22 to Study in Asia as Phillips Ambassadors

Earl N. Phillips Jr. '62 recognizes Kayla Price, a junior from Clinton majoring in sociology.

Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr. ’62 recognizes Kayla Price, a junior from Clinton majoring in sociology.

Twenty-two Carolina undergraduates have been selected as Phillips Ambassadors for summer and fall 2009 study abroad programs in Asia.

The scholarship program, designed to broaden awareness of Asia, is offered through study abroad programs in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and Kenan-Flagler Business School. The scholarship combines an award for study in Asia with an academic course that puts the experience in greater global context and challenges students to share their experiences of Asia upon their return. The scholarship program is open to students of all majors.

The 22 newly selected students have been awarded scholarships for study in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. To date, 58 UNC undergraduates have studied in Asia as Phillips Ambassadors since the program started in 2007. That number will climb to 80 as these new Phillips Ambassadors embark this summer and fall.

Phillips Ambassadors are chosen twice each year, with 25 percent of the scholarships reserved for qualified undergraduate business majors and minors from Kenan-Flagler. Scholarship recipients are selected based on their academic achievement and commitment to activities, service and leadership roles in the classroom and community. Phillips Ambassadors can choose from 54 UNC-approved academic programs in Asia, including 15 programs in greater China and 10 in India.

“The Phillips Ambassadors scholarship program supports undergraduate study abroad in Asia to an extent that was not possible three years ago, before the scholarship was established,” said Bob Miles, associate dean of study abroad and international exchanges at UNC. “We are extremely fortunate to be able to offer a select group of UNC undergraduates this esteemed award.

“There is growing interest and understanding of the global importance of Asia among students,” Miles said. “The Phillips Ambassadors scholarship program helps encourage a deeper understanding of Asia and rewards high academic achievement.”

A distinguishing feature of the scholarship is an emphasis on what is called the “Give Back,” or sharing of one’s study abroad experience in Asia with the Carolina community and a student’s hometown. In accepting the scholarship, students agree to publish a piece about their studies in Asia for a campus or hometown publication. They also give an outreach presentation about their experiences in Asia to a school in their hometown and other local schools around North Carolina, introducing more young people to Asia.

Generating greater interest in Asia among UNC undergraduates was in part the motivation for Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr. ’62 in his endowment of the Phillips Ambassadors program. “Hopefully this gift will encourage more students to spend their study abroad experiences focused on Asia – an increasingly vital region of the future,” said Phillips, an entrepreneur who divides his time between High Point and Chapel Hill, and who has worked and traveled in Asia for more than 20 years. Phillips also is a former U.S. ambassador to the eastern Caribbean.

“My long-term goal is for every Carolina undergraduate to have an international experience before they graduate,” Phillips said.

Phillips Ambassadors receive up to $7,500 each for a semester or yearlong program, and up to $5,000 each for a summer program. The summer and fall 2009 Phillips Ambassadors represent 14 different academic majors. They come from nine different North Carolina counties and six other states.

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