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Archive for the ‘NAFSA Leaders’ Category

By Jesse Lutabingwa

I am extremely pleased that Ishmael Beah, a Sierra Leonean author and human rights activist, will be one of the plenary speakers at the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo in Boston. As a young boy, Beah survived a rebel attack during a civil war that killed his parents and two brothers. At the age of 13, he became a child soldier for the government army and fought for more than two years before being rescued by UNICEF.

The plight of children affected by these senseless wars was brought home to me in Tanzania. In 1996, I met a young Rwandan Tutsi refugee who escaped a massacre there in 1994. This boy, who at the time seemed to be between 13 and 14 years old, told a story of how he managed to survive by pretending to be dead by laying amidst bloodied dead family members and neighbors. This boy was psychologically and emotionally traumatized by what he had lived through and was experiencing nightmares at the time. As I listened to his story, I remember thinking to myself, how can this child be rehabilitated so that he can live a normal productive life without fear or the urge to take revenge. It was only later in my adult life that I came to realize that my childhood experience was different than that of many other children, like Beah, in other parts of the world.

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By Kavita Pandit

Recently, NAFSA announced that Shiza Shahid, co-founder and ambassador of the Malala Fund as a plenary speaker at the 2015 NAFSA Annual Conference in Boston. Ms. Shahid has been an outspoken advocate for the empowerment of girls through increased access to education ever since she was a young woman growing up in Pakistan.

The importance of the cause that Ms. Shahid is championing may seem self-evident to most of us living in the West. The realities of the lives of young girls in rural and impoverished regions of the world can be quite abstract – even to those like me who was born and raised in India but in an upper middle class, urban household. It was only because of an experience that I had many decades ago when I was in my early 20s that I realized, in an emotionally charged way, what the lives of many girls in these settings can be like.

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In his State of the Union address, President Obama declared 2014 as a “year of action,” and reminded Congress that “…what most Americans want [is] for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.” He shone a light on education by noting the importance of “….preparing tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education;” and he again asked Congress to take up commonsense immigration reform as he explained:

“When people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let’s get immigration reform done this year.”

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Robert A. Pastor

My friend and international education’s friend, Bob Pastor, died last night at the age of 67, finally succumbing to a cancer that he had battled with characteristic courage, humor, and unrelenting determination for nearly four years—all the while ignoring, as only Bob could, the assurances of his doctors that he didn’t have that much time.

He will be remembered for many things, but among our last memories of him will be his absolute refusal to let his deteriorating physical condition interfere with his indefatigable professional lifestyle and his prolific scholarship. At the end, he was professor of international relations at American University and, until almost literally his last days, founder and director of that university’s Center for North American Studies.

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August recess. District work period. Town hall palooza. There are many names for this time in August when Congress leaves DC to go home for four weeks. But in the end it doesn’t matter what you call it, what really matters is who shows up.

NAFSA member Patti Jones from Macomb, Illinois showed up. Recently retired, Patti has been a member of NAFSA for over thirty years, serving in a variety of leadership positions. She is currently an Academy coach for NAFSA Region V. Patti went to a town hall hosted by her representative Aaron Schock, a Republican representing Illinois’ 18th congressional district. It was only the week before that Representative Schock made news for coming out in support of a pathway to citizenship at a town hall.

What made Patti go to the town hall?

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Destiny Benders Elizabeth Blanchford (Gen Next Education - Montana), Andy Fraher (Embry Riddle Aeronautical University), Becky Hanson (University of Iowa), Caitlin Kelley (Kansas State University), Jen Wahlquist (Gen Next Education –Bangalore), Brad Van Den Elzen (Kansas State University), Gabrielle Malfatti (University of Missouri), Dave Benoit (Envision EMI), John Wilkerson (University of Missouri), and Girish Ballolla (Gen Next Education) with Mrs. Lakshmi Rao, principal, and Ms. Jyotsna Nair, counselor, at National Public School, Koramangala, in Bangalore.By Gabrielle Malfatti
“When I say M-I-Z, you say Z-O-U”
- M-I-Z
- Z-O-U
- Louder, M-I-Z
- Z-O-U!!
- LOUDER, M-I-Z
- Z-O-U!!!

