TITLE: International Exposure in my Hometown
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: August 15, 2005 7:58 PM
This evening I had the pleasure of attending a reception
here as a part of
Senator Charles Grassley's
Ambassadors Tour. Every two years, Senator Grassley
brings a delegation of ambassadors and embassy
representatives for a
tour of the state of Iowa.
This year's delegation consisted of representatives
of over 70 countries. They will spend five days in
Iowa, visiting various Iowa businesses, in hopes of
creating opportunities for international collaboration
-- especially business connections. Senator Grassley
is a UNI alumnus and brings his tour to our campus
every other time or so.
I had the opportunity of chatting with representatives
from four continents, though I spent most of my time
with delegates from the Republic of Congo, Russia,
and Taiwan. Having "computer science" on my name tag
seemed to attract folks' attention. Some countries
seek to build up their computing infrastructure in
order to participate more fully in the information
economy. Others seek to develop connections to utilize
existing computing industries. Still others found
computers to be a familiar way to start a conversation,
even if they weren't so interested in building up new
computing-related connections with UNI.
My conversations this evening remind of just how much
we all have in common. When Americans think of the
Congo, most probably don't think about colleges and
businesses trying to do the same things they do here
at home. The news we hear tends to be of extraordinary
events, especially natural and man-made disasters.
I had a chance to give my condolences to the senior
diplomat from Cyprus for the recent
plane crash in Greece
that killed over one hundred of his compatriots.
Computing notwithstanding, we all live in very much
the same world.
BTW, Senator Grassley is a good guy, and he has been
good to his alma mater while serving in the legislature.
Obligatory running trivia: Senator Grassley is an
active runner, even in his 70s. He remains the only
U.S. legislator whom I know I've defeated in a race,
a 5K in a nearby rural town several years ago. I
usually, um, neglect to tell anyone that he was just
about to turn 70 at the time! (If I've defeated anyone
else with a national profile, it was surely in the
2003 Chicago Marathon.
That was a big crowd of runners! Then again, I was
behind many of them.)