Kennesaw State to recognize outstanding global contributions


World peace leader, faculty member and alumni among annual international award recipients KENNESAW…

Georgia (Mar 18, 2015)World peace leader, faculty member and alumni among annual international award recipients

KENNESAW, Ga.  (March 18, 2015) — Kennesaw State University will recognize the outstanding work of global public servants and educators at its second annual International Achievement Awards ceremony March 26.

The awards, which include the Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth awards to a distinguished Kennesaw State alumnus and faculty member and special awards for global public service and community partnership, will be presented to individuals whose work or service has made a global impact. This year marks the first time a student will be among the honorees.

“We’re proud to once again present these prestigious awards to acknowledge the amazing contributions our awardees have made to global peace, intercultural understanding and international cooperation,” said Lance Askildson, Kennesaw State vice provost and chief international officer. “These awards reflect the University’s ongoing commitment to both the ideals of global learning, service and citizenship, and to high standards of excellence and achievement. ”  

The 2015 International Achievement Awards recipients are:

·       Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, founding president, Soka Gakkai International

The 2015 Kennesaw State University Global Public Service Prize

Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder, educator, author and poet, is the founding president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), one of the world's largest and most diverse lay Buddhist organizations, promoting a philosophy of character development and social engagement for peace. He is founder of the Soka (value-creation) schools, a nondenominational school system based on an ideal of fostering each student's unique creative potential and cultivating an ethic of peace, social contribution and global consciousness. The school system runs from kindergarten through graduate study and includes a university in Tokyo, Japan, and another in California. Ikeda is a staunch proponent of dialogue as the foundation of peace. Since the 1970s, he has pursued dialogue with a wide range of individuals around the world in political, cultural, educational and academic fields, including Mikhail Gorbachev, Elise Boulding, Joseph Rotblat and Andre Malraux. In addition, he has founded a number of independent, nonprofit research institutes that develop cross-cultural, interdisciplinary collaboration on diverse issues: the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century (renamed the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue in 2009), the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research and the Institute of Oriental Philosophy. A prolific writer, Ikeda has published more than 100 works, ranging from Buddhist philosophy to biographical essays, poetry, children's stories and photographic collections. The GPS Prize honors an international figure that has made important contributions to public service in the country/region featured during the University’s “Year of” annual country study (2013-14 was the “Year of Japan). This award also recognizes the commitment of support for international academic exchange between Kennesaw State University and the country/region for the “Year of” country program.

·       Elizabeth Elango Bintliff, vice president of Africa programs, Heifer Project International

The Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Distinguished Alumni Award for Exceptional Humanitarian and Service Achievement

Bintliff leads programs for the Little Rock, Ark.-based Heifer International, managing a portfolio in 12 countries.She is committed to development, especially for women in Africa, where she believes that giving three things — a choice, a voice and an opportunity – is key to changing the trajectory of development on the continent. Her commitment to fighting poverty and elevating the role of women is evident not just in her work abroad, but also in the U.S., where she serves on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Foodbank and the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, which promotes women in philanthropy and the empowerment of young girls. Born and raised in Cameroon, she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Kennesaw State, and holds a master’s in African Studies from Yale University. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Zanzibar and has worked in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. She started her career at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta. She is fluent in English, French, Swahili and West African Krio.

·       Dr. Laurence Sherr, composer-in-residence and professor of music, Kennesaw State University

The 2015 Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement

Sherr is active as a composer of Holocaust remembrance music, lecturer on Holocaust music topics, producer of remembrance events, and educator about Holocaust music. International performances of his work have been given in Austria, Holland, Switzerland, Turkey, Japan, Canada, and Mexico. He has performed and lectured in the Czech Republic, Germany, England, Israel, New Zealand, and across North America. The poetry of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs is featured in Sherr’s compositionsFugitive Footsteps andFlame Language. He led a workshop on teaching music and the Holocaust at the 2012 International Conference on Holocaust Education at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and his 2011 Prague Holocaust Remembrance Concert was staged under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy. His 2009 concert and educational activities in Germany, produced in collaboration with children of the generation who persecuted his mother and her family, led to reconciliation and healing. He developed the global-citizenship course Music and the Holocaust at Kennesaw State.

·       Alberto Quinti, school director, Il Sasso Language School

The 2015 Division of Global Affairs Distinguished International Community Partner Award

Quinti is the founder and current director of the Cooperative Il Sasso School of Italian Language and Culture for Foreigners, which he established 1983 in Montepulciano, Italy. He was appointed head of culture for the Municipality of Montepulciano in 1999, and served as the representative of Comune di Montepulciano at the Fondazione Musei Senesi from 2001 to 2009.  He also served on the city’s Library and Historical Archive board of directors from 2003 to 2009. For the past 10 years, he has been a member of the Fondazione Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte di Montepulciano board of directors. Quinti has endorsed several critical cultural agreements between the Municipality of Montepulciano and international artistic and educational institutions.  Among those are agreements with the Music Academy of Koln (Germany), which now maintains its foreign department in Montepulciano, and the Montepuliano Fortezza Project, which led to Kennesaw State establishing a permanent satellite campus the city.

·       Destiny Nieves, exercise science major, WellStar College of Health and Human Services

The 2015 Emerson Scholarship for the Advancement of International Education

Nieves, a second-year student and self-defined “fitness nerd,” transferred to Kennesaw State University after beginning her college career at Emory University, where she studied neuroscience and behavioral biology. She quickly realized her passion was exercise science, and enrolled at Kennesaw State to pursue that dream. She has been distinguished by a series of successes inside and outside the classroom. Her name consistently appears on the dean’s list, and she is a member of the Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is a member of the Odyssey Peer Mentoring group, and formed her own campus organization, called Kindness Inspires Kindness, which encourages students to commit random acts of kindness. As the recipient of the first-ever Emerson Scholarship for the Advancement of International Education, Nieves will participate in the education abroad program, China Revealed Through its Math Education and Culture, during summer 2015. She looks forward to learning more about China’s culture via the “international languages of science and math.”

The International Achievement Awards are organized by Kennesaw State’s Division of Global Affairs with financial support from Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth, for whom the awards to faculty and alumni have been named. Jagdish Sheth, a renowned scholar of marketing, consumer behavior and emerging global markets, is the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University and the author of more than 300 papers and books.

The Emerson Award provides financial assistance annually for students to study abroad in a program administered by the University’s Division of Global Affairs. The award is made possible by a gift from Christie Emerson, RN, MSN, FNP and senior lecturer for Kennesaw State’s WellStar College School of Nursing, and her husband, Tom.

The awards will be presented at the March 26 ceremony, which will feature as keynote speaker Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. De la Vega leads all consumer marketing, sales, content, converged services and customer care for the company's wireless and wired businesses.Under his leadership, AT&T Mobility became one of the world’s leading smartphone and mobile Internet providers, and is expanding into new growth areas such as connected cars, and home security and automation.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country. 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit