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Office to take charge of campus international visitors

STANFORD -- Stanford University once again has an office at the Bechtel International Center to handle the hundreds of international visitors who come to the campus each year.

In 1992, funding for the Office for International Visitors was eliminated as part of the universitywide cost-cutting effort. The result was that department secretaries and professors found themselves acting as tour guides on top of their other duties.

Now, according to International Center Director John Pearson, the Institute for International Studies, the Office of Public Affairs, the Hoover Institution and the President and Provost's Office have agreed to provide a total of $31,000 annually for the office, at least through August 1995.

The office also has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the United States Information Agency to assist the approximately 250 visitors who come to Stanford each year under its auspices.

The new Office of International Visitors is being run by Jill Steinberg, who previously worked at the Institute for International Studies, the Stanford Art Department, and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

She is assisted by about nine community volunteer "diplomats" who pick visitors up from the train station and escort them to appointments throughout the campus.

In addition, a faculty oversight committee has been established to ensure that the new office will work more effectively for the benefit of both Stanford and its visitors.

Committee members include chairman Walter P. Falcon, director of the Institute for International Studies; political scientists David Abernethy and Coit Blacker, and Joseph Goodman of the Department of Electrical Engineering.

"We decided that if Stanford was going to do better with less, we had to figure out what we wanted from these visits," Falcon said.

"We thought that a broad-based faculty committee would be helpful in better gearing them to the needs, interests and time availability of the faculty."

Among the immediate goals of the office are to compile better statistics on campus visitors, to work more closely on itinerary programming with external agencies, and to integrate the international visitors more fully into Stanford community life by involving them in noon discussions and meetings with students.

Before it was closed last year, Stanford's Office of International Visitors arranged appointments, tours, luncheons and presentations for more than 1,000 people annually. It was run for many years by Maria-Mary Bun, who took early retirement last year.

The office is located on the second floor of the Bechtel International Center. Its phone number is (415) 723-1984.



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