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2013.01.23 > For Immediate Release
contact: Shane Pekny - International Studies and Programs
phone: 402.554.2376 - email: spekny@unomaha.edu

Brazilian Teachers Begin Professional Development Course at UNO

Omaha - Last week, 32 high school-level English teachers from Brazil started a six-week professional development course at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, the program will help the teachers improve their English skills and teaching methods, as well as immerse them in U.S. language and culture.

The country possesses one of the world’s fastest growing economies and has become increasingly influential in international affairs. As a result, UNO has identified Brazil as a priority in its global engagement initiatives. The visiting teachers come both large and small communities in Brazil.

“This group will provide a perfect opportunity – at a perfect time – for the Brazilian teachers to learn more about the United States, and for Americans to get to know Brazil,” said Merry Ellen Turner, director of international programs at UNO.

During their stay, the teachers will enroll in UNO’s International Professional Development program. They will attend English courses tailored to their individual ability levels, seminars on English teaching methodology and a full lineup of intercultural activities, both on campus and in the community.

The teachers will also visit schools in Omaha and speak to students about Brazil; check out attractions such as the Joslyn Art Museum and the Durham Museum; and meet Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle.

On Jan. 29, the teachers will join a celebration of Brazilian culture, where all students and faculty are welcome to attend and learn about the country.

On Jan. 31, the teachers will depart on a three-day trip to Beatrice, where they will learn about secondary education in a smaller community and visit local attractions, including the Homestead National Monument. Along the way, they will stop at the State Capitol and meet Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy and Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale.

“That’s a major goal of the program, giving the teachers hands-on experiences with U.S. language, government, history, and culture,” said Ed Quinn, manager of International Professional Development at UNO.

The 32 teachers visiting UNO are among 540 who are attending similar courses at universities across the United States in January and February. UNO joins 17 other U.S. universities in hosting the initial group: Drexel University, Illinois State University, Iowa State University, Miami Dade College, Missouri State University, Ohio University, Southern Illinois University, St. Johns University New York, University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Delaware, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Kansas, University of Missouri Kansas City, University of South Carolina, University of Tennessee Knoxville and University of Texas at Austin.

The Institute of International Education, which administers the program for the Brazilian government, anticipates that 1,080 teachers will come to the United States each year for the next three years. The Fulbright Commission and the U.S. Embassy in Brazil have also collaborated on the nationwide project.

In the 2011-2012 academic year, UNO hosted 12 students from Brazil, part of an international community of 1,759 international students and scholars representing 131 countries.

For questions about the partnership with Brazil or UNO’s International Professional Development program, contact Shane Pekny at 402.554.2376.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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