@OliverStuenkel: A+ Media All Star and Int’l Relations Professor at Brazil’s Fundação Getulio Vargas Institute

 “When you learn from great teachers, you will grasp much more from their hard work
and commitment than from their lecture style.”
― William Glasser

Courtesy of PostWesternWorld.com

Before discussing the brilliant Dr. Oliver Stuenkel and his on-going contributing efforts to improving one of Brazil’s premier universities, the Fundação Getulio Vargas or FGV as it’s referred to abroad; let’s briefly review some historical context.  Flashback seven decades ago… give or take a year… to 1944.

Overseas, the Allie/Axis national leaders so anxiously desperate to resolve World War II’s problematic consequences spent the year’s majority drafting/revising/finalizing numerous surrender treaties.  But several thousand miles across the Southern Atlantic, FGV’s founding advisory board gathered at the very first assembly to discuss an entirely different world issue: how to sustainably improve their nation’s higher education industry. It’s a relentlessly complex subject yet today -now well into the 21st century- FGV’s current leadership still upholds that earnest commitment to maintaining an exceptional standard when it concerns their nation’s education rankings.

The FGV campus continues to explore, develop and execute progressive ideas, all influencing how a higher education infrastructure, adequately prepares students to begin post-graduate life successfully.  Every class gives students numerous opportunities to interact with invaluable resources, teachers deliver inspiring lectures about how to apply classroom instruction to careers beyond academia; Perhaps most importantly FGV continues to recruit top industry talent ‘turned’ professors, as the newest additions to a fast-growing, remarkable, faculty roster.

Courtesy of FGV.Academia.Edu/OliverStuenkel

In Spring 2011 when FGV approached Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, International Relations Professor extraordinaire, to join their convivial teaching troupe, his reply to their position inquisition was an emphatic yes.  It’s advisable to colleges worldwide, that whenever possible, hiring multi-lingual, internationally versed PhD, media savvy, all star candidates like Stuenkel will only help ennoble education’s foremost audience, the students.  Indeed, any student entering the lecture hall will undoubtedly realize upon finishing his semester course (as long as they’ve gone to class), that they’re all the more wiser, mindful, and discerning thanks to the good professor’s knowledgeable instruction.  Beyond the classroom, Stuenkel’a main media website PostWesternWorld.com, openly shares his latest research findings, thoughtful article readings, and other links to his recent contributing writing.  It’s a tremendous library that continues to curate new, enlightening materials.

Comparatively, PostWesternWorld.com’s social media presence needs a slightly bigger fan base before reaching notoriety similar to Sir Richard Branson’s or Elon Musk’s.  However, its overall audience engagement isn’t terribly shabby when it comes to their Twitter, and Facebook accounts.  Stuenkel often posts extensive information about how to help support diverse philanthropic endeavors, and shares interviews he’s given while attending different conferences worldwide.  Take a few minutes to check out his recent discussion with the GEG Africa Project, while attending at a policy-making symposium at South Africa’s University of Pretoria earlier this fall.  The conversation highlights his recent observations about Brazil’s evolving philosophy toward the changing dynamics impacting global economic governance.

Courtesy of GegAfrica.com

In the same way an apprentice painter hopes to study under an industry master like Henri Matisse, Oliver Stuenkel’s online/offline teaching will better prepare all scholars intent to make their life’s career achieve prominence as a CEO, Engineer, Diplomat, etc.  More importantly, a first-year FGV undergraduate stands to learn as much from Stuenkel’s expressive media presence, as does a corporate Vice President with twice the work experience.  PostWesternWorld.com exemplifies a truly creative way to disperse expert information to the masses, when one makes a choice to work diligently at featuring only the most reflective content using the right emerging media platforms.  Each tutorial reviews provoking question that any future leader needs to contemplate and debate.

