SFA is hosting an international conference in Houston

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - On Friday, ambassadors, consul generals, and the principal negotiator for the North America Free Trade Agreement will convene in Houston.

They're attending and speaking at an international conference hosted by Stephen F. Austin State University. The global citizenship series was designed to expose students and faculty members to world leaders.

Dr. Brian Murphy, the dean of SFA's College of Liberal and Applied Arts, said international students are providing insight about other parts of the world on a daily basis. His SFA English development class covers much of the world just with the representation by a few students.

"We have three. South Korea, China and Saudi Arabia," Murphy said.

They're among the 127 international students attending SFA. Each one brings knowledge about other parts of the world.

A name plate to assure a correct spelling provided a fun moment with Sadia Cheema of Pakistan.  She knows why campuses welcome international students.

"You want diversity, you want different opinions, you want to see how the world is different and how it is portrayed," Cheema said. "How you're able to make a difference out in terms of comparing it to what you read in the newspaper, what you see on television, and then you have one-on-one interaction. I think it makes a difference."

Right on target with what Murphy accomplishes on a wider scale at annual international conferences.

"We've done the trans-Atlantic relationship the first year, the middle east last year, Latin America obviously this year. Probably Asia or Africa will be our focal point next year," Murphy said.

The event creates opportunity for foreign and American students. International students are often in graduate studies brought here on scholarships provided by their home country.

"It's estimated that international students bring approximately $15.5 billion to the United States," Murphy said. In Nacogdoches and SFA alone, their contribution to the economy here, in just Nacogdoches, is $14.7 million."

Cheema is seeking her second masters and her doctoral. Not surprisingly, both are in communications.

SFA is providing bus transportation to the free international conference. For more information, contact the Liberal Arts office to register.

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