Award Recipients for 2007

The Faculty Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Education:
Professor Thomas J. Knutson

Professor Knutson has been a long term member and leader of both the Omicron Chapter at California State University, Sacramento and the National level as past president of Phi Beta Delta (1995-1996). He has sustained a long and distinguished record as a scholar with a profound involvement in international education and communication. He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Korea, Russia and Thailand and serves repeatedly on the Fulbright selection committee. He is the author of over 100 publications on topics including intercultural communication and conflict resolution that often have involved collaboration with multi-cultural teams of scholars.

Professor Knutson is a Fellow of the International Academy of Intercultural Research and holds an academic appointment as adjunct professor of Graduate Studies at Bankok University. He has arranged numerous international exchange experiences for students and faculty from both the United States and Thailand.

Described as "effectively supporting a global village in his back yard" Professor Knutson has enriched the field of international education through his example, his research, publications and activities.

The Edward S. Blankenship Outstanding Staff Award:
Janis Silvers

Janis Silvers has been a vital force for twenty years in the Global Education Office at California State University, Sacramento. She has dedicated her career to becoming the most effective Study Abroad Advisor and CSU International Program Campus Coordinator possible. She has traveled extensively, visited partner universities, researched cultural issues and studied the Spanish language in order to communicate better with her students. To quote one of them "She has always put forth extra effort to inform me of my options available not only with study abroad matters, but other international issues related to the campus...she deeply cares about the students and staff with which she works"

Janis has also served on Omicron's board without interruption since 1990.

The David Merchant International Student Award for Achievement:
Kantesh Balani

Kantesh Balani is completing his doctoral degree in Mechanical and Materials Engineering from Florida International University, with previous studies at universities in Kentucky, Germany and India. He has an impressive record of academic achievement with a long list of published research papers, peer review activities, international talks and academic leadership honors including membership in Phi Kappa Phi.

Kantesh is a Peer Mentor, responsible for helping incoming international students to adjust to challenges of their transition. He has been exceptionally effective due to his "sincerity and passion" as one of his colleagues puts it. Kantesh has been an active member of Alpha Zeta Chapter and as President this year has been instrumental helping to organize and grow the chapter with spectacular results.

The Domestic Student Award for International Achievement:
Jomanna Qaddour

A Juris Doctor candidate in International Human Rights Law, Jomanna has been active in many projects and groups that involve international studies and cultural interchange since her undergraduate days at the University of Kansas. She has served as an example of balancing high academic achievement, civic responsibility and caring service. She has used her perspective as a Muslim woman to enlighten others through conferences, workshops, dialogues and a peace colloquy about the role of women in the Islamic world.

She has been active in the United Nations Association chapter at Kansas, raising funds for UNICEF and a leader in the Muslim Student Association and the Muslim American Society. She was awarded the prestigious Emily Taylor Award for Outstanding Women in Leadership in 2006.

Chapter Awards

Outstanding Chapter Award: Northeast Region
Zeta Zeta Chapter, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Outstanding Chapter Award: Southeast Region
Zeta Alpha, Florida International University

Outstanding Chapter Award: Southwest Region
Delta Iota Chapter, University of Houston

Outstanding Chapter Award: West Region
Gamma Lambda Chapter, California State University, San Bernardino

Eileen M. Evans Overall Outstanding Chapter Award
Zeta Alpha Chapter, Florida International University