Realistically, there’s no possible way to design a truly comprehensive course load that will provide all the ‘right’ answers to future generations.  But if campuses like FGV continue to appoint such influential educators like Stuenkel, then higher education will improve all the more quickly.  It’s equally important that professors also keep a healthy balance between developing their academic work while also helping to advance their respective fields.  Hence, partnerships that connect leaders like Stuenkel to international organizations such as CEBRI.org serve a larger social purpose.  The resulting conversations ideally bring up new suggestions to improve such community issues like urban planning, international relations, and education.

When reading over the numerous achievements Dr. Stuenkel’s CV outlines, its encouraging to know that his leadership continues to engage the commercial and academic environments simultaneously.  It’s largely inconsequential as to whether one absorbs his mentorship online via a podcast session or spends a semester abroad to take his classes.  In time, the students who understands why Stuenkel stresses that all lessons carry a global, applicable context will start a career, already significantly more observant than their less insightful peers.  This fact alone makes all of Stuenkel’s previous pupils a powerful force to contend with; and really who’d expect anything less knowing they’ve spent ample time studying under Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, a clear reflection to FGV’s best.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Will TomoClases.com steer Chile’s Universities to a Tech Savy Future?

   “Serving others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” — Mohammed Ali

Courtesy of S3.AmazonAws.com

Trick Question (it’s Halloween season folks) — Name two people receiving more Chilean press than a Miner Survivor preparing to enter the Presidential Race?
Answer: Meet the dynamic entrepreneurial duo, Guimar ‘Vaca’ Sittic and his CTO sidekick Eric Denovitzer, the latest Chilean startup all stars hoping to lead their country’s – and in time all of Latin America’s – entire education industry to embracing the 21st century.

So when/where and how exactly did these head honchos brainstorm such a progressive concept (seemingly overnight) that in the last six months they’ve recently joined Argentina’s top idea incubator NXTPLabs.com and began site expansion to the Argentina, Brazil, and Colombian markets?  For starters, they’re both alumni to notable US Universities – the University of Chicago and Princeton respectively.  Then combine this top-tier higher education experience with a multi-lingual/international business sense and it results in producing two civic-minded leaders perfectly ready to embrace the challenging landscape, when it comes to designing an online learning community that will change all future generations.  Vaca Sittic’s previous stint, helping cofound/sell restaurant booking website CenaPlus which raised $3.2 million in funding by February 2011, also gives the team an advantageous, competitive edge.

To quote an old Texas adage, this is not the boys’ first rodeo.

Courtesy of TheNextWeb.com/LA

In describing the company’s site premise and overall purpose, TheNextWeb.com’s reporter Anna Heim highlights how TomoClases.com takes the “offline classes and workshops marketplace model,” that’s comparable to the already popular domains like Khan Academy or SkillShare – but will concentrate their ambition more to specifically improving Latin America education.  Understanding certain, culturally relevant elements also matters a great deal when analyzing how the site will provide sustainable content long term.

During his interview with Heim, Vaca Sittic points out how, “Countries such as Argentina and Brazil have a strong culture in terms of hiring tutors for children. Moreover, people are constantly learning something new ranging from a new sport or an eccentric hobby. Hence, Tomo Clases will have a big impact in this countries in 2012 – we shorten the gap between professors and students from any field, and also encourage everybody to become a professor by teaching what they know.”  

Completing such thorough, primary, in-depth due diligence understandably generates ample, invaluable rewards.  It’s exciting to watch where TomoClases.com will go next, especially considering that even since last April’s beta launch when they first introduced the site to only the Chile/Mexico markets, the community now shares 600+ online classes to a 1,250+ user database.

Courtesy of Blog.TomoClases.com

So just how far will this online mercado, that openly shares an interactive knowledge source to one of the world’s fast-growing regions go? Well if the developing team keeps up their current work, it’s likely that TomoClases.com will evolve far beyond the founders’ initial vision and aspirations. It’s interesting, that where so many online platforms fail to maintain a strong, online brand community presence, TomoClases.com’s Blog, Twitter, and Facebook channels all display enriching, supplemental content. It’s a smart strategy that will only help the founders as they plan to court students, professors, and select education leaders’ participation more aggressively.