The chant is a common occurrence on the University of Missouri (MU) campus and popular with all Tiger fans. Yet, this time the chant that brings us together on football afternoons at Faurot Field was being uttered by high school students more than 8,000 miles away from Columbia in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

As many international educators are in the midst of recruiting trips this time of year, I wanted to share my experience as an observer on a recent recruitment trip. As the MU College of Education’s director for international and intercultural initiatives, I recently joined a group of fellow NAFSAns for India Calling 2013, a recruitment and public relations campaign designed by Gen Next Education, Inc. for its U.S. university partners at schools in Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, and Delhi. The purpose of my journey was to connect with K-12 principals for internship placements for our students at their schools. Mission accomplished! The first group will complete their Indian residency this summer.

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Susan CartyBy Susan Carty
I recently chaired the Education Abroad Knowledge Community Update at NAFSA’s annual conference in Houston, where we announced the winners of our national education abroad awards that recognize the commitment and contributions of worthy individuals in our field.

The recipient of the 2012 Lily von Klemperer Award is Dr. David Wick, coordinator of study abroad services at San Francisco State University. The recipient of the 2012 Education Abroad Leadership Award is Dr. Michael Steinberg, executive vice president and director of academic programs at the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES Abroad).

Wick received no less than 10 letters in support of his nomination. They referenced his professionalism, passion, humor, accessibility, commitment to advocacy, and willingness to share his expertise and to offer motivation, as well as his extensive work with NAFSA’s annual conference, the Academy for International Education, and Advocacy Day.

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yocasta Brens-WatsonBy Yocasta Brens-Watson
My involvement with NAFSA began when I became director of international services at Philadelphia University (at the time it was still known as Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science). I was fresh out of graduate school and had only a vague idea of what I was doing. At that time, my boss gave me the names of three individuals in Region VIII whom he insisted I meet. They in turn put me in touch with the Philadelphia Area International Educators Network (PAIEN).

While PAIEN was not officially affiliated with NAFSA, it was clear that most of its members were also NAFSA members. I was overwhelmed by the willingness of those individuals to share information, resources, and knowledge so freely. Those who took me under their wings had two pieces of advice for me: become a NAFSA member and get your hands on a NAFSA Adviser’s Manual. I am so glad that I listened.

Ever since then, NAFSA has been my number one source for guidance and information on best practices in the field of international education. It is thanks to the input of my NAFSA colleagues through practice advisories, workshops, and everyday informal interactions that I am able to advance my institution’s mission toward internationalization. Being part of NAFSA is an affirmation that I am part of a profession.

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Chelsea KindredBy Chelsea Kindred
In 2010, Chelsea Kindred joined the NAFSA Academy for International Education as a study abroad professional, still passionate about her own experience studying abroad in 2006 as an undergraduate. The following is a glimpse into her journey of becoming a lifelong global educator.

I opened the conference program book, certain the answers to all my questions could be found within its pages. I meticulously wrote down session titles, room numbers, and scheduled start times. I made difficult decisions (Tools for successful cultural adaptation on-site, or visa updates from France?), and developed a ranking system: four stars denoting a session I would most likely attend, and one star indicating a session I might consider, but for which I could always download the materials later.

My pen lingered over a session on professional development, and I mulled over the words. Professional. Development. What did that mean in the context of my daily job functions? As a newcomer to both full-time employment and full-time adulthood, I had no clue.

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At last week’s annual conference in Houston, NAFSA recognized the following national award winners. Join us in congratulating them by leaving a comment below!

Vivien StewartThe 2012 Cassandra Pyle Award for Leadership and Collaboration in International Educational Exchange was awarded to Vivien Stewart, senior adviser for education at the Asia Society. The Cassandra Pyle award honors the contributions of a senior international educator to global international exchange.

For the past 10 years, Stewart has been responsible for the Asia Society’s programs to promote the study of Asia and other world regions, cultures, languages, and global issues in America’s schools and for building connections between U.S. and Asian education leaders. Her recent book, A World-Class Education, describes what the United States can learn from high-performing education systems around the world.

Marita Houlihan Award

Ellen Badger, Binghamton University, State University of New York
Ellen Badger

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