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Global Connections

Dreamliner flight to Tokyo could benefit CSU

June 20, 2013

Officials are hoping the new nonstop United flight linking Denver and Tokyo will help the state on numerous levels.

Mark Hallett has great memories of a recent trip to Tokyo on the inaugural Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” direct flight from Denver. He’s also hoping the historic flight will further CSU’s reputation as a destination for international students hoping to study in the United States.

“I really think this direct flight can be a game-changer for Colorado in a couple of ways,” said Hallett, senior director of International Student and Scholar Services at CSU. “First, it makes Colorado less of a fly-over spot on the map and more of a destination. Second, this will really boost Colorado’s brand and help us compete more favorably with cities on the coasts.”

Hallett was CSU’s lone representative on the June 10 flight, which included Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, numerous state and Denver-metro business leaders, and representatives from many of the state’s colleges and universities. The Colorado contingent spent four days working with Japanese officials to, among other goals, strengthen economic and cultural ties between the state and Japan.

The trip also provided impetus, Hallett said, for members of Study Colorado to band together for the common good. Study Colorado is an initiative of the State of Colorado, its institutions of higher education and the state’s business community. Its primary purpose is to promote Colorado as an education destination for international students.

Representatives from the University of Colorado, the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Denver and Red Rocks Community College made the trip. Study Colorado includes 22 member institutions, and is partnered with the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

“State officials are really starting to take a look at the benefit of international college students in Colorado,” Hallett said. “International students provide $244 million each year to our state’s economy, and they promote tourism and trade benefits with their host countries.”

In addition to working with Japanese officials to promote study abroad opportunities, the trip included several economic-themed meetings at the U.S. Embassy and a number of ceremonies – including one in the historic room in which Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito first met at the conclusion of World War II.

“It was an amazing delegation of Colorado’s leaders,” Hallett said, “and our concerted efforts should do wonders to promote cultural and economic ties between Colorado and Asia.”

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner made its inaugural Denver to Tokyo flight on June 10.

Japanese students make up only 22 of CSU’s current international student population of over 1,500, but Hallett said the addition of the Dreamliner flights, along with an increased emphasis in Japan on international education, can benefit CSU.

“Japanese businesses really value international experience, and Colorado’s ties with Japan should be a draw for students wanting to come here to learn and work,” he said. “The bottom line is that Tokyo is a hub for all of Asia, and if you’re a student from Asia looking for a place to study, this nonstop flight makes Colorado seem much closer.”