Philmon Haile, a senior majoring in international studies at the UW Jackson School, was quoted by First Lady Michelle Obama on the importance of studying abroad. Obama was talking to American and Chinese students on March 22 at the Stanford Center at Peking University. Haile’s family came to the U.S. from Eritrea as refugees when he was a child. Obama said she was impressed with his way of explaining the importance of studying abroad. She says in this YouTube clip: “Of his experience studying in China he said, ‘Study abroad is a powerful vehicle for people-to-people exchange as we move into a new era of citizen diplomacy.”
Haile has studied abroad in China twice, first in high school as part of the One World Now! global leadership program and later as a Confucius Institute scholar studying Chinese literature. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and he recently spent a quarter learning Arabic in Amman, Jordan.