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Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

Ivor EmmanuelBy Ivor Emmanuel

As the chair of the NAFSA Awards Subcommittee these last two years, I have had the privilege of reading nomination statements for a number of noteworthy colleagues. These statements are truly inspiring, and they give us the opportunity to get to know these distinguished individuals through a different lens. These award recommendations also serve as a reminder of the value of our work to the people we serve and the profession at large. There is no better way to write this blog than to share some of the comments included in these nomination statements.

Writing in support of Sara Thurston-González, the 2015 recipient of the Homer Higbee Award, a nominator notes that “Sara’s passion for the field of international education is expressed in her daily life and her commitment to excellence in all she does.” He continues his praise, writing “her commitment and dedication to NAFSA has brought to our campus skills, leadership development, and collaborative solutions gleaned from this professional organization.” The nominator adds, “Thurston-González served on the campuswide Vision 2025 committee, an 18-month planning process involving hundreds of K-Staters, where she campaigned tirelessly (and successfully) to advocate that the needs and desires of our over 2,200 international students and scholars, be incorporated into the strategic direction for Kansas State University.” These comments offer a glimpse into the kind of distinguished service that Thurston-González and other award recipients have dedicated to the field.

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As chair of the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo Annual Conference Committee (ACC), I have had the distinct honor of working with ACC content chair Sara Thurston and an outstanding ACC team to develop a rich and diverse range of educational opportunities for NAFSA 2016 that will make this year’s program in Denver, Colorado, one of the best ever.

Collectively the ACC read more than 600 proposals and worked with over 250 reviewers to develop an exciting and exceptional offering for participants.

The theme of the 2016 Annual Conference, Building Capacity for Global Learning, challenges all of us to think about the ways our work facilitates learning and makes the international education field so successful. Deepening global learning for students, scholars, and researchers is, ultimately, the reason we do what we do, whether you are in immigration advising, recruitment, education abroad, administration, teaching, or the service industry. In addition, we attend the NAFSA Annual Conference to learn with and from each other in order to build our individual skills and knowledge that will enhance capacity at our home institutions.

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#GivingTuesday 2015

By Fanta Aw

NAFSA remains an inclusive and diverse association committed to hearing and acting on the many dialogues that are part of our association. Being committed to inclusion and openness requires that we are vigilant about engaging with others and intentional about hearing their voices. That is why I am asking for your support of NAFSA’s Diversity Impact Program through today’s #GivingTuesday online giving campaign.

The NAFSA Diversity Impact Program aims to increase access to our field and profession by underrepresented institutions and, in so doing, broaden the perspective, understanding, and inclusiveness of the NAFSA community. As a member of that broader, welcoming community, I urge you to join me in supporting the Diversity Impact Program through #GivingTuesday, today, December 1.

Celebrate NAFSA on Giving Tuesday with your gift to the NAFSA Diversity Impact Program. Donate Now.

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By Diana Carlin

NAFSA 2016 offers a full slate of outstanding plenary speakers. But one in particular is of special interest to me for both personal and professional reasons. When I read the introduction to Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, describing the first time she arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, I immediately identified with the sights, sounds, smells, and experience of wearing and keeping on a headscarf along with the anxiety of getting through the arrival process.

Over a four-year period, I visited Kabul five times to work on an NGO project with university students. Lemmon’s lively and detailed writing style brought back memories, but what affected me more was how she captured the spirit of the Afghan people and especially the women in this country who have known war for over 30 years. I too also met women who survived the Taliban years and who engaged in similar entrepreneurial activities as the book describes. I purchased beautiful clothing from a cooperative where women sell their creations to support their families. I know that Lemmon will bring all of her experiences to life for the NAFSA audience as she has for her readers.

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By Meredith McQuaid

Bryan StevensonIf you have not yet had the chance to hear Bryan Stevenson, founder and CEO of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, prepare to be utterly inspired when he speaks at NAFSA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Expo in Denver. And, if you have had the chance to hear him speak before, then you will likely be one of the first to grab a seat near the front of the auditorium.

Bryan is passionate on speaking out about our failed criminal justice system. He is outspoken about this country’s tolerance for deliberate and demonstrated injustice against the poor. He is also articulate, honest, provocative, and charming. This combination of characteristics allows him to get under your skin while he holds up a mirror to our society. If you’re like me, you will remember things he says about us and our country for days, even weeks afterward. But of course, remembering what he says and acting upon it are two different things, and I am reminded, in writing this, that there are things I can and must do to be part of the solution.

