International Awards recognize value of global work

By Franzene Minott | Emory Report | Feb. 1, 2021

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Recipients of Emory’s 2020-2021 International Awards will be recognized during a virtual program on Feb. 4. They are Levin Arnsperger, Usha Ramakrishnan and Henry Haipeng Zhang.

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The value of an institution’s global impact is determined not only by its cross-border presence but by its enduring international legacy. Emory University’s global renown is rooted in members of the Emory community whose impact is felt in universities, businesses and nonprofits all over the world, bolstering the university’s reputation as a leading research institution.

“Emory University’s global engagement begins on our campus and spans the world through the research of our faculty, the brilliance of our students and the commitment of our international alumni,” says President Gregory L. Fenves. “The winners of the international awards exemplify the importance and ever-increasing reach of the university’s worldwide leadership in scholarship and innovation.”

On Feb. 4, the Office of Global Strategy and Initiatives (GSI) will recognize three members of the Emory community whose work has expanded the university’s global engagement. The annual International Awards celebrate the extraordinary work of a faculty member, an international alumnus and a staff member. This year, GSI will hold a virtual event to commemorate the winners.

“Global work is more critical now than ever before,” says Philip Wainwright, vice provost for global strategies and initiatives. “The pandemic has brought into high relief our increasingly interconnected world and the strength that can result from finding innovative solutions through international collaboration. Our global connectivity can be our greatest strength.”

The 2020-2021 International Award recipients are: 

  • Usha Ramakrishnan, Marion V. Creekmore Award for Internationalization
  • Henry Haipeng Zhang, Sheth Distinguished International Alumni Award
  • Levin Arnsperger, International Outreach Award

Creekmore Award for Internationalization

Usha Ramakrishnan will receive the 2020-21 Marion V. Creekmore Award for Internationalization, which honors an Emory faculty member whose work furthers the advancement of the university’s commitment to internationalization. Ramakrishnan is chair and Distinguished Richard N. Hubert Professor of the Hubert Department of Global Health in Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) and a graduate faculty member of the Doctoral Programs in Nutrition and Health Sciences (NHS) and Global Health and Development at Emory’s Laney Graduate School.

Known internationally for her expertise in maternal and child nutrition, Ramakrishnan’s commitment to global impact has been evident through her work examining the long-term consequences of malnutrition on pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth and subsequent child growth and development.

Ramakrishnan’s dedication to guiding global health initiatives has been demonstrated throughout her tenure at Emory where she has held several leadership positions, including director of the NHS doctoral program (2008-2019). She also has invested her expertise in training others by mentoring several pre- and post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty. In 2015, Ramakrishnan played a pivotal role in the creation of the inaugural PhD program in Global Health and Development.

In a nomination letter endorsed by 30 of Ramakrishnan’s colleagues, Kathryn M. Yount, professor in RSPH’s Department of Global Health, and Carlos del Rio, professor in RSPH’s Global Health and Epidemiology departments and Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine’s Infectious Disease division, praised her “unwavering commitment to impactful scholarship and building the next generation of leaders," declaring Ramakrishnan “an exemplar ‘ambassador’ for internationalization through global health.”

With research, projects and collaborations spanning Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Europe, Ramakrishnan’s impact reverberates around the globe.  

Sheth Distinguished International Alumni Award 

Henry Haipeng Zhang, who earned an MBA from Emory’s Goizueta Business School in 2000, is the winner of the 2020-21 Sheth Distinguished International Alumni Award. The distinction celebrates international alumni who are highly distinguished in their field and have made outstanding contributions to humanity, science, art or human welfare.

Zhang’s impact in his home country of China and beyond can be tracked across multiple industries. Currently serving as a senior managing director of investment management and advisory firm CITIC Capital; head of Healthcare Group; co-chairman of Centurion Hospital Group; and a director of online medical services company So-Young International Inc., Zhang’s notable success in business and health care extends beyond those fields to his remarkable achievements in the arts.

Known to his readers as Feng Tang, Zhang also is a renowned novelist, poet and calligrapher in China. He has published 20 books ranging from novels to essays to poetry. His notable works include “Beijing Trilogy” (“Beijing, Beijing,” “Give me a Girl at Age Eighteen” and “Everything Grows”), which has been adapted into films and dramas in China, and translated and published into several languages including English, Italian and French.

Quan Hu, president of the Emory Alumni Association’s Shanghai chapter, wrote that, “Feng Tang’s dual identity of an artist and a competent business leader struck a chord in the Chinese psyche,” and that this unique feat makes him “a cultural icon and an influencer in China.”

With a distinct ability to transcend industries and garner success, Zhang’s cultural contributions through his bold artistic expression will be remembered for years to come.  

International Outreach Award 

Levin Arnsperger, associate director for English language learning in the Emory Writing Center, will be presented with the 2020-21 International Outreach Award. This award recognizes professional staff who have made significant contributions to Emory’s internationalization through the programs, schools and units in which they serve.

During the past six years working in Emory College’s English Language Learning Program and the Emory Writing Center, Arnsperger has taught writing and communication classes for non-native speakers of English. He also has conducted research on various topics throughout his career, including the journey of Chinese high school students to U.S. colleges, which has resulted in publications and numerous conference presentations. He is known for his impressive commitment to promoting the professional and personal development of his team.

While the International Outreach Award recognizes Arnsperger’s contributions as a staff member, his connection to Emory started long before his current role. His first experiences at Emory were as an exchange student from Freie Universitat in Berlin. He soon returned to Emory for his doctoral studies, during which he earned a PhD in English through Laney Graduate School.

Arnsperger has hired, mentored and trained tutors — first by heading the ESL Tutoring Service until 2019, and since then in his new position with the Writing Center where he also leads community engagement efforts. His workshops and trainings help staff, faculty and graduate instructors more effectively communicate with and teach international students at Emory. 

Emory alumna Merry Chen 19C shared, “as someone who has worked closely under him ... I can attest to his incredible commitment to supporting the growth of international students both on a personal and academic level.” She then recounts how many of her co-workers have secured competitive positions in Fulbright and Teach for America, a testimony to his mentorship.

Arnsperger’s aptitude for empowering those under his guidance for continued success signifies the lasting effect of his leadership within Emory’s international community.