Anyone who still stands with both their initial entrepreneurial project and body intact despite enduring numerous, relentlessly searing VC investor screenings certainly posses a natural ability to demonstrate creative, charismatic leadership. But it’s also arguable that certain things succeed because on only the most select occasion, Lady Luck will opt to shine favor toward endeavors she deems worthy.  TomoClases.com’s serendipitous, timely beginning hit the web not long after several reports announced that Latin America’s current informal education market, a sector where 18 million users already spend $5+ Billion USD annually- was growing by 16% every year. Indeed, this proves point to international journalist Henry Golden’s now legendary business philosophy, “The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.”  As TomoClases.com continues to circulate their initiative worldwide, hopefully this winning streak will keep pace.

Courtesy of Facebook.com/TomoClases

It’s almost hard to believe that in just a few short week, students everywhere will rejoice to celebrate another semester’s end, yet the duo will not spend the remainder of 2012 enjoying a leisurely holiday season.  Far from it in fact, as they’ve expressed that their next major milestone will mean securing 10,000 classes and expanding the user-audience by at least ten-fold.  However while the weary TomoClases.com team soldiers on, a hard working holiday now will hopefully mean magnitudes of vacation time to themselves later, after they’ve managed to successfully create one of Latin America’s most lucrative, extraordinary businesses.

As Chile’s national motto so wisely expresses ‘By Right or By Might’ – it’s a tough, tedious road to creating a movement that will forever impact a region’s education industry.  Yet every new accomplishment brings TomoClases.com just a little bit closer to that truly admirable goal. Keep the course dear friends – the world’s already anticipating your next exciting announcement 🙂

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Corazón Digital: A Chilean University’s Alumni Volunteer to make an Impact

“It’s not that successful people are givers; it’s that givers
turn into incredibly successful people.” — Patti Thor

Any curious researcher wanting to learn more about which top-notch Chilean universities lead the way to progressively educating this emerging nation’s future work force, will no doubt discover La Universidad de las Artes, Ciencias, y Comunicaciones – also known by its international acronym UNIACC.

The private university, since opening their doors in 1989, currently operates three campuses (including the institution’s Santiago headquarters), offering 18 bachelor’s and two master’s programs to a 3,000+ student congregation. Moreover, comparable to the premier arts/technology instructor networks one finds at Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford; UNIACC boasts an internationally recognizable, faculty directory all their own. And while class choices run the gamut between digital communications, computer science, architecture, journalism, etc. – all UNIACC degree candidates enter their respective programs with an understanding that their work must exhibit passionate creativity and always harbor a unique force combining invention, innovation and change.

As a result, by encouraging such a standard amongst the entire student body, this produces a dynamic alumni community, who then go on to work with world’s top media publications, advertising agencies, marketing firms, or even for a brand’s global internal communications team. Collectively, these graduates recognize that charismatic professionals lead by example, continue their education beyond graduation and give charitably whenever possible. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that earlier this summer when a relatively small group of UNIACC alumni began campaigning to launch the initiative Corazón Digital – as a way to help mainly immigrant women learn necessary, basic computer program skills – university administrators practically leaped at the opportunity to offer the organizing committee resources and their enthusiastic support.

Although Corazón Digital maintains an admirable, on-going track record, launching any new project or philanthropic effort will unavoidably generate numerous challenges. In an interview with the university, Senior Director of Communications, Alfredo Santibanez shares that, “One of the first challenges for the project was that it was needed [a] digital volunteers form; that is, [a way to find] people who can teach information technology. We found that the digital volunteer training requires some knowledge and content must be systematized.” Indeed, coordinating, organizing and distributing materials takes patience, time and effort. On average, the program’s volunteers spend 32+ hours teaching course lectures that all explain how to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint successfully.

