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CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

Chilean educator to visit gifted education programs in Iowa City

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Sonia Bralic, a coordinator and consultant for the Andes Foundation in Santiago, Chile, will visit Iowa City Nov. 24-27 as a participant in the International Visitor Program sponsored by the United States Information Agency.

While in Iowa City, Bralic will meet with Nicholas Colangelo, director of the University of Iowa's Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and observe classes for gifted students at Roosevelt and Horn Elementary Schools in Iowa City. Paul Retish, director of the Office of International Education in the UI College of Education, will meet with Bralic to discuss the outreach and consulting programs his office coordinates with international educators.

Bralic has also been invited to discuss the UI International Writing Program (IWP) with Steve Ungar, the program's acting director. The Andes Foundation funded Germ'n Carrasco, a Chilean writer who participated in the IWP this fall.

The Andes Foundation is one of the most important foundations devoted to supporting educational and cultural activities in Chile. The foundation's education division is currently being restructured. One of the immediate projects is to contribute to government efforts to improve the quality of education by researching cutting-edge programs for academically talented students in public elementary and high schools. Bralic and her colleagues would like to develop special programs that could be implemented in some high schools during a new extended school day schedule. This longer school day is one of the main elements of the Chilean educational reform.

Tom Baldridge, CIVIC executive director, said that since Bralic is visiting during the Thanksgiving holiday, she will be invited to share a traditional holiday meal with an Iowa City family and Mary Ann Weiss, a CIVIC staff member.

CIVIC is a community organization of volunteers "serving and hosting international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis." It is one of two such organizations in Iowa that accommodates the U.S. Information Agency's International Visitor Program. The other is the Iowa Council on International Understanding at Des Moines.

Every year CIVIC volunteers help arrange programs for 60 to 80 visitors from around the world. This past fiscal year CIVIC has arranged programs in eastern Iowa communities for more than 100 international visitors, Baldridge said. Since its inception in 1985 CIVIC has hosted more than 1,000 visitors, representing more than 120 different countries ranging from Argentina to Zimbabwe to Iceland and Papua-New Guinea. CIVIC visitors also make a significant impact on the local economy, bringing more than $200,000 annually to eastern Iowa, Baldridge said.

CIVIC is also looking for volunteers to help arrange the itineraries of international visitors. For more information, call the CIVIC office at 335-0351 or Jeanne Cadoret, CIVIC board president, at 644-2746. The CIVIC office is located in Room 132 of the International Center on the UI campus. The International Center is located at the south end of Ferson Avenue, off of Park Road, in Iowa City.

(Editors note: Tom Baldridge can help arrange interviews for those wishing to speak with Bralic during her visit. Contact Baldridge at 335-0351.)

11/20/98