Starting this week, educators from 20 different countries will visit California State University, Chico for a five-week study of the diverse facets of U.S. society and culture.

The international educators visiting the University range from secondary school teachers and teacher trainers to curriculum developers and education ministry officials, and hail from countries including Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Hungary, Romania, South Sudan, Uzbekistan, and Greece.

The public is invited to attend a welcome reception and cultural poster presentation tomorrow, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Colusa Hall 100B.

The five-week professional development training program is themed “Liberty, Equality and the American Dream” with a focus on “Exploring Access and Equity in U.S. Education and Society.” It is part of a United States Institute for Secondary Educators program, sponsored by U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), which promotes mutual understanding between Americans and citizens of other nations.

In addition to CSU, Chico, the contingent of international educators will also visit Loyola University in Chicago in early July. Additionally, the group will travel to Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

The visiting educators have been impressed so far with the welcoming environment that Chico and the University put forth.

“Chico is a global community which represents the best of an American Dream,” said Kamola, a national curriculum and exam developer from Uzbekistan, who declined to share a last name for safety reasons in her home country.

CSU, Chico’s International Training Programs, part of the Office of International Education, are responsible for bringing the program to campus.

The international participants will attend seminars conducted by CSU, Chico professors, area education professionals and community leaders, and they’re scheduled to a number of local facilities and organizations, such as Fair View High School and the Ability First Sports Camp. During the visit, the educators will conduct research related to their professional disciplines and present their findings to the group before they leave Chico.

The program’s goals are that the educators return home with added knowledge about the United States and develop greater cultural understanding about people from different parts of the world.

Study of the U.S. Institute participants are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. They have funded and supported programs that seek to promote understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries for over 60 years. For more information about ECA and SUSI programs, visit http://exchanges.state.gov/susi.