Global Citizenship Awards were presented to student Fartun Dirie and faculty member Dr. Susan Smith-Cunnien, Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, at the 25th Annual Globally Minded Student Association International Dinner held Saturday, April 26.
These members of the UST community were recognized for their commitment to international and intercultural awareness, their contributions toward an improved climate on campus for people of other cultures, and the connections they make between this university and the world.
International Programs thanks everyone who nominated someone for this award and to every member of the St. Thomas community who is committed to global issues and understanding.
Fartun Dirie – student award recipient
Fartun Dirie, a senior at UST and a McNair graduate, is president of the Globally Minded Student Association. As such, she is involved in planning globally minded events on campus, including CultureFest and the International Dinner.
Dirie has played many roles as a global citizen during her time here, both on and off campus. She has been an International Student Ambassador, a tutor for immigrants at the St. Paul Public Library, and the host of a weekly English language conversation circle for English language learners.
On top of her many globally minded extracurricular activities, Dirie is globally minded academically. She received an award for her geography research about Somalis’ perceptions of the Twin Cities, and last summer at Brown University she presented an undergraduate research project about health care delivery in Mozambique.
Dirie’s nominator wrote: “As a Muslim woman of Somali heritage, Fartun is quite conscious of the need to include other cultures and viewpoints and has a consistent, demonstrated track record of doing so.” We are honored to present her with this award.
Dr. Susan Smith-Cunnien – faculty award recipient
Susan Smith-Cunnien has been a UST sociology professor since 1990. She was among the first in the Sociology Department to embrace comparative perspectives, especially around issues of criminal justice. She developed and taught SOCI 480: Seminar in Criminal Justice using materials and experiences that reflect the range of criminal justice in societies worldwide.
She taught short-term study abroad courses in both Ghana and Mali. She helped lead an on-campus initiative on global Minnesota, presented papers in local, national and international venues on intercultural topics, and contributed a chapter to The Other People: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Migration, published in 2013. She is recognized off campus for her research and service on behalf of local and global communities, and in 2005 she received the Distinguished Sociologist Award by Sociologists of Minnesota.
Smith-Cunnien’s nominator declared: “Sue Smith-Cunnien will be retiring from employment at the University of St. Thomas at the end of this academic year. However, her personal model of gracious inclusiveness and embrace of global citizenship will continue to inspire me and many others. I can think of no faculty member more deserving of the Global Citizenship Award.”