Saint Leo University administrators and faculty at University Campus recently had the rare opportunity to host a group of visiting professionals from Afghanistan.

A group of eight administrators and professionals who work in the higher education sector of Afghanistan were greeted at University Campus by President William J. Lennox Jr., faculty members, and other key administrators. All the visitors were English speakers, but three interpreters also traveled with the group in case assistance was required. The visit was coordinated by a St. Petersburg-based nonprofit organization, World Partnerships Inc., which works directly with the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program to arrange tours throughout the Tampa Bay area for selected groups of professionals from other nations who are poised to become leaders at organizations with an international dimension. The professional tours typically include multiple visits to destinations where visitors can learn more about governing, education, commerce, and culture in the United States.

In this case, the visitors were women and men from universities, from the national civilian police academy, a boarding school for girls, a government office for higher education, and other government and offices devoted to women's education and empowerment.

The group was able to stay only a few hours at Saint Leo during a weeklong trip to Florida. But they were able to hear from the faculty leaders who direct Saint Leo academic programs in criminal justice and public safety. They were followed by the executive director of Public Safety for the entire university, and the director of University Campus Safety and Security. The faculty and security personnel all share a law enforcement background. They were able to answer questions ranging from the practical matters of keeping an educational area safe to the challenges of educating a new generation of law enforcement officers.

Another briefing, concerning the services and programs Saint Leo provides for active-duty servicemembers, veterans, and their families, was presented by Pamela Martis, university associate vice president of Military Affairs and Services, and a retired U.S. Army colonel. While in the service, Martis was posted twice to Afghanistan. She shared her favorite memories of her assignments there with the guests before taking them on a walking tour of University Campus.

Pictured: Walking tour guided by Saint Leo's Pamela Martis at far left and at right, Mike D'Ambrosio, director of Campus Safety and Security.

Cyrus Brown, executive director of University Public Safety, listens to a question from one of the visitors.

Dr. Robert Diemer explains details about academic programs in criminal justice and public safety administration.