BLOOMINGTON - Indiana University President Michael McRobbie is leading a delegation of university officials on a trip to Spain and France. Among the items on the itinerary is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Madrid Program managed by IU.

The program, a partnership among IU, Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin, has served nearly 3,000 advanced students of Spanish since its inception in the mid-1960s. It is based at the Complutense University of Madrid, one of the oldest universities in the world.

"The remarkably successful and enduring Madrid study abroad program reflects the best of Indiana University's longstanding tradition of international engagement and continuing key institutional emphasis on developing the global literacy of our students," said McRobbie. "For a half-century now, this program has been a hallmark of our efforts to provide IU students with meaningful and immersive international experiences that can be life-changing and that, increasingly, our state's employers are seeking as they recruit new talent."

As part of the trip to Madrid, the delegation will meet with representatives from Compultense University as well as current students, alumni and staff of the Madrid Program. McRobbie will also present the Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion to Compultense University President Carlos Andradas Heranz. The medal is awarded for "meritorious international service to IU or exceptional achievements worldwide."

In France, the delegation will meet with IU students studying abroad in the Aix-en-Provence Program, which IU joined in 1997. McRobbie will attend an event May 21 which will include IU alumni living in France and throughout western Europe.

IU says around 370 students study abroad in the two countries each year. You can follow the progress of the trip on the delegation's official blog.