The Collegian
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

International Center welcomes students

Three years ago, Carole Weinstein offered nine million dollars to build, in partnership with President Edward Ayers and the University of Richmond, an international center. Today, the Carole Weinstein International Center is near completion, with construction scheduled to end this month. The International Center will house the Office of International Education (OIE) as well as Passport Cafe, the newest eating facility on campus. Along with the OIE and the cafe, multiple interdisciplinary academic departments and seven classrooms will be located within the International Center as well.

Uliana Gabara, dean of international education, and Weinstein have developed a collaborative relationship with international efforts on campus, including the creation of the International Center. Gabara recognized the need for an international center ten years ago, she said. After Weinstein donated the funding necessary to build the International Center, Gabara's dreams were able to become a reality, she said.

"Funding made it possible to hit the ground running," she said.

International organizations are developing and expanding at a rapid pace on campus, Gabara said. It was important to consider what would be the next level of internationalization at Richmond, she said. Part of the Richmond Promise promotes "a distinctly integrated student experience, coordinating a rich and innovative life for students inside and outside of the classroom." Through the collaboration of the five schools and their individual international affiliations, the Carole Weinstein International Center contributes to fulfilling the Richmond Promise, Gabara said.

One of the major goals of the center is to further develop collaborative teaching and research, Gabara said. The center has partnered with 60 other institutions around the world. The purpose of collaborative efforts within the International Center is to promote a multilingual campus with a focus on language and cultures across the curriculum, she said.

One of the technological features to note in the International Center is The Surface, Gabara said. Located inside the building's Resource Center, The Surface is a table-like instrument that allows people to view virtual maps of the countries of Richmond exchange and four-year international students as well as the countries in which Richmond students have studied abroad. The Surface has many capabilities, one of which being its ability to create a three-dimensional image of towns and universities from all over the world.

Of all of the facilities within the International Center, Passport Cafe is hoped to become "the beating heart of the center," Gabara said. "It's not intended to be a grab-and-run kind of place."

The cafe features a variety of multicultural cuisine that includes sushi, paninis, a spicy Asian soba noodle salad and more. For a complete menu, go to the Dining Services section of the Richmond Web site. The hours for Passport Cafe are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. The cafe will be closed on Saturday and Sunday. Passport Cafe accepts cash, major credit cards, SpiderCard and Dining Dollars. The cafe is currently still under construction and will open upon its completion.

Contact staff writer Liz Monahan at liz.monahan@richmond.edu.

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