The International Education Partnership Award
Every year, we recognize individuals or organizations who significantly contribute to the mission of the SLLC: Those who help facilitate understanding of the world's the diversity through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, and those who offer opportunities to our students for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world.
At our annual convocation, we therefore bestow the International Education Partnership Award.
Steele is a company that is defining the way that skills and knowledge are used in the twenty-first century. In its short history, Steele CIS has employed many KU students and alumni in both contractor and career roles. It has actively sought KU students with foreign-language backgrounds. Moreover, it has provided PhD students with both career opportunities as well as concrete examples of what a non-academic career in foreign-languages looks like today.
Steele CIS is an innovative company that uses Internet technology together with highly educated employees to investigate international compliance with the US Federal Corrupt Practices Act. This work requires employees who understand both English and a wide range of other languages, it calls on their ability to read subtle culturally-embedded information, it requires them to conduct complex and challenging research, and, finally, it expects them to write effectively to communicate their findings.
Steele CIS is a company that is defining the way that skills and knowledge are used in the twenty-first century. In its short history, Steele CIS has employed many KU students and alumni in both contractor and career roles. It has actively sought KU students with foreign-language backgrounds. Moreover, it has provided PhD students with both career opportunities as well as concrete examples of what a non-academic career in foreign-languages looks like today. The SLLC mission statement aspires to provide “opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world”; Steele CIS gives our students a way to apply their knowledge and skills in meaningful ways to do good in the world, making it safer and ready for business, and thus a more humane place for international commerce to thrive.
For its support of KU SLLC’s mission, its students and alumni, we are pleased to award to Steele CIS the first annual KU SLLC International Education Partnership Award.
Clinton O. Robinson (Director of State & Local Government Affairs for Black & Veatch Corporation)
Clint Robinson is an Associate Vice President and serves as the Director of State & Local Government Affairs for Black & Veatch Corporation. He has worked for Black & Veatch Corporation since 1984 and is a Professional Engineer registered in Kansas and Missouri. He is also fluent in Spanish. His professional engineering history includes over 25 years of project related work in the water/wastewater engineering field. Five of those years were spent managing a successful operation in an office in Miami, FL for water related services in South Florida, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Clinton O. Robinson, Director of State & Local Government Affairs for Black & Veatch Corporation, has supported the KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures through his advocacy for language-learning and cultural competence in regional K–12 education and industry. He has helped the School to develop productive ties, for example, with the Blue Valley School District and Blue Valley CAPS, which are important sources of highly qualified students, as well as with Black & Veatch, whose world-wide reach requires an increasingly globally competent and culturally flexible workforce. Clinton O. Robinson has not only mastered Spanish and used it in his professional life as an executive, notably through his work with Latin American projects for Black & Veatch, but has his public visibility and professional leadership to highlight the importance of studying languages and cultures, and to encourage others to share this globalized approach in his business partnerships, outreach to professional schools, and his talks and seminars with the public at large.
In his warmly-received key-note address to the SLLC in 2016 in front of a full house of alumni, faculty, students and friends of the School, he spoke eloquently of his experience in language-learning and what it taught him about applying the lessons of cultural competence in the business world.
The Convocation’s festivities were made especially poignant by the fact that Clinton O. Robinson is the great-grandson of David Hamilton Robinson, “Lawrence’s Linguist” and one of the three founding faculty of KU in 1866, underlining the deep and dynamic commitment of KU to language and cultural education as well as the profound ties of the Robinson family to KU’s great traditions.
For his support of KU SLLC’s mission, its students and alumni, we are pleased to award to Clinton O. Robinson the second annual KU SLLC International Education Partnership Award.
Viktoria Olskaia is recognized for her significant contributions to building and sustaining the School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures. Through her work as one of the first members of the SLLC Advisory Board and her office as President of the Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation, she has been instrumental in helping the SLLC to create innovative opportunities for students to study abroad and put their languages to work in real-life circumstances.
Viktoria helped design and launch the Russophone Experiential Learning program in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the very first new study-abroad program associated with the SLLC and an innovative offering for the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures. The contributions she has made are significant, including helping to arrange institutional partnerships with KIMEP University as well as companies and NGOs in Almaty where students were placed for their learning experiences. She has fundraised and donated to help KU students defray part of the costs of participation and individually mentored many of the students.
The School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures is proud to present her this award in recognition of her service to the School and its students and, with this work, her continuation of Gabriel Al-Salem’s legacy of creativity and achievement in the application of language and culture to real-world problems that characterizes.
For her support of KU SLLC’s mission, its students and alumni, we are pleased to award to Viktoria Olskaia the third annual KU SLLC International Education Partnership Award.
Margarete Dorsch, of Lindsborg, KS, is a professor emerita of French and German at Bethany College, a teacher at Lindsborg High School, and an alumna of the KU German Program and also a Graduate Teaching Assistant in that program. She has also been a pillar of the annual Schülerkongress, held at KU. Today we recognize her for her many and lasting contributions to the education and mentorship of her students in Lindsborg, many of whom continued their studies at KU and have gone on to fulfilling lives and careers inspired significantly by her. Frau Dorsch, as her students affectionately call her, has touched many lives and continued to remain a mentor to her students long after they leave Lindsborg. Her influence is apparent in all the “Lindsborg gang” who come to KU: they are smart, curious, open-minded, compassionate, eager to both serve others and better themselves. Each one has their story of how Frau Dorsch was their idol, inspiration, and friend.
Margarete Dorsch also raised a magnificent son, Gabriel Al-Salem, whose talent, ingenuity, creativity, and joie-de-vivre helped him to achieve great things in his all-too-short life. A triple major in German, Russian, and Theatre, Gabriel went on to become a pioneer in the emerging field of management consultant in the post-Soviet states. His positive influence and achievements continue to be felt widely among his friends, co-workers, and clients in this dynamic part of the world. The work of the Ga-briel Al-Salem Foundation seeks opportunities to perpetuate his influence in successive generations of students, including many KU students, who have had the opportunity to study and work under the auspices of the Foundation in his beloved adopted country of Kazakhstan. As the Russian saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Gabriel’s legacy is also Frau Dorsch’s legacy.
We recognize Frau Dorsch as an exemplary teacher, mentor, and inspiring human being, who has made an incalculable difference in the lives of her students and in so doing made our world, both the world of KU, and world at large, that much better.
For her support of KU SLLC’s mission, its students and alumni, we are pleased to award to Margarete Dorsch the third annual KU SLLC International Education Partnership Award.