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.
Archive for the ‘NAFSA’ Category
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.
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.
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!
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:
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).
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.
Greetings, international educators, from sunny San Diego! The NAFSA 2014 Annual Conference is less than two months away! If you have not already registered, don’t forget that early-bird registration for the conference ends April 18.
This year’s conference includes a very special session designed to provide conference goers with unique insights into the cross-border and cross-cultural issues and initiatives facing San Diego and Southern California. Inspired by the spirit of the innovative educational format of TED Talks, this session, I-Engage Talks, will be offered on Wednesday, May 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Organized by Local Arrangements Team (LAT) Co-Chairs Jane Kalionzes, San Diego State University, and Susan Atkins, CAPA International, and LAT member Malou Amparo, University of California-San Diego, this locally focused session will provide a series of short, crisp, provocative, entertaining presentations highlighting stories from a variety of local organizations, nonprofits, and community leaders.
The not-to-be-missed I-Engage Talks session will offer a fascinating and entertaining local San Diego perspective from a diversity of topics and community agents of change.
Attention NAFSA foodies! San Diego has no shortage of Food Network Star, Top Chef and local Mom and Pop eateries prepared to satisfy the pallets of food aficionados from around the world. There is an exciting food culture in San Diego that goes well beyond the obligatory coastal question, “Where is the best seafood restaurant?”
World travelling international educators know the best culinary finds are discovered when you “ask a local.” This blog post is devoted to sharing the favorite culinary haunts of some members of the Local Arrangements Team. The following are a few of our “must eat” restaurant recommendations. And, for those of you interested in finding the perfect happy hour, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post exploring the best in San Diego libations.
The Prado at Balboa Park recommended by Sue Atkins (Local Arrangement Team co-chair)
At The Prado, smack dab in the heart of world famous Balboa Park, the argument is which is better… the view or the food? A truly unique spot for lunch, happy hour or dinner, The Prado knocks it “out of the park” with delicious food and the best atmosphere you could ask for. This is also provides a great excuse for exploring the beautiful museums and gardens of Balboa Park. Try the Kobe Beef Sushi Roll and the calamari!
The International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) in January hosted a historic global dialogue on the challenges related to internationalization of higher education and the responsibility of international education associations in advancing balanced, equitable, just, and mutually beneficial internationalization practices.
The forum was held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, a location of great symbolic significance, and brought together 24 international education organizations from across the world, including representatives from North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, and South America. NAFSA was among the associations present. The dialogue was the most inclusive yet; still, major voices such as India, China, and others, for various reasons, were not present.
Dr. Lavern Samuels, president of IEASA, best captured the critical challenges we face as international educators with his opening statement:
Discovering the city of San Diego requires getting to know its vast array of distinct and colorful neighborhoods. From the charm of Coronado Island to the hipster enclave of North Park, exploring San Diego can be a fun adventure. San Diegans love – and are proud of – their neighborhoods, each with its own personality and joie de vivre.
In introducing NAFSANs to San Diego, I would be remiss not to begin by highlighting the first thing visitors think of when landing in sunny California… so grab your flip flops, sun tan lotion, board shorts and bikinis… let’s hit the beach!
1. Coronado Island
Spanish for the “the crowned one,” it is easy to see how Coronado lives up to this description. Voted in 2012 as the #1 beach in the United States, Coronado Island offers gorgeous white sands and gentle surf, in a charming community just minutes away from downtown San Diego. Of course, not to be missed is the historic Hotel del Coronado, which opened in 1888. A Queen Anne masterpiece, the “Hotel del” has a fascinating and colorful history of visitors, including royalty, politicians, celebrities, and a few ghosts. If you have never seen this architectural masterpiece, it is definitely worth a trip to Coronado!