ASU signs partnership to educate Peruvian teachers

February 13, 2015

For the last 20 years, Violeta Calderon has been an English teacher to high school-aged students in her home country of Peru.

Now, Calderon, who is 49, is spending seven weeks in a classroom at Arizona State University’s West campus – this time as a student. Peruvian students in class Peruvian English teachers in class on ASU's West campus. ASU gave each a Chromebook to help complete their studies. Download Full Image

She’s part of an extensive English teacher training program for 235 Peruvian public high school teachers that is run through the American English and Culture Program at ASU.

“I wanted to come here to do this – for me it’s a blessing,” Calderon said. “To come to another country, to come to the United States, to have this special program because I want to improve. Not only my listening, but speaking, so I have an opportunity to practice my English all the time.”

In the program, which started Jan. 19, Peruvian teachers like Calderon are improving their English language communication skills and their teaching methodology so they can go back to Peru and elevate the level of English education in their entire region.

The teachers were granted a full scholarship to attend this program at ASU through PRONABEC, the continuing education and scholarship granting arm of the Peruvian Ministry of Education.

Their arrival at ASU comes as a new agreement was signed between the university and the Peruvian government.

“I am enormously proud to partner with Arizona State University and the Government of Peru to transform English teaching in Peru,” said Brian A Nichols, America’s Ambassador to Peru. “ASU’s historic agreement to train hundreds of Peruvian teachers in English education will improve the educational outcomes of thousands of students around the country.”

The Peruvian government selected ASU out of a prestigious group of American universities to host the teachers. They are the largest group Peru has ever sent abroad for teacher training, signaling the country’s excitement about the ASU partnership.

“We were pleased to be selected from other top U.S. universities to deliver this robust training program for public high school teachers,” said Robert E. Page, Jr., university provost. “ASU and the Ministry of Education in Peru share a common commitment to academic excellence and to social inclusion.”

The Peruvian teachers will not only be improving their own English skills, but they will be learning how to better teach English when they get back home, and how to pass along their new skills to their colleagues.

“We put them through a demanding program while they’re here, but it is one that they will leave with tremendous new talents to share in their communities,” said Shane Dixon, educational lead of ASU’s Peruvian teacher training program.

The Ministry of Education in Peru wants to send around 4,000 English teachers abroad to improve their ability to teach at home. The government believes that English proficiency among its people will improve its economic success.

"It is gratifying to know that our teachers will specialize in such an important issue as the English language, because knowledge and mastery of English is key to strengthening the ability of young Peruvians to thrive in the global economy," said the executive director of PRONABEC, Raul Choque.

Of the 235 participants, 70 are from Lima, the capital of Peru, while the remainder of the group is from other parts of the country.

Martin Laban, 46, teaches in a female-only public high school in Piura, 15 hours by bus from Lima.

“The first week was a culture shock but then I adapted to this and ASU,” Laban said. “I love this kind of culture and the experience I’m getting here.”

Laban said every day in Arizona is a new experience for him.

“I hope to learn many interesting things, to take them to my school and put in practice, especially strategies and techniques,” Laban said. “I am totally convinced that they are going to be important for my students.”

Aside from the teacher training part of the program, the students are getting to experience the culture of ASU and the American Southwest.

Participants attended the Martin Luther King Day “I Have A Dream” speech re-enactment on ASU’s west campus in January, went on a trip to the Grand Canyon and attended a Super Bowl viewing party.

Additionally, the participants will visit local schools around the Valley; hear from guest speakers from Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College, as well as speakers from the community; attend an ASU Men’s Basketball game; attend the Renaissance Festival in Tempe; and go to the Celebrate Peru Day on the Tempe campus to make a presentation about Peru culture to a wider audience.

"The Peruvian government is making a series of strategic investments in education,” said Julia Rosen, associate vice provost. “We hope that this program is just the first of many to come."

Written by Samantha Pell, ASU News

Buffett headlines new ASU speaker series

February 13, 2015

Leading business figures, including Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, are participating in a new speaker series at Arizona State University.

The “Iconic Voices” lecture series, to be held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, features candid in-person and video interviews with business notables that include Buffett and Freeport-McMoran CEO Richard Adkerson, as well as Andrew Fastow, the former Enron chief financial officer who was at the center of a scandal with the energy company. Andrew Fastow, Warren Buffett, Richard Adkerson Download Full Image

Jeff Cunningham, professor of practice at ASU’s Cronkite School and the W. P. Carey School of Business, is the creator and host of the series, which is scheduled for select Thursdays during the spring semester.

Cunningham, who is the former publisher of Forbes Magazine, said, “‘Iconic Voices’ will focus on candid discussions about the everyday lives of extraordinary people.

“We have chosen to bring these important leaders and disruptors to the Cronkite School to impart the lessons from disruption in non-media industries that could be applied to the digital transformation taking place in the media,” he said. “They have relevance to our student journalists’ understanding of how different leaders approach change, innovation and disruption.”

“Iconic Voices” kicks off on Feb. 26 with an in-person interview with Fastow, and concludes March 19 with an interview with Adkerson. The hourlong talks are open to the public and will take place in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus.

The interviews will be featured on (currently under development) with articles written by Cunningham.

Cunningham joined ASU in 2014 as a professor in the areas of disruptive innovation and the business of media. In addition to serving as publisher of Forbes Magazine, he also was publisher of American Heritage magazine, founder and editor-in-chief of Directorship Magazine, the leading publication for corporate board directors, and a senior executive with BusinessWeek.

Cunningham has profiled or interviewed many key business and public policy leaders, including former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Schapiro and Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein.

“Iconic Voices” Schedule:

7-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26
Andrew Fastow, former chief financial officer, Enron Corporation; convicted in 2006 of two counts of securities fraud

“Failed, Jailed, and Recovered”

Live interview conducted by Jeff Cunningham, professor of practice, Cronkite School and W. P. Carey School of Business

7-8 p.m., Thursday, March 5
Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer, Berkshire Hathaway

“When I Buy a Company, I’m a Journalist”

Video interview conducted by Jeff Cunningham, professor of practice, Cronkite School and W. P. Carey School of Business

7-8 p.m., Thursday, March 19
Richard Adkerson, vice chairman, president and chief executive officer, Freeport-McMoRan

“The World of the Global CEO”

Interview conducted by Jeff Cunningham, professor of practice, Cronkite School and W. P. Carey School of Business

Reporter , ASU News