A Model Citizen

Soleiman Dias '00 MA is no ordinary citizen of Seoul, Korea. He's a foreign resident from Brazil who has lived in Seoul for six years. He's made such an impression on the City of Seoul that they bestowed on him one of its highest honors -- Honorary Citizen.

Dias wearing his citizenship medal.

Dias wearing his citizenship medal.

The City honored Dias for promoting an understanding of Brazilian and Korean cultures in Seoul. He initiated the founding of the Brazil-Korea Association to create a cultural exchange of Brazilian traditions to Koreans and Korean culture to Brazilians. He was lauded for his efforts as a president of both the Brazil-Korea Association and the International Professional Association in Education. Also an educator, Dias was recognized for his work teaching at Korean institutions including the Seoul Academy International School where he is now.

As president of the Seoul chapter of the International Professional Association in Education, Dias strives to prepare the next generation of educators and serve practicing teachers, administrators and college educators through a wide range of innovative initiatives based on visionary leadership, research, and dedicated service to Seoul.

Dias majored in international education while attending UIW as a graduate student. He left for Korea soon after graduation in 2000. After spending time there, he co-wrote a book in Portuguese about his life in Seoul, bringing the city to the eyes of the world. The book, called Lessons from the Other Side, was recently recognized as Best Foreign Book at the Italian Academy of Literature.

Dias affirms that Seoul is his second home, and remarked, “It was a great occasion, too big to comprehend. I'm still trying to fully understand the magnitude of such recognition as a foreigner in this land.”

For more than four decades, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has conferred honorary citizenship upon international residents in Seoul, recognizing their contribution to the city and the local community. Nominees are role models to Seoul citizens and other foreign residents. Although many citizens were nominated, only ten were selected. Dias stood out.

Other recipients of honorary citizenship in the past include football player Hines Ward and the coach of the Korean World Cup 2002 national team, Guus Hiddink.

Degree in International Studies

Students looking for international careers in government, business and international organizations will have new opportunities this fall. UIW has established an academic Center for International Studies and a new interdisciplinary major in International Studies.

Under the auspices of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and directed by Ambassador-in-Residence Dr. James F. Creagan, professor of political science and Amy Freeman Lee Chair, the Center will coordinate with other UIW disciplines and programs to provide students with the expertise they'll need to pursue global careers.

The new International Studies major will focus on intensive language study and courses in political science, history, art history, international business, religion, literature, music, philosophy, economics, anthropology and sociology. Students will have the opportunity to study abroad in one of the many programs offered by the university and intern internationally, possibly at an American Embassy or U.S. Consulate. The Center is seeking scholarship assistance so that all students can benefit from this experience.

A lecture series covering relevant issues will be offered to the university and public later this year.