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UCLA Office Hosted 471 Visitors from 92 Nations in 2005
One of 471: Dr. Zhong Binglin (right), the President of Beijing Normal University, China, met March 7 with UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale.

UCLA Office Hosted 471 Visitors from 92 Nations in 2005

U.S. State Department, which sponsors nearly half of travelers to UCLA's International Visitors Bureau, continues post-9/11 drive to bring Muslims from around the globe.

Kevin Matthews Email KevinMatthews

In 2005 the UCLA International Visitors Bureau (IVB) facilitated meetings, seminars, and campus tours for 471 people from 92 countries. IVB Program Officer Gohar Grigorian estimates that as many as 200 of these people came to UCLA with support from the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program. Of the six universities that are members of the National Council for International Visitors, which helps to coordinate the State Department program, UCLA brings the largest number of visitors, according to Mark Rebstock, director of membership and training for the NCIV.

The remaining 270 or more international visitors came on their own dime to consult with UCLA faculty members and administrators. Housed in the UCLA International Institute, the IVB arranges contacts for sponsored and unsponsored visitors. Topics of this year's discussions included university administration, women's rights, interfaith dialogue, U.S. foreign policy, student government, business development, and museum preservation, among many others.

Countries with the largest numbers of official visitors to UCLA in 2005 were China (59), South Korea (40), Taiwan (26), and Vietnam (24), according to the IVB. [Scroll down for country-by-country data.]

Muslims, Provincials Wanted

On the State Department visits, the IVB works closely with the International Vistors Council of Los Angeles (IVCLA), which handles trips by hundreds of foreign nationals and dignitaries every year in L.A. county under the federal government program.

Napah Phyakul Quach, director of international exchange programs for the IVCLA, explains that 2005 saw the continuation of two recent trends in the State Department program. She says that this year the State Department's efforts to bring a greater proportion of visitors from outlying regions of countries—the majority arrive from major metropolitan areas—are for the first time showing positive results. According to Phyakul Quach, the department has spent several years identifying and reaching out to such persons.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Phyakul Quach says, the department has also focused on inviting Muslims from around the globe to participate in the program and learn more about the United States. While observing that such visits are generally positive experiences for all involved, Phyakul Quach says that there is irony in the department's apparent effort to use visits to change views among Muslims from abroad.

"The reality is that most of the [Muslim] visitors have no problem with America," she said. "It's just the [U.S. foreign] policy."

The IVB has provided figures on the nationalities of visitors it received in 2005. Members of multinational delegations have been sorted by country:

Algeria

2

Argentina

2

Australia

8

Azerbaijan

1

Bahrain

3

Bangladesh

3

Barbados

2

Benin

2

Bolivia

3

Bosnia Herzegovina

1

Botswana

1

Brazil

8

Bulgaria

2

Burkina Faso

4

Canada

1

Cameroon

2

Chad

3

Chile

2

China

59

Columbia

3

Costa Rica

1

Cote d’Ivoire

3

Croatia

1

Cyprus

1

Czech Republic

2

Ecuador

1

Egypt

8

El Salvador

1

Ethiopia

1

Finland

2

France

1

Gaza

1

Georgia

1

Germany

11

Guatemala

2

Haiti

10

Hong Kong

5

Hungary

1

India

9

Indonesia

11

Iraq

6

Israel

6

Japan

19

Jordan

2

Kenya

1

Korea

40

Laos

1

Latvia

1

Lebanon

3

Liberia

1

Madagascar

1

Malawi

1

Malaysia

11

Mali

2

Mauritius

4

Mexico

11

Morocco

7

Nepal

1

Netherlands

2

New Zealand

2

Nicaragua

2

Niger

2

Oman

3

Pakistan

1

Paraguay

2

Panama

1

Philippines

2

Poland

2

Qatar

1

Russia

15

Rwanda

2

Saudi Arabia

8

Senegal

4

Serbia & Montenegro

1

Slovak Republic

1

South Africa

3

Sweden

3

Syria

4

Taiwan

26

Tajikistan

6

Tanzania

4

Thailand

1

Togo

3

Tunisia

3

Turkey

3

Uganda

2

Ukraine

4

United Kingdom

12

United States

5

Uruguay

1

Venezuela

1

Vietnam

24

West Bank

6

Yemen

3

Zambia

2

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