Strategic Country Task Forces

The Office of International Initiatives has taken a major step in its work to implement the international component of Georgia State’s Strategic Plan by establishing five Strategic Country Task Forces – Brazil, China, Korea, South Africa, and Turkey. In response to a call for nominations from the International Advisory Board and Deans and a request for faculty volunteers, more than 110 faculty members have agreed to serve on these task forces. They represent each of the seven academic units and reflect the university-wide commitment to internationalizing Georgia State.

Why These Countries?

Georgia State’s strategic location in a major global city positions it well to interact and collaborate with universities and institutions in other countries – particularly where there are mega-cities or cities that have hosted international events, such as the Olympics. Each of these markets provides vast opportunities to develop innovative and cutting-edge research partnerships and robust student mobility programs. In addition, they are well positioned to serve as co-collaborators in establishing an International Consortium of Universities for Critical Issues Challenging Cities.

Key Goals for Task Forces

The task forces will assist the Office of International Initiatives in addressing Goal 5 of the Strategic Plan – to achieve distinction in globalizing the University – by identifying:

  • key partners in strategic countries to develop student and faculty exchanges, study abroad programs, research collaborations, executive training initiatives, government and private sectors networks, and dual degree programs; and
  • thematic priority areas for cooperation, profiles of likely partners, and premier city-based universities to eventually launch a consortium of megacity universities for critical issues challenging cities.


The Brazil task force, chaired by David Bruce, professor of international business, is comprised of faculty members from various colleges. Priority areas for this task force include: student mobility programs, such as Brazil’s new Scientific Mobility Program; faculty exchanges; and collaborative research. Professor Christine Stauber, assistant professor in the School of Public Health, recently received a Fulbright award to conduct research at the Universidade Federal da Bahia. In Fall 2013, the Intensive English Program will welcome eight Brazilian students under the Scientific Mobility Program.




Yi Pan, professor and chair of Computer Science, leads over 20 faculty members on the China task force. With rich ties between faculty of Georgia State and numerous universities in China, this task force places strong emphasis on faculty exchange and collaborative research. Recently, Georgia State and Hangzhou Normal University signed an agreement to develop a faculty-mentoring program, which will aid both universities in knowledge sharing, as well as offering Chinese faculty an opportunity to develop new courses modeled on Georgia State’s curricula.




The Korea task force, chaired by Kim Reimann, professor of Political Science, is comprised of faculty members from various colleges.. Georgia State’s 13 in-country partner universities and institutions serve as co-collaborators on increasing student mobility and establishing faculty research opportunities. Korean students and scholars consistently serve as the third-largest population of international students and scholars on campus.



South Africa

Sally Wallace, professor of economics and associate dean of research and strategic initiatives chairs the South Africa task force and works with over 20 faculty members to advance collaborative initiatives in South Africa. College of Education professors Amy Seely Flint, Mona Matthews, and Peggy Alberts, along with Stellenbosch University’s Renee Nathanson, secured a $300,000 grant for a literacy curriculum development project, “Project Partnerships Achieve Literacy (PAL) South Africa.” Study abroad participation to South Africa has remained steady over the past several years, with an increased focus on Georgia State faculty-led programs in ethnomathematics, economics, social work, and African-American studies.

South Africa Website


Volkan Topalli, professor of Criminal Justice & Criminology, chairs the Turkey Task Force comprised of faculty members from various colleges. The Task Force aims to advance student mobility and collaborative research with key Turkish universities. Expanding study abroad opportunities for Georgia State students and establishing innovative programs to welcome Turkish faculty and scholars to Georgia State are key priorities. In fact, nearly 110 Georgia State students have studied in Turkey over the past three years. With long-established connections to international companies in Turkey, such as Coca-Cola, Georgia State faculty and students have the opportunity to collaborate both at home and beyond.



Looking Forward

The Office of International Initiatives will work with the task force faculty members to advance initiatives related to student mobility, faculty exchange, and research collaboration at the college and department levels.

For more information about the task forces, please contact International Partnerships and Agreements at