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UW Alumni Return to Campus to Discuss Importance of Languages in Careers in International Development

October 9, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Wendy Johnson, Outreach Coordinator, Language Institute, Tel. (608) 262-1473, Fax (608) 890-1094, wsjohnso@wisc.edu

Madison—Having worked in many countries including France, Morocco, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Peru, and Brazil, three of UW–Madison’s alumni know firsthand how essential their studies in French, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese have been to their international development work.

“Proficiency in the local language is really invaluable to be able to engage directly with local partners, understand what they are thinking and to create trust and confidence with them,” says Malcolm Childress, UW-Madison alumnus and senior land administration specialist with the World Bank. “In some areas, such as Latin America, knowing the language is a basic prerequisite for working in the country.”

On Monday October 15, 2007, UW-Madison’s Language Institute will host Childress and two other UW alumni for a panel discussion entitled “Language for Life: Languages and International Development.” The event will be held at 4:00 pm in 6104 Social Sciences Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Panelists include:

· Stephan Boucher (B.A., 1988, M.A., 1993, and Ph.D., 2000, UW-Madison), assistant professor in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. Speaks Portuguese and Spanish. Majored in Spanish, Ibero-American Studies, and Economics while at the UW-Madison. In his current work, Boucher focuses on how well markets for land, labor, and credit perform for the rural poor in Latin America.

· Malcolm Childress (Ph.D., 1996, UW-Madison), Senior Land Administration Specialist, World Bank. Speaks Portuguese, Spanish and Russian. Received his Ph.D. in Development Studies. Childress leads projects and policy dialogues dealing with land policy and rural development for the World Bank in South America. His current work focuses on Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay.

· Nick Magnan (B.S., 2002, UW-Madison), Ph.D. candidate in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. Speaks French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Majored in biology while at the UW-Madison. Nick does research on sustainable agricultural practices in developing countries and recently returned from a summer of fieldwork in Morocco.

The panelists will discuss the myriad ways in which proficiency in second languages is essential to their careers in international development.

Language for Life is an ongoing Language Institute program that gives current UW-Madison students the opportunity to meet alumni who studied languages here and are using them in their careers. A program of the UW-Madison Language Institute, Language for Life is made possible by the generous support of the College of Letters & Science Anonymous Fund.

The Language Institute promotes collaboration for research, education and community outreach in languages, literatures and cultures. The Language Institute is an initiative of the College of Letters and Science, with substantial support from the Division of International Studies.

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