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Green Bay Middle School Visits UW-Madison!

by Dr. Nancy Heingartner, IRIS Assistant Director for Outreach

The Aldo Leopold Community School is a K-8 school in Green Bay that serves over six hundred students.

On May 7, 2018, 175 ALCS middle-school students and 10 teachers came to campus for a customized 4-hour program. Organized by Nancy Heingartner, IRIS Assistant Director for Outreach, this “International Introduction to UW-Madison” provided a variety of hands-on (and feets-on) activities. After learning to sing a traditional Russian children’s song (in Russian), the students broke into groups and attended four 10-minute-long mini language lessons. In all, 8 different languages were featured: Finnish, Japanese, Kichwa, Norwegian, Swahili, Tamil, Vietnamese, and Zulu. This was followed by a study-abroad panel discussion. Four undergraduates, who had studied abroad in four different countries, each spoke for five minutes about the highlights of their experiences abroad.

May 7, 2018 was a glorious spring day in Madison! After the study-abroad panel, the ALCS group had an hour-long lunch on the terrace of the Memorial Union. Returning fully energized from lunch, they were then treated to a demonstration of the traditional Javanese (Indonesia) peacock dance. Mailani Kamilah, a visiting Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant, captured the audience’s attention with her beautiful costume and graceful movements. A short, interactive presentation, entitled, “Why Study A Language?,” was next. To wrap up the program, Thet Oo Khine, a visiting Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from Myanmar, demonstrated a traditional New Year’s dance and taught the group how to perform it.

According to the lead teacher organizer of this endeavor, “We spent yesterday talking about how much the kids loved the trip. Of course, lunch on the Terrace was [one] their favorites, but they all had amazing things to say about the language lessons and the performances and study abroad experiences. They really think it would be a great thing to do again and they all wish they could have seen all the languages. :)” The International Introductions program is an initiative of Dr. Heingartner who does her best to accommodate the request of any school located more than two hours’ drive from Madison.

Composer and Performer, Victor Gama, Visits UW-Madison

by Alyana Guidotti, IRIS Undergraduate Communications Intern

Victor Gama is a composer and designer of contemporary musical instruments, using technology to create new music inspired  by the natural world. A solo performer who makes music for dance, film, theater, and multimedia performances, Gama has exhibited his unique and innovative instruments across the globe, inspiring others with the 21st century music that he quite literally makes from scratch. His award winning interactive exhibition with workshops and concerts, INSTRUMENTOS, has been featured in notable locations such as London’s Royal Opera House, Madrid’s Fundación Carlos D’Amberes, UK’s National Center for Design and Crafts.

On Monday, March 19, Gama shared this creative process with the Madison community as he gave a free performance at the Discovery Building. This performance features two special instruments created by Gama, the Toha and the Acrux. Watch the video recording of Gama’s performance and his introduction of the instruments HERE.

Longtime UW-Madison Employee and IRIS Executive Director Retires

by, Alyana Guidotti, IRIS Communicatons Intern

Jim Delehanty, who served as the Executive Director of the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) since 2015, has retired. Jim worked for the university for 31 years, beginning in the Geography Department in 1987. He then went on to work in the African Studies Program from 1995 to 2015, serving as the Associate Director, before coming to IRIS as its first Executive Director. “From the very start I was honored to be at UW-Madison, and I’m leaving still feeling honored,” said Delehanty during his last week in the office.

Taking part in nearly four years of discussions relating to the future of the area studies centers at UW-Madison, Jim played a pioneering role in the creation of IRIS. As Sarah Ripp, IRIS’ Assistant Director for Programming and Communications has remarked: “Jim excels at taking a diplomatic approach to any conflicts or issues that may arise—he tends to see the glass as ‘half full’ and gives others the benefit of the doubt. These skills have been instrumental in developing a collegial work environment amongst the centers and IRIS staff.”

Jim recently received the Ann Wallace Career Achievement Award for his dedication to serving the university. His coworkers nominated him for the award not only to honor his extensive career at UW-Madison, but also to commend him for his leadership within IRIS during its first few years. When asked if he had any parting thoughts, Jim stated that he wishes the best of luck to his colleagues with their future projects and endeavors.

Call for Applications (AY 2018-2019) Graduate PAs in International Studies Administration

Call for Applications (AY 2018-2019) – Graduate Project Assistantships in International Studies Administration

The Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS), a unit in the UW-Madison International Division, anticipates multiple openings for graduate student project assistants for the duration of the 2018-19 academic year.

Project Assistants will be based in IRIS but some may be assigned, for one semester or two, to one of the regional centers that make up IRIS (for a list, see All appointments will be at 50 percent and require 20 hours of work per week, with compensation at the standard 50 percent PA level and full tuition remission and other assistantship benefits.

The purpose of the PAships is twofold: (1) to help IRIS and its constituent centers accomplish necessary work and (2) to help prepare selected students for jobs after graduation that may entail or include administration.

Thus, we are especially interested in applications from students whose academic work focuses on some aspect of regional and international studies, who anticipate careers that might involve administrative elements, and who would appreciate receiving training and mentoring in international studies administration.


PAs will work under the general supervision of the IRIS executive director but will be assigned specific roles and supervisors within IRIS and/or its constituent centers, some appointments shifting between the fall and spring semesters, depending on needs and PA skills. Among the duties that some or all PAs will be assigned are:

  • Assistance in grant applications, grant compliance, and grant reporting, including careful compilation of data for entry into on-line reporting systems.
  • Event planning, including content planning and logistics such as venue selection and reservations, program design, air ticketing, hotel booking, publicity, and communication with participants and campus financial specialists to ensure proper documentation and timely payment of honoraria or reimbursements.
  • Regional and international studies communication, including crafting compelling content on multiple platforms to inform campus and off-campus constituencies of activities, opportunities, and events in regional and international studies.
  • Working with our business/operations office, requiring familiarity with databases & spreadsheets, ability to adapt to new systems quickly, highly attentive to detail while processing data & forms rapidly, and an ability to manage sometimes-confidential information.
  • Layout, editing, author/editor communications, marketing, and other work associated with journals and publications based in IRIS centers.
  • Assist IRIS centers with website maintenance and updating content. A working knowledge of html/css, proficiency in customizing WordPress templates, and experience with both website design and maintenance would be useful.
  • Other administrative work as assigned.


Applicants must be UW-Madison graduate students in good standing, making normal progress toward a graduate degree. Applicants must have experience outside the United States and currently working on a degree that has an international research dimension, ideally including sustained research abroad.

Applicants should apply for general consideration. We will make assignments based on needs and candidate abilities, meaning that applicants should not apply for specific duties or work in specific centers. However, application letters should clearly outline the range of the applicant’s interests and experiences that might bear on selection and assignment.


Submit an approximately two-page letter of application, a current CV, and, on a separate sheet, the names and contact information of two persons, ideally including the applicant’s academic advisor, whom we might contact for references if the applicant becomes a finalist. The application letter should be addressed to:

PA Selection Committee
Institute for Regional and International Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison

No mailing address is needed as it will be handled digitally.

Please assemble these three documents in a single pdf, with your full name as the file name, and attach the pdf to an email message to The subject of the email message should be “2018-19 PA Application.”

For full consideration, please apply before 4pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

Questions about the assistantships may also be addressed to the email address above.

Enjoy summer in Madison while learning a new language!

Enjoy summer in Madison while learning a new language! 

There’s still time to apply to take an intensive or immersion language class in the Summer 2018 Wisconsin Intensive Summer Language Institutes (WISLI).   Visit our websites for more information about our courses being offered this summer and directions on how to apply.

Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Language Immersion Institute:\

Arabic, Persian, and Turkish

Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute:

Kazakh, Uyghur, and Uzbek

South Asia Summer Language Institute:

Bengali, Hindi, Pashto, Sanskrit, Sinhala, Tamil, Tibetan, and Urdu

Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute:

Burmese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese

The Summer Intensive Portuguese Institute is for learners who already know a Romance language but want to also learn Brazilian Portuguese:

Online first- and second-semester Norwegian


Dr. Nancy Heingartner Speaks at the Hoover Institution


From left to right, the people in the photo are: Bernard Geenen, Economic and Commercial Counselor for Wallonia, Embassy of Belgium; Margaret Hoover, political commentator and great granddaughter of President Hoover; Dr. George Nash, historian and author; Brigadier General Georges Franchomme, Defense, Military, Air and Naval , Attaché, Embassy of Belgium; Colonel Thomas Dunne, Canadian Armed Forces, Air Attaché, Embassy of Canada; and Justin Margolis, Public Affairs Assistant,Québec Government Office in Washington.

