IIE Blog Opening Minds
Clare Banks

Blog Author:

Clare Banks

10 total blog posts
  • 100 Years of IIE: From Student Mobility to Strategic Engagement

    By: Clare Banks and Daniel Obst on Thursday, July 23, 2015

    When IIE was founded nearly 100 years ago, one of the first actions founding Director Stephen Duggan took in establishing the new organization was to survey 250 colleges and universities in the United States to determine their capacity and interest in exchanging students and professors with foreign countries. With results of this survey in hand, Duggan visited Great Britain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and Yugoslavia in the summer of 1919. He personally delivered hand written letters of introduction to authorities and university officials, prominent journalists, and distinguished scholars across Europe, paving the way for educational partnerships and exchanges between universities in the United States and Europe.

  • Myanmar: What a Difference 2 Years Can Make

    By: Clare Banks and Daniel Obst on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

    When we first traveled to Myanmar two years ago, there was little to no Wi-Fi, few mobile phones (SIM cards could only be obtained by lottery and cost around $1,500 each, making it unaffordable for most), no ATM machines or credit card usage, and frequent electricity outages. Fast forward just two years: consistent access to Wi-Fi, excellent 3G, and little need to bring stacks of cash anymore (credit cards are now accepted at most hotels). The arrival of telecom providers TeleNor and Oredoo has reduced the price of SIM cards to $1.50 resulting in a reported 30%+ market penetration of cell phones. Electricity outages are still common, and traffic in Yangon is worse than ever, but major change is palpable everywhere, and ATMs and 3G are just the more visible manifestations of this extraordinary transition.

  • Bringing U.S. and Myanmar Higher Education Together: Htoo Htoo Wah’s Reflections

    By: Clare Banks on Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    Htoo Htoo Wah is the head of the English Department at the Myanmar Institute of Theology, a leading Christian higher education institution in Myanmar. After spending four intense weeks as a visiting scholar at Northern Arizona University, he had a moment to reflect on his experience of U.S. higher education.

  • Conferencing in Cuba: A First Step Towards Increasing U.S.-Cuba Higher Education Partnerships

    By: Clare Banks on Monday, March 10, 2014

    A bright pink Chevy the size of a whale, duos singing classic Buena Vista Social Club songs, Che t-shirts, and Fidel photos—all common associations that many of us in the U.S. have when we think of Cuba. Indeed, my colleague Daniel Obst and I witnessed them all in one form or another. It’s true there are old cars, and, yes, music is a huge part of the culture; but the beautiful reconstructed plazas, pervasive tranquility throughout the city, and friendly people were just a few of the wonderful surprises that greeted us last week when we had the unique opportunity to experience Cuba for the first time.

  • How IIE launched New Course in Myanmar with a Little Help From Count Basie and "Silicon Valley"

    By: Clare Banks on Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    It’s 8:55 am and we’re on the finishing touches. The U.S Embassy is letting us use Count Basie Hall—or the CBH—at the American Center in Yangon to launch IIE’s new pilot course, Connecting with the World: International Relations at Higher Education Institutions, and the cavernous cube of a space is finally starting to look like a classroom. Joanna Regulska (Rutgers University), Mandy Hansen (Northern Arizona University), Katherine Punteney (Monterey Institute of International Studies) and Ron Feng (Knowledge Platform), IIE’s curriculum development partners throughout the past four months, are showing their true team spirit by ferrying desks, chairs, tables, and boxes of books around the CBH while the industrial air conditioner attempts to bring the muggy 35⁰C room down to a manageable 23. Five minutes until the time we had suggested participants arrive at the workshop. Who knows who will show up?

  • Expanding Academic Cooperation with Indonesia by Launching a U.S. – Indonesia Higher Education Consortium

    By: Clare Banks on Monday, June 10, 2013

    Greg Galford, an Associate Professor of Interior Architecture from Chatham University, had never really thought about Indonesia two years ago, but was set to travel there in April 2011 as more or less a tag-along faculty member. IIE had selected Chatham to join a cohort of six U.S. and six Indonesian colleges and universities that would dedicate two years to developing institutional partnerships and increasing U.S. study abroad to Indonesia. When at the last minute the senior administrator leading the effort was unable to travel with Greg, he found himself solely responsible for representing the university, anxious about what would be expected of him in Indonesia, and hyper concerned about making the short layover from Seoul to Bandung.

  • 8 Stages for Developing Institutional International Partnerships

    By: Clare Banks on Thursday, May 9, 2013

    IIE’s Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education has been working diligently in the partnerships arena for some time now. Through our flagship program, the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP), which assists U.S. colleges and universities develop a strategy for partnering with counterparts in other countries, and other CIP program, such as the ECA-funded U.S.—Indonesia Partnership Program and the IIE Global Partnerships Service, CIP staff have acquired a depth of knowledge regarding partnership development.

  • Building Partnerships in India

    By: Clare Banks on Friday, February 15, 2013

    In her recent article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Karin Fischer makes a number of important points about the often-difficult reality of developing academic partnerships with Indian institutions. Anyone having attempted to foster these relationships will no doubt be able to relate to the bureaucratic hurdles, credit transfer issues, differing pedagogy, and incompatible research interests that inevitably arise.

  • Investing in the U.S. - Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership: Current Government Efforts and What YOU Can Do To Help

    By: Clare Banks on Friday, November 9, 2012

    A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting in a classroom at MIT surrounded by about thirty Indonesians. My mind was wandering since everyone was speaking in rapid Bahasa Indonesia and, sadly, my Indonesian language skills are limited to “hello” and “thank you.” On the upside, I noticed the half-erased math equations on the chalkboard—something about “r” and squares and Greek letters—realizing that Bahasa might not be the most confusing language in the room.

  • Partnering over Pao de Queijo in Brazil

    By: Clare Banks on Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Recently, I accompanied 32 U.S. college and university representatives on a whirlwind study tour to Brazil. Covering five cities in six days, this remarkable group of faculty, staff, and administrators bonded over bus rides, pão de queijo, and the wealth of opportunities presented by the Brazilian higher education system.

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About the Author

Clare Banks is the Senior Manager for IIE's Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education.

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About Opening Minds

For more than nine decades, the Institute of International Education has been at the forefront of international education. The Opening Minds blog is IIE’s take on how this field continues to change. Here the Institute’s leaders will explore international educational exchange, global student mobility, institutional partnerships, international development, and other topics and trends that are shaping higher education around the world.


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