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First Monday

Public Affairs


International programs director receives Fulbright

June 20, 2003

Photo of Yenbo WuYenbo Wu, who oversees the University's Office of International Programs, heads to Japan this weekend as one of only six people from the United States chosen as a Fulbright Scholar to Japan through the prestigious International Education Administrators Program.

During the next month Wu will tour universities, high schools and the Ministry of Education as a way to better understand Japan's education system. He was selected from hundreds of applicants nationwide through a rigorous screening process and joins colleagues from Yale, Emory and Rice universities. Although Wu has traveled the world recruiting students, this will be his first trip to Japan. His stops include Hiroshima, Tokyo and Kyoto.

"To be a Fulbrighter is one of the dreams I've had as an international educator," Wu said. "This Fulbright experience in Japan will surely assist me in fulfilling my job responsibilities and enhance my career development. But more important, it will strengthen my professional and personal commitment to working toward the realization of the values and ideals that Senator Fulbright envisioned and sought to encourage."

Since his arrival at SFSU in 2000, Wu has seen the number of international students rise to about 2,230 students representing 110 countries of origin. SFSU currently has more international students than any other master's degree-granting institution in the U.S. except City University of New York-Baruch College.

As a hands-on administrator Wu helps solve visa problems –- a frequent challenge in these post-Sept. 11 days, advises students on everything from classes to careers and ensures that his staff of 17 employees and eight student assistants is meeting daily deadlines.

Wu grew up in Beijing and earned a bachelor's degree and taught English for eight years at what is now known as Capital Normal University (previously named the Beijing Teachers College).

He emigrated to the United States in the early 1980s, first landing in New York where he earned his Ph.D. in comparative international education at State University of New York at Buffalo. He intended to return to China after finishing his studies, but the summer of 1989 proved to be a pivotal point in his life as he and millions of others around the world watched the massacre in Tianenman Square.

"Because of 1989 I changed my plans to go home," he said.

Wu became a vocal protester, organizing academic conferences with scholars from around the world and working with elected U.S. officials and the media to denounce the actions of the Chinese government.

By 1991, Wu found his true calling in international education and began his career directing student programs at University of Nebraska at Lincoln and University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

Now, as a Fulbrighter, he looks forward to developing a deeper understanding of international education.

"I recognize the role I'm playing to promote world peace," he said.

-- Christina Holmes


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Last modified June 20, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs