This week the UCLA Luskin School officially released its Luskin Forum magazine and our website will preview a piece of the bi-annual magazine each day. Click here  to see previous stories.
The Winter 2013 issue of the Luskin Forum is now available to read online . Print versions of the magazine are available inside the Luskin School of Public Affairs. For those who have opted to receive the magazine mailed to their homes, the copies should be arriving soon. If you'd like to receive a copy of the Luskin Forum, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Click here  to read the Luskin Forum online now.
The following story runs as a part of the cover story about UCLA Luskin's International Initiative:
Pioneers in a Brave New World
Maybe they won’t be as celebrated as Christopher Columbus upon returning to Europe, but in a way, three students from Berlin are taking a slightly similar course—discovering a new world and reporting on it to their counterparts across the pond. Christina Dankmeyer, Amani Joas and Adriana Lopez are the first three students to come to Los Angeles from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin as part of professor Michael Storper’s new exchange plan to expand UCLA Luskin’s international footprint.
A trio of Public Policy students were chosen out of 25 Hertie School applicants to become the charter members of this new program in an endeavor to have UCLA Luskin better represented globally by current students. The near future will include exchange programs with other international schools similar to UCLA Luskin to create a true global network.
“I think it’s a great start,” said Joas, who is a native of Tanzania. “On the one hand you are inviting international scholars such as myself to take part in an American university experience, while at the same time, I am hoping to give other people in my classes more European perspectives on some issues. Additionally, we will be ambassadors for UCLA when we return and eventually build our careers.”
The final part of Joas’ thought is a key part of UCLA Luskin’s international expansion. A larger, more streamlined exchange program of people coming to UCLA and Luskin students going overseas will raise the profile of the school and consequently strengthen the worldwide network.
“For the institution in Paris, we started it from scratch and built it into program that is pretty much flourishing,” Storper said of his role in building Science Po’s international program. “And that program takes in 40 to 50 master’s students a year from different countries, so it’s really global. It got me focused on what it looks like to do a public affairs program where we’re not oriented on the home country. There’s maybe three, four, five French people and everyone is from everywhere else.”
UCLA Luskin has 500 or so students annually enrolled in Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning, so to bring in 40-50 international students—or about 10 percent—makes everyone’s experience that much greater.
Getting the three Germanbased students to UCLA for the first time was hardly a problem despite the fact that this year was considered a maiden voyage.
“UCLA is the only West Coast university that people have heard of” in Germany, said Dankmeyer, who has also spent time studying and working in France, Asia and Washington, D.C. “I didn’t want to go to USC because nobody knows USC in Europe.”
Add that to the specializations UCLA Luskin offers— unlike the Hertie School, which “has very general classes,” according to Dankmeyer— and getting applications wasn’t a challenge.
“I’m really attracted to urban planning,” said Lopez, a native of Mexico who has also studied in Paris and cities in Germany. “I know [UCLA Luskin’s Department of Urban Planning] is one of the best and that is not part of our courses in Hertie. I like it because it offers some courses that bring together policy and transportation.
“I like the fact that it offers a lot of courses you can take, you can go to whatever faculty is good for you to understand things better. Hertie is only focused on public policy.”
One thing is certain, though, the Hertie students will be doing exactly what the international exchange plan is intended to do— spreading the word, the name and the brand of UCLA Luskin. Not just upon their return to Berlin. But throughout their lives.
“I will talk about Luskin a lot because this is the area I am really interested in,” Lopez said. “I would like to write my master’s thesis on the knowledge I acquired here.”
Or, looking past a thesis, as Joas has done. “I hope that I can help to strengthen Luskin’s international profile by becoming chancellor of Germany in 2037. However, if I fail and only become minister of foreign affairs, I hope that Luskin’s profile has by then developed its own prominence through its various— and, hopefully, fruitful—exchange programs.”