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Archive for the ‘NAFSA’ Category

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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By Bradley Moon

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.

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By Bradley Moon

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!

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