International Visitors and Programs

2009 Visitors from Hungary

Irina Golubeva (January 23-31)

The Great Lakes Consortium for International Training and Development (GLC) invited Irina Golubeva, Director of Foreign Relations and Scientific Affairs of the University of Pannonia (UP), from Veszprem, Hungary to visit Northwest Ohio (right on this photo with Dariel Jacobs, Prof. Lourdes College).

 The goal of her program is to find mutually beneficial joint certificate/master programs in English together with the UP and NW Ohio academic partners, discuss ideas and share experience with professors and students who may have an interest in Hungary. Thank you for the support of the Lourdes College and the University of Toledo, as well as the host families (Dariel Jacobs and Nadiya Hinton).

GLC started to  work with the University of Veszprem (which is now much larger and has the new name UP) with much success. As a result of a successful grant applications professors from BGSU and Veszprem visited each other and discussed research cooperation. A BGSU professor went to teach to Veszprem for one semester, and a student also was able to study there with support from the Hungarian partners. Several Veszprem students came for summer internship with the "Work and Travel" program to NW Ohio in various fields (incl. environmental, computer etc.) They got paid internship and worked at WSOS or at the Toledo Botanical Garden. They also participated in some educational activities with BGSU students.

In addition leaders from the University of Toledo science departments were invited to Veszprem University where they made presentations, met students, introduced various educational opportunities and cooperation for Veszprem professors and students. As a result of this visit a student from Veszprem was invited for a Summer Fellowship to UT.

In July 2008, professors from Lourdes College visited the University of Pannonia and met with leaders to discuss how they can establish more collaboration. They identified a couple of areas that have mutual interest to develop further exploration.

In October 2008, Marta Talaber, Vice President of the Veszprem County Assembly and Aniko Talaber, Foreign Relations officer of Veszprem County visited BGSU, UT and Lourdes partners and they found several areas that would offer mutual benefit.  They shared their experience with UP leaders after their return to Hungary.

Based on all the successful previous activities we are confident that the partnership between UP and NW Ohio academic partners can broaden on many different fields (incl. education, business, engineering, science, foreign language teaching, theatre etc.).

Every year they host in Veszprem an "American Week" with Fulbright scholars from the US living in Hungary to make presentations, share more information from the U.S. and participate in other activities. This year's event will be from April 20 to 24, 2009 and they are extenting the invitation to NW Ohio professors and partners who may have an opportunity to travel to Veszprem at the time of the program. Please contact us for more information at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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2008 Visitors from Ukraine

Marton Egressy, Transcarpathia (January 22-29, 2008)

(L-R): Mary Keener (host for Martin), Dr. James Horner, Ohio State Rep. Peter Ujvagi, Marton Egressy (from Ukraine), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Laura Rudolph (Toledo Area Representative for the Healing the Children Foundation).
(L-R): Mary Keener (host for Martin), Dr. James Horner, Ohio State Rep. Peter Ujvagi, Marton Egressy (from Ukraine), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Laura Rudolph (Toledo Area Representative for the Healing the Children Foundation).

The Great Lakes Consortium hosted an Afternoon Tea Reception at the Asbury Methodist Church in Toledo to welcome Marton Egressy (15) from Ukraine and recognize the Healing the Children Foundation and other partners who has helped Marton to grow in spite of his medical challenges (growth hormon deficiency and flour allergy). Martin has been hosted during his visits to Toledo by the Keeners family.

Katie Bibish presented a slide show on the latest development in Ukraine supported by The Anastasia Fund and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur shared more information about the challenges and accomplishments in Burtyn, Ukraine and working with Caritas-Spes there.

It was a truly multicultural event, where members of our Hungarian, Ukrainian, Polish and Lebanese community also participated, many of them helped as volunteers to pack clothes in boxes that were sent in 5 containers to Burtyn earlier. It was great to hear that people in the Village of Burtyn still have the clothes that they got from Toledo and the connections to America are seen on T-shirts or hats that are regularly worn in that community. The ambulance that were donated from Toledo was seen on the streets helping people in Ukraine, and the Community Center that the Anastasia Fund helped to renovate and start as Humanitarian Center is now fully furnished and they have a working kitchen and bathroom facility, that is rear in that village. The Sewing Club continues to work, and one of the former members of the club became now the Mayor of Burtyn.

Students sponsored by the Anastasia Fund from Burtyn studying at Ostroh Academy completed their education and moved back to the village and helped others.

Although the development is slow in Ukraine and has to face many challenges, there is hope that the situation even in small villages will improve as people understand the need to implement new ideas and learn how they can help themselves.

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2008 Visitors from Lebanon

Claudette Kortbawi (January 16-18, 2008)

Photo: Jan 17, 2008 (L-R) Elizabeth Balint, Claudette Kortbawi (from Lebanon), Genevieve Geha-Kirkbride and Helen Brewis
Photo: Jan 17, 2008 (L-R) Elizabeth Balint, Claudette Kortbawi (from Lebanon), Genevieve Geha-Kirkbride and Helen Brewis

We had a great opportunity to welcome back for a brief visit in Toledo Claudette Kortbawi from Lebanon. The last time she visited here was in May 2004  when she was part of a 7-member women's delegation on "Strengthening Non-Governmental Organizations" in Lebanon. That exchange program was funded by the US State Department with the goal to provide training and experience that help program participants to improve their work in Lebanon. Claudette kept her connections with her friends from Toledo and was invited back to Toledo by her former host Rabha Eidi.

Claudette met with GLC representatives and highlighted some of the benefit of that exchange program, and recognized USAID in Lebanon which worked with her and other delegation members to implement new projects and help the people in Lebanon. She emphasized that the training that the Great Lakes Consortium put together both in the US and the US experts' visit to LEbanon were very helpful, and it is much needed for Lebanon, where the political situation in the last 3 years create additional challenges that the NGO leaders and women across Lebanon are facing. She was very hopeful that our cooperation will continue and offered assistance for future programs. Claudette was also interested to share more information about opportunities for Lebanese students to study at NW Ohio higher education institutions, especially women.

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