Building Bridges to Eastern European Communities
On Monday, November 13, representatives from Governors State University met with consul generals from seven consulates in Chicago for a private luncheon at the Metropolitan Club of Chicago to discuss how the university can meet the needs of international students from the eastern European region while growing its enrollment.
Consuls and trade commissioners from Bulgaria, Croatia, Jordan, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine attended the luncheon. GSU President Elaine P. Maimon and College of Business (COB) Dean Jun Zhao were in attendance along with COB division chairs and the director of International Services at GSU.
Patrick Rea, retired brigadier general and long-time GSU supporter, sponsored the luncheon. Rea is an emeritus member of GSU’s College of Business Dean’s Advisory Board.
"There is a uniqueness to the east Europeans," Rea said. "in that they’re the immigrants of the 1900's and 2000's, so they’re very close to the chief diplomats in the area. The business school at GSU enjoys accreditation from the highest international accrediting group in the world. When you put that together with the cost—even for a foreign student whose government isn't subsidizing their tuition—they can still go."
Rea said he and the other diplomats look forward to moving into partnership with GSU, adding that already the consulates have pledged to not only distribute university literature in their offices but to also reach out to the top universities in Europe with news about what GSU has to offer.
"What's special about GSU to east European students is what's special about GSU to its Illinois students: you get the most competitive degree at by far the least cost," Rea said, "and in the case of the east European consul generals, not only do they represent their countries, they also represent immigrants in and around northern Illinois. They are a recruiting highway."
"Sometimes you don't know how good you are," Rea added. "GSU excels in business."
From left: Honorable Consul General Dr. Ivan Anchev, Consulate General of Bulgaria in Chicago; Ms. Teodora Boteva, trade commissioner, Consulate Genearl of Bulgaria in Chicago; Dr. Jun Zhao, Dean, College of Business, Governors State University; Honorable Consul General Piotr Janicki, Consulate General of Poland in Chicago; Dr. Olumide Ijose, Chair, College of Business, Governors State University; Mr. Andrei Rusu, trade commissioner, Consulate General of Romania in Chicago; Ms. Kara Johnson, Director, Office of International Services, Governors State University; Honorable Consul General Sanja Lakovic, Consulate General of Croatia in Chicago; Honorable Deputy Consul General Yevgeniy Drobot, Consulate General of Ukraine in Chicago; Honorable Consul General Larysa Gerasko, Consulate General of Ukraine in Chicago; Dr. Elaine P. Maimon, President, Governors State University; Mr. Patrick Rea, Brigadier General (Retired); Honorable Ihsan Sweiss, Honorary Consul General, Consulate General for the Kingdom of Jordan in Chicago; Honorable Acting Consul General Dejan Radulovic, Consulate General of Serbia in Chicago; Dr. David Green, Chair, College of Business, Governors State University