However, anything worth completing correctly typically adds up to a rewarding end. To date, 300+ participants now posse an advanced training background regarding these programs. More importantly, course instructors also see an intangible benefit by volunteering their time to help improve the local community. Since seeing this initiative’s impact around campus Santibanez observes how, “[Student volunteers] gain an awareness about realities that maybe [they] did not know; [every volunteer] can provide concrete tools for people to overcome their barriers, gaps and situations that may [previously excluded them] from better job performance.” An earnest testament proving once again how one never experiences success without giving selflessly first.

Courtesy of Twitter.com/IntelAprenderCL

If you’re interested in supporting the Corazón Digital initiative, there are several ways to follow up with UNIACC, in addition to the school’s main website.  They promote several social media channels including active Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.  Specific questions about the program can be directed to either Magdalena Quintero, Intel® Aprender’s Lead Coordinator or UNIACC’s Senior Communications Director, Alfredo Santibanez.  Lastly, if you’re a UNIACC alum/current student that’s worked with Corazón Digital at any point, please feel free to share your thoughts/comments about volunteering below.  Here’s a cheer to this fantastic cause and the truly inspiring individuals that kickstart this project both on and offline. ¡Felicitaciones para su trabajando!

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

London: Student Visa Chaos jostles an Education Capitol

“Education aims to give you a boost up the ladder of knowledge.  But too often, it causes a cramp while you sit on one of its rungs.”  ~Martin H. Fischer

Every now and then, it’s important to keep an ‘ice breaker’ question handy, just in case the small talk chatter during a monthly happy hour fades, because really there’s only so much conversation mileage when it comes to football.  So last week during a monthly ‘Wine Roundtable’ as my friends like to call it, someone put forth a question to the crew that dumbstruck all conversation mid-sentence.  Which gig would you hypothetically avoid at literally all cost: Penn State’s current VP of Marketing or RIM/Blackberry’s CMO responsibilities?

Having read about the recent student visa issues taking place overseas in London, I chimed in to offer a third alternative, “Well either way at least they’re not the immigration lawyers on case at London Metropolitan University…” and with that we all clinked glasses, lifting a hopeful prayer to the Paperwork Gods.  As every international student knows too well, dealing with visa administration/processing requires a patience threshold to rivals Job’s.  So in an extra effort to send out optimistic energy to the overseas students under fire across the pond, I also lit some extra candles – better safe than sorry.

Courtesy of CSmonitor.com

In order to resolve any problem, it’s paramount to first consider why/how things collapse, so that later when creating future operations, new procedures avoid former detrimental, mistakes. However no amount of mediation will correct a disagreement if those arguing fail to establish consistent, fair terms outlining how they’ll proceed.

In the case of LMU versus the UK Border Agency (UKBA), it’s evidently clear that neither party knows how to handle the system pitfalls concerning student immigration data and visa control.  As a result, according to a BBC World News report, come December 2012 “some 2,o00+ foreign students are affected and have until 1 December to find an alternative course or arrange to leave the UK.”  Comparatively, this almost makes waiting to find out about flight cancellations feel like a spa treatment.  It’s true, although LMU’s current predicament fortunately excludes child abusers and/or tanking stock values – it’s not exactly a rosy picture.

When it comes to discussing international student/staff university recruitment successfully, this London campus carries the burden to clarify issues involving the UKAB so that other UK colleges won’t endure a similar fate.  In a statement to the media, the campus administration made sure to note how, “London Met appreciates that as the first UK university to be placed in this position, [we have] a duty to the sector to try and bring an end to the damage arising from UKBA’s decision.”  Moreover since coming off a summer long media celebration involving Olympic preparation and a monarch’s Diamond Jubilee, it’s certainly understandable that the press openly welcome a new feature subject.

