Did you know that the host city for the the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference & Expo, Los Angeles, was rated the number one U.S. city in Lonely Planet’s Best Travel in 2017? It’s true! Read all about this vibrant, sunny, and diverse locale.
This wonderful conference city isn’t the only thing to look forward to at this year’s conference. The 2017 Annual Conference Committee (ACC) has planned an incredible educational program, and the NAFSA 2017 Expo Hall will be bustling with more than 300 exhibitors from around the world.
I am excited and truly thrilled to serve as chair of the 2017 ACC. Over the past months, this year’s ACC Content Chair Kara Johnson and I have had the pleasure and honor of working with an outstanding ACC team to develop a rich and diverse range of educational opportunities for the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference & Expo.
The ACC read nearly 600 session and workshop proposals and worked with more than 475 peer reviewers to select the best proposals from the field. More than 460 poster proposals were reviewed and extremely knowledgeable guest speakers have been invited to present at the conference. I am so excited about the outstanding program created for all of our attendees to enjoy.
The theme for the 2017 Annual Conference, Expanding Community, Strengthening Connections, clearly resonates in these times of change and division in our public discourse. It is critical for us to come together as an international education community to reflect on how expanding our community and strengthening connections leads to a better world now and for future generations of students and scholars. The NAFSA Annual Conference provides the best forum to do just that. The conference reminds us that there is more that binds us as members of the global community than there is that divides us.
In this context, sessions, workshops, and poster fairs will explore critical current topics including:
- Diversity and community, appreciating varied approaches and exploring campus inclusiveness;
- Cultural and academic integration;
- Global trends and how they affect mobility; and
- Strategies for partnerships.
Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate our shared commitment and passion for the field. The NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference & Expo is the most welcoming, collegial, and important professional event on our calendars every year. Throughout the week, you will be surrounded by colleagues who share your commitment to international education. I hope you will take the opportunity to venture into the crowd so that you can expand your community and strengthen your connections.
I look forward to meeting you in Los Angeles and welcoming you to the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference!
Rose Mary Valencia is executive director of the Visa and Immigration Services Administration Office for The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and executive director of the Office of International Affairs for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Valencia has been an active member of NAFSA since 1980 and has held several leadership roles, including Texas state representative; regional chair; local arrangements chair for Region III; chair of the Membership Committee; vice president for member relations; and as a member-at-large on the NAFSA Board of Directors.