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By Debra Stewart

david brooks ny timesThe recent announcement of David Brooks as the opening plenary speaker at the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo is great news for all NAFSAns. As a member of the NAFSA board attending recent NAFSA annual conferences, I’ve been struck by the extraordinary caliber of NAFSA’s plenary speakers. From my 14 years experience as president of a partner organization, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), I know that successful conferences depend critically on compelling plenary speakers. At CGS, we were honored to have David Brooks as a plenary speaker more than once at our annual meetings and each time Mr. Brooks earned rave reviews from attendees.

David Brooks as a speaker will appeal to NAFSA members for exactly the same reasons he appealed so strongly to graduate deans. He is a thoughtful commentator on the contemporary political scene who brings considered conservative balance to a community discourse where liberal voices dominate. And, in providing that balance, he signifies a kind of civility and respect for others that is absolutely essential to moving forward effective and meaningful dialogue on critical policy issues.

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Amanda KelsoBy Amanda Kelso

This past July I had the opportunity to attend NAFSA’s Strategic Retreat for Education Abroad Leaders in Washington, D.C. Like most full-time administrators, my days are filled with a steady stream of e-mails, meetings, and crises (both big and small), making it a struggle to reflect on and discuss big-picture ideas. The prospect of a two-day retreat with colleagues to focus on and discuss strategy was appealing.

In preparation for the retreat, we were assigned to read four articles in which the authors challenged us to rethink the definitions of “global learners” and “global learning,” a challenge echoed by Neriko Musha Doerr in the retreat’s keynote address. What followed was innovative and inspiring, and completely different from the typical education abroad workshop.

Each participant came to the retreat looking for something different, and as the retreat drew to a close, it was evident that each would leave with equally diverse outcomes. I came away from the retreat with a richer vision of how education abroad fits into the shifting landscape of global higher education, as well as new ideas and pathways to explore to ensure that the global programming in my care meets the needs of 21st century learners. These insights will certainly inform my work at Duke and as a leader in NAFSA’s Education Abroad Knowledge Community.

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By Nicolle Merrill

We all know that networking is key to getting the things that we want—new jobs, new ideas, new partnerships. Yet when I ask students or colleagues about their networking efforts their answers fall somewhere between “networking is so awkward” and “OMG I hate it.”

Networking, at its simplest, is about conversations. Talking to strangers can feel awkward, no doubt, but your willingness to push through and engage strangers and actively listen can open the door to potential. And with a bit of preparation—a few opening lines and a dash of bravery—anyone can be a conversationalist. You never know where a conversation might lead. It may be a hint about an unadvertised job opening, or an invite to a coffee chat about your new idea. Conversations can lead to insightful career advice, or maybe even a fantastic travel tip.

So here are six ways to network at the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. Use the opening lines below to get those conversations started.

1. Find Your People
The key to good conversations is finding commonality with other people. The NAFSA conference is huge but it is extremely easy to find people with shared interests through the Knowledge Communities and Member Interest Groups. Look through the list before you get on-site. Find a meeting with your peers, show up, locate the host, and introduce yourself.

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By Clare O’Brien

If you have the opportunity to arrive in Boston before the NAFSA conference starts, there will be plenty of things for you to see and do over the Memorial Day weekend. Here are a few suggestions:

Visit the Massachusetts Military Heroes Garden of Flags. Come see an amazing display of 37,000 American flags on the Boston Common. Each flag represents one of the Massachusetts service members who have given their lives for their country, dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Attend the Memorial Day Parade in Cambridge. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Harvard Square as you line up to see the parade go by. The parade will start with a cannon salute at 9:30 a.m. on the Cambridge Common.

Remember our heroes as you listen to a free concert. Honor & Tribute, Boston’s second annual Memorial Day concert, will take place at Christopher Columbus Park from 7:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m., with performances by the Metropolitan Wind Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Children’s Chorus.

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By Tiffany Harrison & Kayla Patterson

With over 200 million monthly Instagram users, 288 million Twitter users, and 347 million active LinkedIn accounts, it’s safe to say that social networking is here to stay.

As international educators, most of us are now aware (or we hope you are aware!) of how important tapping into these social media numbers is when it comes to marketing programs to students around the world. All you have to do is look at recent data to see that these numbers continue to grow. According to Expedia’s Future of Travel Study, 49 percent of millennials plan and book trips using their smartphones, while 40 percent are likely to share a travel experience on social media during a trip.

What about using social media to market yourself as a professional within international education? How do you create an online name for yourself, or enhance the digital footprint you’ve already established? What kind of skills should you be highlighting? What platforms are the most relevant? And, the biggest question of all: why does any of this even matter? Your students are the ones who are going abroad, and it’s them we should be focusing on, right? Not quite. In this day and age, it’s just as important to be thinking about your own social presence, for more reasons than one.

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