Courtesy of Hydromontage.com

In an effort to bring some relief and order to chaos, a task force with representatives from the academics’ union UCU, the UKBA, and the National Union of Students will help genuinely qualified international students enduring the investigation figure out alternative enrollment options and get back to their studies as quickly as possible.  A wise Englishman once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts.”  It’s a good lesson to remember while waiting to re-enter the classroom, but until someone issues a logical verdict, LMU’s foreign students must try to keep calm and carry on.

Here’s hoping to a swift solution.

Be Sure to Bookmark: MondoTimes.com

“Always be a helpful source to someone; There’s no time like the present.” – J. E. Durst

Courtesy of MondoTimes.com

International classrooms, now more than ever rely on connectivity and networking to help supplement classroom materials, reading lists, and the overall student experience. Hotels often offer a ‘Concierge Service’ that’s available any time, day, night, 24 hours to anticipate their guests’ slightest need. The communications directory MondoTimes.com offers a similar idea.  It’s a terrific, FREE online resource that profiles 213+ countries and features 33,000+ media outlets.  Bottom line: it’s essentially a media specific, global Yellow Pages.

Similar to HelpAReporter.com or BulldogReporter.com, this site offers links to a country’s main media sources, publication information, and shows current circulation numbers.  Admittedly, the web design fails to appear aesthetically pleasing; it’s ad-a-palooza to the left and right sidebars. Moreover, even though MondoTimes offers free membership to the general site, the actual ‘Media List’ builder determines a fee then charges users to review specific contact details.

If you’re trying to keep costs down, just spend a few extra minutes creating a title list, then review the publication’s actual site to find the right reporter. WARNING: Reporters change contact information frequently so use LinkedIn to check things.

Courtesy of Facebook.com/MondoTimes

Other places to connect with this Boulder, Colorado company include their Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn pages; it’s overall Grade earns B+ / A-.
Pros: Helpful information, all in one place, strong Facebook presence, easy to navigate, clear categories and tags.
Cons: Messy layout, poor Twitter following, Freemium model beyond Title index.

Courtesy of MondoTimes.com

If you’ve worked with MondoTimes.com before or a similar tool that connects journalisitic / communications resources to the classroom, feel free to share your feedback thoughts below. I’m always keen to learn about new technology that helps develop international classrooms and education. Happy Friday friends, enjoy the weekend! — A.Montgomery ; @acmontgomery

Did your campus celebrate Connected Educators Month?

“There’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware; it’s a small world after all.”  – Walt Disney

Courtesy of ConnectedEducators.org

It’s hard to imagine that when Labor Day ends and September rolls in, Fall 2012 classes will really begin to pick up speed.  Time’s flying but the fun’s just beginning dear readers. It’s dreadfully sad to bid summer bon voyage, but let’s  begin to celebrate Autumn and start the academic year with bright-eyed pep!  Speaking of celebration, were you aware that the fine folks running Twitter.com/edcocp officially deemed August 2012 Connected Educators Month?  What a smart idea!

Understandably, kicking off the school year calendar requires a mile-long check list, so it’s entirely possible that your local campus missed throwing a ‘Connected Educator’ fiesta, soirée, or sock hop.  Not to worry because classes, teachers, and education leaders everywhere should really support this idea all year long. Therefore in the spirit of prolonged partying, check out a few suggestions below that will help raise support and hopefully connect the entire education industry:

Courtesy of CMU.edu

#1 Get the thanksgiving ball rolling by taking a few minutes to write a thoughtful LinkedIn Recommendation for a professor, a superstar student, and/or outstanding colleague.

#2 Expand your weekly reading list to include a blog or trade resource that discusses international education initiatives.  Go the extra mile by sharing feedback to connect with author and spark interactive discussion.  Feeds worth a read > UniversityWorldNews.com and The21stCenturyTeacher.com.

