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Archive for the ‘NAFSA’ Category

#GivingTuesday, taking place this year on December 2, will once again focus on celebrating and promoting generosity.

Started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, this global day of giving back was created to encourage charitable activities in support of nonprofit organizations.

This year, NAFSA is asking everyone to participate in #GivingTuesday by contributing in support of the NAFSA Diversity Impact Program.

This initiative empowers international educators working with underrepresented populations to expand internalization efforts on their campuses. Earlier this year, 27 fellow educators from tribal colleges; historically black colleges and universities; Hispanic-serving institutions; and community colleges and associates colleges attended the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo in San Diego as beneficiaries of the program.

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By Ebony Majeed

While serving as the secretary in the International Office at Hampton University (my alma mater) in 2011, I learned of NAFSA. Everything I laid my eyes on regarding this organization painted a picture for me: a utopian, international society of educators willing to travel, spend long hours in meetings and conferences, and learn from each other all for the same purpose – to better our international communities, to increase diversity and its understanding, and to strengthen our educational foundations. I knew I needed NAFSA in my life.

Now, almost 4 years later and serving as the director of the same international office, NAFSA is a part of my life.

My first NAFSA conference was May 2014 in San Diego, California. Not only was it my first time in California, but it was also my first time surrounded by thousands (and I do mean thousands) of international educators and decisionmakers with the same goals as myself. I was, and still am, amazed at the experience.

The breakout sessions, first-timers orientations, conference scholarship opportunities (I am a NAFSA Diversity Impact Program recipient), speakers with expertise in specific fields, and so much more, all were put together with a precise rationale. That conference, no doubt, was a social manifestation of our intellectual selves as NAFSAns.

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NAFSA creates multiple opportunities for international educators that provide long-lasting benefits and career growth. Some of our latest NAFSA members already know that firsthand.

One of NAFSA’s newest initiatives, the NAFSA Diversity Impact Program, rewards those working with underserved student populations on a variety of campuses.

At the 2014 Annual Conference & Expo in San Diego, 27 honorees, all working at tribal colleges; historically black colleges and universities; Hispanic-serving institutions; and community colleges and associates colleges, attended workshops, sessions, and luncheons on a variety of international education topics.

After the conference ended, many NAFSA Diversity Impact Program participants found themselves and their work transformed by their experience.

“My attendance at NAFSA has added legitimacy to the development of an Office of Global Studies,” said Cynthia D. Rapp Sandhu, global studies coordinator at San Juan College, on how her attendance in San Diego benefitted her school.

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Fanta Aw, NAFSA president and chair, recognized representatives from Simon Fraser (British Columbia, Canada) and Zheijang (Hangzhou, China) universities for their winning entry in NAFSA’s 2014 Celebrating International Education Video Contest last Wednesday morning at the Annual Business Meeting in San Diego. Katya Kirsh was on hand to accept an award, and representatives from the runners up, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (Washington, D.C.) and RMIT (Melbourne, Australia), also attended. Congratulations to Simon Fraser and Zhejiang for winning the 2014 Celebrating International Education Video Contest and to all of the institutions for their participation.

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Dream Big

Kakenya Ntaiya did not learn that female genital mutilation was illegal in her home country of Kenya until she came to the United States as an international student. She did not know that women were allowed to own property or that girls were entitled to an education until she read it in a book while completing a research project at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia.

“Through that, I learned about my country and home more than I could ever have imagined,” said Ntaiya at the Thursday plenary address in San Diego.

Ntaiya, a 2013 CNN Hero, is the founder of the Kakenya Center of Excellence in her hometown of Enoosean, Kenya. The school offers young girls in her community the opportunity receive an education and escape the future that awaited her: female circumcision and early marriage. “I started losing my friends to marriage in the fourth grade,” said Ntaiya.

Although she was subjected to genital mutilation once she reached puberty, she convinced her father to delay her arranged marriage to let her finish her education, and eventually, Ntaiya was able to travel to the United States to attend college.

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International educators are united by a passion for bringing people closer and turning the foreign into the familiar. Many of them also connect through their awkward moments and misunderstandings in international exchange that later turn into humorous stories. As the opening plenary speaker for the NAFSA 2014 Annual Conference and Expo, award-winning actress Anna Deavere Smith read excerpts from interviews with international educators, telling tales of surprise weddings in Thailand and confusing bathrooms in Korea. These lighter experiences make it easy to examine differences and find commonalities across cultures, but Deavere Smith later presented some darker themes to show that unity and humanity can be found in unlikely places.

For her one-woman show Let Me Down Easy, Deavere Smith conducted more than 300 interviews on three continents, including conversations with Rwandans recovering and rebuilding from the genocide. She also mentioned the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. Both countries established formal systems to bring atrocities to light, allowing those who had been wronged the opportunity to forgive the perpetrators and those who had committed crimes the chance to apologize. In order to rebuild their societies, these countries needed to develop a way for the people to move on and work together.

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Bradley MoonBy Bradley Moon

While my blog posts leading up to the annual conference have included many San Diego lists of “must dos, sees, and eats,” today’s post provides a smorgasbord of reminders to help get the most out of NAFSA’s 2014 Annual Conference and your visit to San Diego!

Kick Off Your Conference at the Opening Celebration!
Tuesday, May 27, 5:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

Enjoy the ocean breeze and a magnificent sunset on the San Diego Bay! As a part of your registration fee, the Opening Celebration will include food stations and one drink ticket per person (beer, wine, and soft drinks). A cash bar will also be available. Guest tickets are available online or at registration. The celebration will feature live music by musician, humanitarian, and children’s book author Michael Franti, who is recognized as a pioneering force in using music as a vehicle for positive change. Also known for his unforgettable, high-energy shows, Franti achieved multiplatinum success with his song “Say Hey (I Love You)” and the chart-breaking 2010 release of “The Sound of Sunshine.” Franti and his band guarantee a thought-provoking show that promises to be a fun dance party… so bring your dancing shoes!

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By Bradley Moon

Any visit to San Diego would certainly not be complete without exploring Balboa Park. At 1,200 acres, this vast, lush oasis is the middle of San Diego is the largest urban cultural park in the United States, home to the world famous San Diego Zoo, beautiful botanical gardens and a number of impressive museums. Many of the museums are found in Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings that line the park’s impressive El Prado walkway. The following are some highlights to see when visiting Balboa Park:

San Diego Botanical BuildingBotanical Building
The view of the Botanical Building with the Lily Pond is one of the most photographed scenes in San Diego. Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, along with the adjacent Lily Pond, the historic building is one of the largest lath structures in the world. The Botanical Building plantings include more than 2,100 permanent plants, featuring fascinating collections of cycads, ferns, orchids, other tropical plants, and palms. The Botanical Building also presents some of the Park’s vibrant seasonal flower displays. Free to the public Friday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Closed on Thursdays and Holidays).

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By Carin Usrey

While I officially work as a university career counselor, I frequently find myself taking on the role of a marketing specialist, continually revamping outreach efforts to increase student awareness of our office’s services and drive up attendance at our campus programs and events. Regardless of how valuable, practical, and arguably necessary our office’s services might be, it is a constant struggle to convince students of our ongoing relevance and even more of a challenge to embed ourselves into the culture of a student’s college experience.

As a passionate advocate of education abroad and an avid supporter of integrating global experiences into college life, I know that global education professionals are faced with similar challenges. Offering what most universities currently value as an elective service, there is an additional barrier of persuading students to see the added value of an optional study abroad experience, not to mention the extra work of validating its financial and academic feasibility.

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