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Fourth annual Whitworth forum Nov. 17 to feature speaker from Pioneer Middle School

November 1, 2011
International Education Week also to include student poster presentations, workshops by Spokane-area educators

In honor of International Education Week Nov. 14-18, the Whitworth School of Education, in conjunction with several other departments on campus and Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute, will sponsor a forum, "Courage Beyond the Border," featuring a keynote speech by Mira Gobel, principal of Pioneer Middle School, located in Walla Walla, Wash. Gobel will speak on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall. The forum also will feature student poster presentations and workshops led by local educators and community members. Admission to the forum is free; the event is open to the public.

Gobel was born in Korea to an American soldier and a Korean "war bride." Orphaned at the age of three months, she was raised by a couple she called her grandparents. During her keynote address, she will talk about the discrimination she faced in Korea and her journey to the U.S. to find the American dream, in the hope that sharing her story will help empower students to overcome adversities in their lives and pave their own paths of success.

Students from Whitworth University and Mukogawa Women's University in Japan will participate in poster presentations during the forum. Workshop facilitators and panel members will include Mira Gobel; Chris Meyers, director of education for the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Counsel; Linda Smith and Paul Lamontagne, who are teachers at St. George's School; Karen Morrison, director of Odyssey World International Education Services; Brent Hendricks, co-founder of Global Neighborhood, and Atsumi McCauley, who is an ELD teacher and cultural advisor for Japan-Spokane Public Schools and an instructor at Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute.

The education forum is a collaboration between Whitworth, Mukogawa Women’s University, and Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute.

According to the U.S. Department of Education website, the purpose of International Education Week, which is endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Education and State, is to build international understanding, to encourage programs that prepare Americans for life in a global environment, and to attract future leaders from abroad to study in the United States. The week is celebrated by more than 100 countries worldwide.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Roberta Wilburn, director of graduate studies in education, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4603 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or