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Visitors from France and China enrich the Mount

A recent April day at Mount St. Mary’s turned into an unofficial “International Visitors Day at the Mount,” with guests from France and China spending time at the College’s Chalon Campus and at Los Angeles City Hall.

The trio of guests visiting from France traveled to the Mount as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The French delegation came to the College in order to discuss women’s leadership and entrepreneurship, and to learn more about Mount St. Mary’s recently released 2014 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California.

The French delegation included: Dr. Florence Abadie, president of the Women’s Community Center of Bordeaux; Eva Boussant, project manager, international business relations at La Confederation Generale des Petites et Moyennes Enterprises (CGPME); and Samira Ibrahim-El Keiy, producer and presenter on the Monte Carlo Doualiya radio station.

Abadie, Boussant and Ibrahim-El Keiy met spent two hours meeting with College leaders, including: Stephanie Cubba, vice president of institutional advancement; Jackie Filla, assistant professor of history and political science; and Mari Wadsworth, associate vice president of student affairs.

Together, the two teams exchanged strategies for advancing women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, and discussed how the Mount was highlighting gender gaps that are creating economic and social challenges for women and girls in Los Angeles and throughout California.

Chinese students visit the Mount
On the same day that the College hosted leaders from France, a group of Chinese exchange students attending this Mount this spring were able to take a tour of L.A.’s City Hall.

Eight students from Mount St. Mary’s partner institutions in China – Nanjing University and Gannan Normal University – are enrolled at the Mount this spring. They are studying topics such as English literature, business, art and sociology.

During their tour of City Hall, the visiting students had the chance to meet with City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, and to learn more about how American democracy works at the local level. Each student also received certificates of welcome from Kamilla Blanche, director of arts and culture, and L.A.’s Sister Cities program.

The tour was arranged by Katherine Whitman, associate professor of economics and international business in the Mount’s MBA program, through her role as president of the Los Angeles-Guangzhou Sister City Association. Whitman’s Chinese connections extend to multiple books that she’s published in the country, as well as a visiting professor post at Guangdong University of Law and Commerce.

In addition to the current exchange students on campus, the Mount has also had the chance to welcome a visiting professor from China. Chinese instructor Jing Zhang is in the midst of her term as the Mount’s visiting scholar at the College’s Chalon Campus. A professor of English in the School of Foreign Languages at China’s Gannan Normal University since 1992, Zhang is also the deputy director of Gannan Normal’s division of International Cooperation & Exchange.