUST in developing its first graduate program, the MBA, and two new undergraduate programs: logistics and management, and architecture/environmental relations.

Springboard and Young Audiences of St. Louis offers arts, culture, humanities, math and science programs to schools and community groups throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area, Eastern Missouri, and the Metro East region of Illinois. Springboard/Young Audiences offerings emphasize “hands-on” and “minds-on” activities that are aligned with state and national education standards. They also work closely with classroom teachers, helping them to grow professionally.

Dr. E. Wendy Saul, International Studies and Programs’s Dr. Allen B. and Mrs. Helen S. Shopmaker Professor of Education in Collaboration with Springboard, works closely with Springboard/Young Audiences in planning and delivering programs to teachers and schools.

International Studies and Programs Resource Library

For more than 30 years, the International Studies and Programs Resource Library has helped introduce students in the St. Louis region to the world’s cultural diversity, global issues, and ecological interdependence, by bringing an international perspective to studies across the curriculum. The library loans innovative materials (K-college),to faculty on campus who teach international courses, UMSL students, especially education majors, and pre-collegiate educators throughout Missouri. Special classes introduce pre-service UMSL education majors to the Library and innovative methods for teaching about world cultures. Among the Library’s most heavily utilized resources are videos, curriculum units, and “cultural artifact kits” which give students hands-on examples of items of everyday life, cultural and educational materials from other countries. Currently, kits are available on Africa, China, India, Islam in the Arab World, Japan, the Arab World, Mexico, Poland, and Vietnam.

In Fall 2007, International Studies and Programs Resource Library became a satellite location for educational resources of the St. Louis Art Museum including “touch kits” (e.g., Ancient Egypt, Art of the Americas, and Masks) and curriculum packets (e.g., Africa, American folk art, and Native America).

Partners: St. Louis Art Museum and Springboard/Young Audiences of St. Louis.


Japan America Society of St. Louis 

The Japan-America Society of St. Louis (JAS) is an organization that promotes interest in and education about Japan and U.S.-Japan relations. Since October 2002, International Studies and Programs has provided administrative support and programmatic activities for the organization. JAS is a non-profit, non-political organization comprised of people of both American and Japanese heritage. The society was founded in 1967 and is a member of the National Association of Japan America Societies (NAJAS), located in Washington, D.C. 

Chancellor’s Certificate in International Trade

This non-credit certificate has been developed in cooperation with the World Trade Center St. Louis and classes are held at the World Trade Center. This certificate offers professional education to the growing number of persons in the region actively engaged in international trade. Students are required to complete four of the following five core courses plus some electives. The core courses are: Introduction to International Trade, Developing and Implementing an International Business Plan, Planning and Conducting International Negotiations, International Finance, and International Ocean and Air Transport. For additional information see:

St. Louis Regional International Partnership

The St. Louis Regional International Partnership is an alliance of internationally-focused organizations in the region who support efforts to increase international trade, education, cultural exchanges, and world understanding to improve the social, cultural, and economic well being of the St. Louis region. The Partnership organizes annual World Trade Month activities each May.

Partners include: Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri
Department of Economic Development, Missouri District Export Council, Saint Louis
University, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association, Traffic Club of St. Louis, U.S. Export Assistance Center, International Studies and Programs, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, Webster University, World Affairs Council of St. Louis, and World Trade Center Saint Louis.