Kathleen Musante DeWalt wins award as global education visionary

Dr. Jagdish Sheth, Mrs. Madhu Sheth and Lawrence Feick, director for the University Center for International Studies, with Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement recipient Kathleen Musante

Dr. Jagdish Sheth, Mrs. Madhu Sheth and Lawrence Feick, director for the University Center for International Studies, with Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement recipient Kathleen Musante

Cuba is not the country of first choice for American parents to send their college-student child to for a study abroad experience.  It should be according to Kathleen Musante DeWalt, PhD, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.  For her innovative thinking and ambitious vision for global education for Pitt’s students, Dr. Musante is the 2013 recipient of the Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement.  The award recognizes the contributions of a current University of Pittsburgh faculty member to furthering international education.  Dr. Musante’s award will be presented at a reception on Thursday, November 14 held in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh’s International Week.

“Kathleen Musante is an academic visionary who has the can-do skills to bring to life her ideas and dreams,” said Dr. Jagdish Sheth, University of Pittsburgh alumnus who, with his wife Madhuri, promotes global thinking and international endeavors through the Sheth Family Foundation.  “Her career is packed with shining examples of inventive courses and programs that make students want to learn, want to be a part of what she has created.  Kathleen epitomizes the spirit of the Sheth faculty award.”

The two awardees, Kakenya Ntaiya and Kathleen Musante, awaiting the presentation of their Sheth International awards

The two awardees, Kakenya Ntaiya and Kathleen Musante, awaiting the presentation of their Sheth International awards

Seven years ago, Dr. Musante was the driving force behind the transformation of Pitt in Cuba from a four-week summer course into a full-semester, Spanish language-intensive study abroad program that includes classes in Spanish/Cuban film and Cuban literature and culture.  Similarly, Pitt in Ecuador was her brainchild.  The eight-week summer study abroad program immerses students in the Ecuadorian Amazon for instruction in Kichwa, a less commonly taught South American language, as well as hands-on knowledge of the region’s biodiversity and ethnobiology, and the health and nutrition problems faced by indigenous people.

Panoramas is an example of a big picture endeavor of Dr. Musante’s that fosters understanding of Latin America and its issues,” explained Lawrence Feick, director of the University Center for International Studies.  “She single-mindedly set about creating this path-breaking online resource that not only is available to Pitt faculty and students, but also to academics across the country and around the world.”

Kathleen Musante displays her Sheth award with a little help from Lawrence Feick, director for the University Center for International Studies

Kathleen Musante displays her Sheth award with a little help from Lawrence Feick, director for the University Center for International Studies

The web-based Panoramas is a venue for worldwide scholars, students, policy makers and others to engage in constructive, scholarly-based opinion, commentary and dialogue about Latin American and Caribbean issues.

Dr. Musante has carried out research, program planning, implementation and evaluation of issues surrounding the enhancement of food security and alleviation of gender inequality in economically marginal rural communities in Latin American and the US for over 40 years.  She has worked with a number of international and US agencies and foundations.  Her current research examines the health and nutrition of indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and the impact of 25 years of income generating projects for women on their social power and the welfare of their children in Manabí Province, Ecuador.

About the Sheth International Awards:

Founded in 2012, the Sheth International Awards are a result of a gift from Madhuri and Dr. Jagdish N. Sheth (Business ‘62G, ‘66G) through the Sheth Family Foundation.  The awards are administered by the University Center for International Studies at Pitt. The Sheth International Young Alumni Achievement Award acknowledges a University of Pittsburgh alumnus for contributions to the international community through professional achievement and societal impact.  The Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement recognizes the contributions of a current University of Pittsburgh faculty member to furthering international education.