The California State University Stanislaus Office of International Education has a new director with a proven track record of increasing international student enrollment.
CSU Stanislaus International Education Director Mahmoud Lamadanie, who started his position this summer, says he envisions a campus with more students from around the world.
“I’m envisioning a United Nations on this campus,” said Lamadanie. “People celebrating outside, having food from different cultures, dressed up differently- the fabric of the whole university will look different.”
Lamadanie was born in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, and at the age of 7 he saw his home bombed and community destroyed. Despite often being without electricity or water Lamadanie overcame his obstacles and earned his bachelor’s degree in Palestine and emigrated to the U.S. for a masters in Linguistics at Georgetown University. He is fluent in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
CSU Stanislaus has 66 international students from 22 countries, though most are from Saudi Arabia and China. Lamadanie hopes to stimulate more global-mindedness on campus by recruiting students from places such as Nepal, Turkey, India and Africa, in addition to China and the Middle East.
Lamadanie previously served as executive vice president of the Center for International Affairs and Programs at Grambling State University in Louisiana. In his seven years at Grambling, Lamadanie touts a surge of international students — from 30 students to nearly 1,200 from more than 45 countries.
Lamadanie says the key to success in recruiting international students is in building relationships with education and government leaders around the world.
“I invest heavily in building friendships for the university,” he said. “These are everlasting relationships.”
Studying in the United States can be a life-changing experience for international students, but Lamadanie said diversification can bring benefits to current students, as well.
Lamadanie says American students can learn about the whole globe while at CSU Stanislaus and envisions a buddy system where American students help international students.
Economically, international students bring added revenue to CSU Stanislaus because they pay more than double the tuition of in-state students. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international students bring in more than $22 billion a year to universities nationwide through tuition and living expenses.