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Golden touring Southeast Asia promoting higher education

by May. 10, 2011, 4:51 PM

Thomas Golden (Anne Rayner/Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt undergraduate admissions official Thomas C. Golden is touring Southeast Asia on behalf of the U.S. Department of State to help needy, deserving students pursue higher education in the United States.

Golden, associate director of undergraduate admissions at Vanderbilt, is scheduled to return this week from the 16-day trip. He is one of five people chosen by the state department for the EducationUSA Reconnect-Plus commission to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands.

The delegation is meeting with higher education administrators, making presentations at high schools and grammar schools and attending college fairs. It was also scheduled to visit with the United States-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission and collaborate with government and embassy officials.

“It’s very exciting to serve your country this way,” Golden said. “This mission aligns with Vanderbilt’s goal and vision of engaging the world and bringing the best and brightest to Vanderbilt to share in the great wealth of educational opportunities that are here.”

In addition to Vanderbilt, the delegation includes representatives from University of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Denver, Drexel University and Washington State University.

Golden was set to visit the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh; Malé in the Maldive Islands; and the cities of Colombo and Kandy in Sri Lanka.

While in Sri Lanka, Golden planned to visit with Vanderbilt students participating in a 30-day experiential cultural immersion program through the Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS).

Vanderbilt’s inclusion in the delegation is partly due to the university’s longstanding commitment to Southeast Asia. Vanderbilt participates in numerous professor partnerships and student exchange, and Project Pyramid, a Vanderbilt student organization, is exploring alternative energy sources that would aid the millions in Bangladesh who do not have lights in their homes.

EducationUSA, a global network of more than 400 advising centers supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, actively promotes U.S. higher education around the world by offering objective and timely information about educational institutions in the United States and guidance to qualified individuals on how best to access those opportunities.

“It’s helping individuals navigate a process that for us who live and breathe the application process is second nature,” Golden said. “The desire is already there. We’re just there to help them understand the process and the deadlines and what is available to them.”