North Texas Daily

Partnership agreement signed in Thailand

Partnership agreement signed in Thailand

November 17
12:16 2014

Dalton LaFerney / Senior Staff Writer

UNT became the first American university to join 54 other foreign universities as part of a global research initiative, signing a Memorandum of Understanding Monday supporting hospitality development with the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau.

UNT President Neal Smatresk signed the MOU in Bangkok, strengthening ties between UNT and Thai universities. The memorandum, according to the document, establishes a framework for future opportunities for both UNT and Thai university students.

The deal was made using the MICE, or Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions, business model. The MICE strategy brings together various tourism groups for a particular business related purpose.

“This will afford our students internship opportunities,” Smatresk said. “And great research opportunities for our faculty working with Thai faculty.”

The UNT College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism is ranked among the best in the U.S., and is expected to grow even more with the global partnerships UNT has created.

“Our hospitality program is well versed in the MICE model,” Smatresk said. “Now we have an opportunity to grow with a 54 university consortium dedicated to research, education and curriculum development.”

More than 1,000 UNT alumni live near Bangkok, including Pradit Wannarat, president of the National Institute of Development Administration, a graduate university under the Thai Ministry of Education. Smatresk met with Wannarat as well as other education officials throughout Thailand and China.

The Bangkok trip was a part of a UNT Asian university tour that began Nov. 10 in Beijing. Following the signing with the TCEB, the UNT officials remained in Bangkok to visit the NIDA to meet with university officials.

Smatresk was joined by a delegation from UNT, including vice provost for international affairs Richard Nader, international recruitment office director Peiter Verneulen and Mayborn Dean Dorothy Bland.

“We are here because students who study abroad get better jobs,” Nader said. “Faculty who do global research with global colleagues have high citation impacts. It speaks to UNT’s global reputation and presence here. We are also fiercely proud of more than 1,000 alums.”

Bland said Smatresk will return to UNT Tuesday, but said she is scheduled for more university stops. On Tuesday, she will visit Kasetsart University and Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok.

“There is a wealth of opportunities that our students and faculty could be taking advantage of here,” Bland said. “This is about global engagement. We are visiting several universities to explore potential opportunities for more collaboration.”

University officials said collaboration with foreign programs will open many doors for UNT students to study abroad, exchange research, collaborate and intern with foreign businesses.

“As an expanding hub of international business, Bangkok and Thailand seek to grow and leverage their meetings, conventions and exhibitions,” Smatresk said.

About Author

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton is the editor of the Daily.

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