Award for global engagement goes to Duluthian

Dan Nolan recently won a statewide award for teaching about internationalization. Below is the news release for the announcement, but I thought it might be more important to remind folks of the cool work Dan has also done for internationalization for the city of Duluth.

The photo above is from a project integrating partners in social work, city services, Russian area studies and a wide array of community organizations and city social services in both Petrozavodsk and Duluth. Nolan was building on the Sister Cities initiative in Duluth, itself a gem in our community, Cherie Bridges (then Cherie Sawinski).

But unlike surface level cultural exchange, Nolan’s project identified areas of concern for at-risk children and families: sex trafficking, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, domestic abuse, child abuse and raising emotionally healthy children.

This is global exchange, sister cities, international collaboration that takes us beyond “appreciation” into “working together on the challenges we all face.” I think that that work, which benefits the city of Duluth as much as its university, can exemplify why Nolan was chosen for this award.

Press release below.


Dr. Dan Nolan has the remarkable ability to build bridges across people and cultures. Most notably, he develops and oversees Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) programs at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, which helps faculty develop international learning experiences that connect students with peers around the world. Partnering countries in this initiative include Ghana, Finland, Uganda, Morocco, Canada, Germany, England, South Africa, Spain, Czech Republic, China, Russia, Mexico, and New Zealand.

Dr. Nolan advances teaching and collaborative work in the fields of German Studies, Russian Studies, Comparative Literary Studies, and Language Learning, and has championed mobile app-based language learning projects. He helped found the Mobile Language Learning group at UMD, which develops applications that assist in second-language acquisition.

Nolan also works to integrate sustainability initiatives into language courses. He serves as a key liaison in a formal international partnership between Germany and Minnesota — the Climate Smart Municipalities (CSM) — that advances climate and energy transition efforts in six German and six Minnesota cities.

He also co-organized discussions that ultimately led to the creation of the website Environment and Engagement in German Studies, hosted at Carleton College, which is now a vital hub for teaching, research, and civic engagement pedagogies. He has been invited to present to the European Aurora Alliance, focused on advancing innovation for society’s largest challenges.

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