Montana State University

Summer at MSU is time for networking with international groups

June 15, 2016 -- By Carol Schmidt, MSU News Service

In this 2008 MSU file photo, students in the MEPI program work on a project during the six-week summer leadership program that brings students from Middle Eastern nations to MSU. Groups from Kazakhstan, Japan, Okinawa, China and the Middle East and North Africa that will be on MSU’s campus this summer. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN - When Montana State University officials met this week with a delegation of university and government officials from Kazakhstan that form the country’s Higher Education and Workforce Development, it was the beginning of a busy summer of international outreach for the university.

Members of the MSU administration as well as soil scientists, engineers and various other educators will meet with Kazakhstan’s chief expert for higher and graduate education in the country’s Ministry of Education, a representative from the country’s oil and gas institute and educators from East Kazakhstan Technical University, Pavlodar State University and South Kazakhstan State University. The group will be in Montana June 12-17 in a tour arranged by World Montana Center for Diplomacy and Leadership. The Kazakh group is interested in fostering future collaboration and research as well as learning how Montana, a landscape not unlike that of Kazakhstan, deals with higher education as well as oil and gas development and land reclamation.

According to Janelle Rasmussen, the director of training and special programs at MSU International Programs, the Kazakhstan group is one of five international groups composed of students, faculty and government officials visiting MSU this summer. Other groups are from Japan, Okinawa, China and the Middle East and North Africa.

David Di Maria, MSU’s associated provost of international programs, said such visits are rich educational and networking opportunities in today’s global economy.

“When delegations of international academic, business and government leaders visit our state, we are presented with unique opportunities to promote positive relations between the people of the United States and other countries, support the economic development of our communities, and empower our students to acquire the knowledge and skills required to succeed in today’s global economy,” Di Maria said.

“Montana State University serves as a global gateway for our state by facilitating programs that support the development of academic, business and cultural exchanges between Montana and the world.”


The first international delegation to arrive on campus was the Japanese Long Term Professional Educators Program, also called the LEAP program. Thirteen Japanese administrators from throughout the county, all early in their professional careers, arrived in Bozeman at the beginning of June for an eight-week stay at MSU. They will be placed in internships across the country. MSU and Japan have partnered for the program since 2005.

“We are excited to have the LEAPers back on campus this summer,” Rasmussen said.

Okinawa Global Leadership Program:

Thirty high school students from Okinawa, an island off Japan, will be based at MSU this summer, enrolled in courses designed to improve their English skills, prepare for participation at academic conferences in English-speaking countries, and enjoy outdoor activities in the west. International Programs is seeking families or households that would like to host participants during a two-week homestay, July 29 - Aug. 14.

If interested, contact Makiko Diehl at or (406) 994-7944.

Chinese University of Geosciences

Twenty Chinese undergraduate students from the Chinese University of Geosciences will be at MSU for a week in July. They will study English language and culture. International programs is also seeking members of the community who would be interested in hosting the students for one day, Saturday, July 23. If interested, contact Diehl.

Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative

The MEPI Student Leaders Program is part of the U.S. Department of State’s public diplomacy initiative in the Middle East and North Africa. MSU has been hosting college-aged students through the program for 18 years. This year, 20 students from the Middle East and North Africa will participate in the leadership program at MSU from June 29 – July 24.  Rasmussen said her office is recruiting mentors to add civic and community engagement to the program. Mentors will be paired with a participant based on common areas of personal and professional interest. This mentorship is a meaningful way to help others engage in the local community, while simultaneously supporting the international community. If interested, contact Katherine Horine, the MEPI program coordinator at  or call (406) 944-5045.

Contact: Janelle Rasmussen (406) 994-7602,