On Monday March 5th, the Hoover Institution hosted “Glory and Gratitude to the United States – Chers Bienfaiteurs'” — accompanying the panel discussion was an exhibit of handwritten letters and drawings of gratitude addressed by Belgian schoolchildren to US Consul General in Liège, Alexander Heingartner, in 1915.

Dr. Nancy Heingartner, IRIS’ Assistant Director for Outreach, participated in the panel session, along with American historian and Herbert Hoover biographer, George Nash, as well as Mrs. Margaret Hoover. The panel  discussed the Commission for Relief, the lives of civilians during WWI, and the legacy which continues on into today.

Few people know that a large-scale humanitarian effort took place during WWI. As early as 1914, thousands of Belgian and American volunteers pulled together under the leadership of future President Herbert Hoover to save millions from starvation.

Molly Donnellan Hired as Full-time International Studies Major Advisor

Molly Donnellan will be joining IRIS and the International Division on a full-time basis as the IS Major advisor. Molly most recently served as the interim IS Major advisor, and prior to that as IS Major peer advisor.

Molly grew up in Neenah, Wisconsin, and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from UW–Madison with majors in International Studies (Politics and Policy in the Global Economy), Political Science, French, and a certificate in European Studies. She spent a year studying at Sciences Po in Aix-en-Provence, France, and was a Big Ten Conference Champion while competing for UW–Madison’s Women’s Rowing team. Molly looks forward to serving our students, campus, and community in this new role. Be sure to stop by and offer your congratulations.

Learn a new language this summer with WISLI!

by Felecia Lucht, Director, WISLI

Each summer, around 200 undergraduates, graduate students, professionals, and other non-traditional students from across the country come to Madison to study a language at the Wisconsin Intensive Summer Language Institutes (WISLI).   WISLI offers high-quality language courses in 29 less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) through five institutes:

Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Language Immersion Institute (APTLII) – Arabic, Persian, and Turkish

Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI) – Kazakh, Tajik, Uyghur, and Uzbek

South Asia Summer Language Institute (SASLI) – Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Pashto, Sanskrit, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan, and Urdu

Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) – Burmese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese

Summer Intensive Portuguese Institute – Brazilian Portuguese

And new to WISLI this summer: Online Norwegian

Contact the individual Institutes or WISLI if you have any questions.  We hope to see you in Summer 2018!

Connect with WISLI on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Representative from the Asian Development Bank Visits Campus

(From left to right): Sarah Ripp, IRIS Assistant Director for Programming & Communication; James Delehanty, IRIS Executive Director; Omar Dumdum, IRIS Project Assistant, Bart Edes, Asian Development Bank

by Omar Dumdum, IRIS Project Assistant

A top official from one of the world’s largest multilateral development banks visited UW-Madison on January 25 and gave a lecture on the changing landscape for development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bart Édes, who sits as representative of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) North American Office, said that while Asia-Pacific countries are leading the world in terms of poverty reduction and improving other social development indicators, the region is still home to a large share of the world’s poor.

Apart from widespread poverty, other challenges in the region include urbanization, climate change, and an aging population.  He said that Asia’s rapidly developing cities continue to face inadequate basic services and environmental degradation.  And with increasing life expectancy, an aging population would lead to higher levels of old-age-related spending, especially on health insurance and pension benefits—social systems that continue to be weak in most developing countries in Asia. Mr Édes said that ADB works with developing countries to address these issues by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments.

According to Édes, ADB, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, has contributed significantly to the region’s historic global rise, and would continue to do so by supporting three major agendas: inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.

He highlighted that ADB does not only focus on traditional infrastructure projects.  In his presentation, Édes mentioned that last year the institution approved financing for climate change adaptation and mitigation projects amounting to $4.5 billion out of the bank’s total approvals worth $28.9. He also explained that ADB relies on contributions from 67 member governments, 48 of which are from the Asia Pacific region.  The bank also receives funding from retained earnings from lending operations, repayment of loans and bonds issued on capital markets.

Édes’s talk was attended by IRIS faculty and staff, as well as students from International Studies 320 (Contemporary Issues: Interdisciplinary Approaches to South Asian Studies) taught by Lalita du Perron, Associate Director for the Center for South Asia.

Édes’s visit was part of ADB’s outreach mission to the US Great Lakes region.  Prior to the lecture, he met with officials of UW-Madison’s International Divison, led by Vice Provost and Dean Guido Podestá, to discuss potential partnerships between the two institutions.