#3 Look around SlideShare.net’s library – it’s great!  If there’s a smart user that offers wonderful information and recaps cool presentations, it’s easy to connect amongst different community platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

#4 Start following a Twitter list or even better, create your own list and highlight certain faculty/students/campuses that you enjoy tweeting; all the folks on these lists post A+ stuff > WorldWideLearn.com’s Top Foreign Language Professors and @SMMmagazine’s Top Marketing Professors.

#5 Tune into a Video library or Podcast stream (which in most cases synchs to your iTunes library) and download exciting materials that enhance classroom lecture activities.  Award-winning sites like VideoLectures.net and BigThink.com allow free access to excellent, informative materials featuring internationally known institutions and leaders.

Courtesy of MattWilsonPrime.com

Of course, this post only scratches the surface when it comes to discussing how education uses emerging media platforms to develop a powerful resource network.  If there’s a website, online tool or other innovative technology that supports connecting academic communities everywhere, please feel free to share any and all creative suggestions.  As always looking forward to your feedback and conversing online: @acmontgomery, LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery, or email me at acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com.  Happy Labor Day US friends!

TR35 & L.America Universities promote innovative competition to future leaders

“Always act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”  — William James

Courtesy of Comunidad.cic.ipn.mx

The ‘Natural Selection’ process possess a certain, exquisite talent that somehow manages to merge at least two seemingly, unrelated ideas together and magically ends up creating something wonderful.  Peanut Butter + Chocolate, Simon + Garfunkel, ‘LOL’ + Cats; they’re all unique, unpredictable combinations that enrich our otherwise mundane livelihood.  In a similar capacity, MIT’s prestigious TR35 award -a 13 year old program which every year rewards 35 tech-savvy innovators who are all under 35- also possess a natural ability to select only the most promising, forward thinking endeavors that once given a green light, will optimistically make the world better.

This year, in an effort to bring even more awareness about this program internationally, organizers will partner with specific Latin American markets in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay to stir interest and participation amongst each country’s exceptionally talented young professionals.  Given the award’s nature, it’s only logical that TR35 leaders will seek support from select universities in these areas.  In the same turn, the academic communities readily supports this type of opportunity which gives students the ability to experience real fieldwork before, during and after finishing their degree tracks.  It’s a text book example showing how natural selection builds symbiotic relationships that’d even make Darwin smile.

Courtesy of Technologyreview.es

Entering this innovative competition begins throughout Latin America in the following six countries but the main stage event takes place later this October, when the 2012 Global TR35 inductees will travel to this year’s EmTech conference in Boston, and present their work to top industry leaders.  As these ambassadors continue to promote their creative projects and pick up support, it’s equally important to praise the higher education institutions that support TR35’s efforts and bring awareness about the program to their campus community:

TR35 Spain & Instituto de Empresa (IE Business School)
Inaugural Winners announced October 2011

TR35 Mexico & Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey
Inaugural Winners announced May 2012

TR35 Argentina & Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires
Inaugural Winners will be announced in August 2012

TR35 Brazil & Universidade de São Paulo
Inaugural Winners will be announced in November 2012

TR35 Colombia & Pontificia Universidad Javeriana y Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Inaugural Winners announced June 2012

TR35 Uruguay & Universidad ORT Uruguay y Universidad Católica del Uruguay
Inaugural Winners will be announced in August 2012

Courtesy of TechnologyReview.com/emtech

While this year’s EmTech conference promises an excellent speaker line up and a myriad of learning opportunities, your Fall schedule fills up fast when trying to coordinate all these conferences.  If you’re unable to make the Boston trip, not to worry because there’s plenty of ways to connect and support these amazing finalists online through social media.  Feel free to connect with the EmTech community and this year’s TR35 inductees on their LinkedIn group, video channel or at:
Facebook.com/emtechMIT ; Facebook.com/techreview.es
Twitter.com/TechReview ; Twitter.com/Premiostr35 ;
the conference will also produce a live stream here.

A heartfelt congratulations and best of luck (¡Felicidades y Buena Suerte!) to the entire 2012 TR35 Global roster!

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