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Jostein Mykletun and Robert Bruininks.

U alumnus Jostein Mykletun, left, now deputy director general of Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was presented the University's 2006 Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals by President Bruininks in Norway May 28 during a U delegation visit.

U honors global alumni achievements

2006 Distinguished Leadership Awards for Internationals span six nations

By Gayla Marty

Brief, May 24, 2006;
photo update June 14, 2006

When a University delegation travels to Norway this week, foreign minister Jostein Mykletun will be the second of six U alumni honored this year with a Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals.

U officials are traveling to Norway to visit partner universities (see box below right) and will take the opportunity to launch a Norway alumni chapter on May 28. Mykletun, CLA '72, '79, is deputy director of Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and certainly one of the U's most distinguished alumni.

2006 Distinguished Leadership Awards for Internationals

This year's award winners all attended the Twin Cities campus.

Soon Ang, Carlson School of Management, '93 (Singapore)

Benedicta Chiwokwu Aguisabo, Humphrey Fellow, 2001-02 (Nigeria)

Shenggen Fan, College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, '89 (China)

Jostein Mykletun, College of Liberal Arts, '72, '79 (Norway)

Jose Suarez-Torrez, School of Public Health, '79, '84 (Ecuador)

Winston C. Y. Yu, College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, '79 (Taiwan)

Mykletun works at the global crossroads of science, technology, innovation, industry, business, and higher education. Because of his work, the U.S.-Norway bilateral science and technology agreement was signed in 2005. He's been a professor, scholar, researcher, director of organizations inside and outside of Norway, and a science counselor to the Norwegian mission to the European Union. Over the past four years, Mykletun has been working to foster relationships between the United States, Canada, and Norway related to biotechnology, energy, climate, and health care.

Nowhere are those crossroads illustrated more clearly than at the University of Minnesota, where Mykletun played a key role in creating the Norwegian Centennial Interdisciplinary Chair last year. The endowment created a faculty position in the fields of renewable energy and microbial genomics.

Outstanding as his contributions are, Mykletun is in good company among U alumni. Other winners of the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals this year come from China, Ecuador, Nigeria, Singapore, and Taiwan (see box above left). The awards recognize alumni, former students, and friends of any University of Minnesota campus who have attained unusual distinction in their careers or shown sustained or extremely promising achievements on a local, national, or international level.

"This award shows the global impact of a University of Minnesota education," says Gene Allen, associate vice president for international programs. "International alumni and friends of the University have gone on to do very impressive and important work in their home countries and around the world."

The global impact of a University of Minnesota education

Shenggen Fan received award from Eugene Allen
Shenggen Fan, '89, right, was the first 2006 winner of the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals to be honored. Associate vice president C. Eugene Allen, left, presented the award when Fan visited the Twin Cities campus May 12. Fan also received the Department of Applied Economics' Outstanding Achievement Award. Photo courtesy of the Department of Applied Economics

Allen welcomed Shenggen Fan, '89, a leading agricultural economist, back on the Twin Cities campus this month, where Fan received his award May 12. Fan was a student from China who earned his Ph.D. in applied economics from the College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences. Today he directs a division on development strategy and governance for the International Food Policy Research Institute based in Washington, D.C. He's devoted most of his professional life to fighting poverty and hunger.

At the May 12 event, Fan also received an Outstanding Alumni Award from the Department of Applied Economics, where he saluted his adviser, renowned economist Vernon Ruttan. In a lecture on ways to dramatically reduce poverty, Fan spoke to the audience of graduate students and faculty members about such key issues as the importance of roads and infrastructure.

Other award winners in 2006 will be recognized individually in ceremonies hosted by their colleges at the U or in their home countries.

To read more about this year's award winners and those from previous years, see the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals.