Hola. Konichiwa. Ni hao. Olá! Hello.
All appropriate greetings heard among the 92 educators participating in the First National K-12 Language for Business Conference held October 31 and November 1, 2008 at the Hotel Sofitel in Miami.
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The conference brought together teachers from across the United States interested in introducing language for business into their curricula. Conference tracks focused on four languages: Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese.
The College of Business Administration’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) joined other CIBER organizations and the City of Miami Mayor’s International Council as co-sponsors of the event.
“We called this gathering the ‘first national’ conference because this is the first time that a Language for Business Conference featured four unique language tracks,” said Sonia Verdu, CIBER assistant director, who has organized the conference for three years.
This year, K-12 teachers from Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas joined teachers from across Florida to hear Santiago Cabanas, The Honorable Consul of Spain, deliver the keynote address. Other highlights of the conference agenda included general session presentations by Thomas Breslin, professor, International Relations, Florida International University, and Fred Campos, Ernst & Young, who spoke about the importance of business language in the global economy.
Conference exemplifies CIBER’s commitment to education and community outreach.
According to Verdu, the U.S. Department of Education funds 31 CIBER nationwide. The college’s CIBER supports a unique combination of academic, research, and outreach programs that help business, government, and academic communities operate effectively in the global business environment.
“Our goal is to bring interested K-12 teachers together to promote the importance of teaching language for business, even in the earlier education years,” she said. “They leave our conference ready to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with their own students and community.”
Attendance was up at this year’s conference partially because 28 attendees received grants to cover travel expenses.
What’s more, thanks to the co-sponsors’ generous support, the conference registration was free and featured a complementary reception, breakfast, and lunch.
“The crowd of K-12 teachers gathered in Miami inspired and motivated me,” said Mary Risner, professor, Florida State University, who has participated in numerous CIBER events.
At this conference, she led a discussion in the Portuguese track entitled “Business and Career Opportunities through Foreign Language Studies.”
“The fast-moving, highly connected global nature of today’s economy makes business language skills essential to success,” Risner said. “I applaud the efforts the college’s CIBER is making to connect with more K-12 teachers across the country.”