The Phi Beta Delta Honor Society recently held its Third Annual Induction Ceremony.

The College of Staten Island celebrated its third annual induction ceremony of students, faculty, staff, and alumni into the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.

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In all, 43 scholars were inducted into the Eta Lambda Chapter at CSI—each with a different perspective of the world but tied together by their commitment to spreading their knowledge and experience across the globe, eliminating cultural and geographic borders.

View the event program [PDF].

“The Honor Society is about recognizing, encouraging, and celebrating internationalization in the broadest definition,” commented CSI Interim President and Phi Beta Delta member, Dr. William J. Fritz. “In my experience, nothing transforms students’ lives better than an international experience. We are increasingly becoming a global community, and globalization provides learning experience that extends far beyond the classroom.”

The CSI campus community has and will continue to expand beyond its Willowbrook campus and into countries around the world, thanks in no small part to the College’s International Exchange and Ambassador Programs, which in 2012, sent 150 students abroad to 17 countries.

“International scholarship is important to academia, as the role of academia is to engage in global rather than insular research,” said Dr. Margaret Berci, President Elect of the Eta Lambda Chapter. “Such scholarship serves as a means of encouraging interdisciplinary, intercultural, and intergenerational contacts, and promotes the exchange of ideas and information in the area of international affairs among students, faculty, and academic institutions around the globe.”

At this most recent induction ceremony, 17 of the students inducted studied abroad in Italy, China, Japan, Morocco, England, Australia, and Belgium.

The Honor Society’s goals break down into four categories: (1) to recognize the scholarly achievement of students and scholars who come from other countries to study at CSI or domestic students who study abroad while enrolled here; (2) serve as a vehicle for the development of academic-based international programming; (3) provide an on-campus network involved in international endeavors; and (4) extend this network through chapters across the world.

Katherine McSherry, one of the student inductees, echoed these sentiments, speaking about the importance of the Honor Society. “It is extremely important to have Phi Beta Delta because it gives its students the opportunity to be acknowledged as not only honor students but also as students who have traveled abroad. It shows the world that these students are not just your average honors students but that they are students with worldly experience.”  She went on to discuss what the Eta Lambda Chapter on CSI’s campus means for the College community, “having Phi Beta Delta on campus will encourage more students to take part in international travel.”

In that spirit, the Center for International Service is currently serving 311 international students, scholars, and their families; CUNY Vietnam Projects included one visit in January to the VUS Training Center for a combined professional development/teacher training and administrative visit; as well as new faculty-led initiatives such as a nursing program in Costa Rica. To say the least, Center staff members have kept busy providing our students and faculty with opportunities to broaden their horizons and spread their wealth of knowledge across the globe.

Each student, faculty, staff, visiting scholar, or alumni member was nominated by an Eta Lambda Chapter member, based on his or her work in supporting an international community. Students who were inducted all had international experience either as international students attending CSI or as domestic CSI students studying abroad. The faculty and staff all must show some evidence of performing international research, teaching internationally, or providing a comparable service to the international community. No matter the requisites, all inductees must show a dedication to spreading their wealth of knowledge internationally. “The Honor Society stands for excellence and requires excellence,” said Ann Helm, Executive Director of the CSI Center for International Service from 1990-2013, and one of this year’s honorary inductees.

Other honorary inductees, this year, included, Thomas Chin, Vice President of Latin America and Canada Infrastructure Operations for JPMorgan Chase, and Dr. Naima Charafi, Training Specialist of Political and Security Issues at the United Nations Headquarters.

“During the ceremony,” explained Dr. Charafi, “it was wonderful to see such a large audience in support of students and faculty inducted into the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society.”  Dr. Charafi also discussed the importance of international scholarship and its role in education. “International scholarship paves the way for a culture of success and accomplishments, prepares future world leaders for upcoming global challenges and promotes intercultural understanding.”

Each of the new members was inducted for different reasons but they all subscribe to the Phi Beta Delta philosophy of adding to the growing network of international scholars throughout the world.