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Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

By Kelly Zuniga

A city frequently seen on the big screen, Los Angeles is always represented but often misunderstood. This city by the sea is an eclectic mix of geography, food, people, and scenes. If you can get past the initial shock of traffic and the smog-filled horizon – which makes for beautiful sunsets by the way – then you may never want to leave. As a native Angeleno, I am excited to introduce you to my beautiful and dynamic city.

Over the next few months, I look forward to helping you prepare for the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference & Expo in Los Angeles, California. My hope is for your stay to be enjoyable, but ultimately, my goal is to convert you into an L.A. enthusiast. I will start by introducing you to the conference venue, and as the weeks go by, I will offer tips for how to take full advantage of this marvelous city.

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By Lars Heikensten

Dr. Shirin Ebadi was the first female Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from the Islamic world.

The lawyer Shirin Ebadi was Iran’s first female judge. After Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in 1979 she was dismissed. Ebadi opened a legal practice and began defending people who were being persecuted by the authorities. In the year 2000, she was imprisoned herself for having criticized her country’s hierocracy (rule of government by priests or ecclesiastics).

Shirin Ebadi took up the struggle for fundamental human rights and especially the rights of women and children. She took part in the establishment of organizations that placed these issues on the agenda, and wrote books proposing amendments to Iran’s succession and divorce laws. She also wanted to withdraw political power from the clergy and advocated for the separation of religion and state.

In its choice of Ebadi, the Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize expressed a wish to reduce the tensions between the Islamic and the Western world following the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. At the same time, the Committee wished to extend a helping hand to the Iranian reform movement. Shirin Ebadi underlines herself that she sees no contradiction between Islam and fundamental human rights.

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Edited by Ellen H. Badger

This month’s Advice From The Field column is authored by Sheena Maria Connell, a NAFSA volunteer leader and assistant director of international student and scholar services at the University of the Incarnate Word. Sheena shares strategies for making the best possible first impression.

Q: I’m a pro at my program elevator pitch, but I struggle with my personal elevator pitch. How can I cultivate and practice my personal pitch to be as effective as my program pitch?

A: Sheena Connell

Struggling with a personal elevator pitch stems from lacking confidence in your “product” or not knowing your “product” well enough. To perfect your personal pitch, do your research…on you.

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By Rose Mary Valencia

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.

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By Diana Carlin

As I write this, the New Year is only a couple of days old and the hope for a 2017 that is filled with less violence, war, and human suffering than in 2016 is strong. As a NAFSAN who has spent time in countries torn apart by war or with a long history of oppression, I share the belief of many other NAFSA members that our work makes a difference in finding a path to a more peaceful and just world.

For the fourth year, the NAFSA annual conference will include a Seminar on Peace and Global Civil Society. Originally named after former NAFSA president Ron Moffatt, a strong supporter of international education as one path to peace and social justice, this year’s seminar will explore how to incorporate film and other forms of storytelling into the curriculum. Since NAFSA plenary speakers complement conference themes and programs, the selection of Abigail Disney as our closing plenary speaker is an excellent choice. Disney and her production company, Fork Films, have supported more than 50 films that stress themes representative of NAFSA’s values of peace building, human rights, and social justice.

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#GivingTuesday is over, but our efforts on behalf of the NAFSA Diversity Impact Program continue. You may not have been able to give that week, but you still can support the program. The time is now. A timely year-end donation will allow more participants access and opportunities through the NAFSA Diversity Impact Program.

The NAFSA Diversity Impact Program supports professionals from tribal colleges and universities; historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs); and community colleges and associates colleges by helping them expand capacity, grow study abroad, and increase student global competencies.

NAFSAns have played critical roles in the program through either donations or mentoring. You have helped 83 participants since 2014, and we plan to continue the program in 2017. Graduates of the program better serve their students and communities, and are on a pathway to future leadership roles.

Donate now. If you gave earlier and want to add support for the Diversity Impact Program, we appreciate your additional contribution. I urge you to bring 2016 to a close with a tax-deductible gift to the Diversity Impact Program. (more…)

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By Fanta Aw

#GivingTuesday is today. I urge you to join me in supporting NAFSA’s Diversity Impact Program with your donation. You have often heard me talk about the importance of inclusion and diversity in our field. I remain deeply committed to insuring we continue to engage a deep and strong membership as leaders in the field of international education.

The NAFSA Diversity Impact Program continues our tradition of being an inclusive association. It increases access to our field and profession by underrepresented institutions, and is invaluable in developing outstanding international education programs and leaders.

On this international day of giving, we can all advance our field by contributing in support of diversity and inclusion. Join me by donating now.

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By Melissa Vivian

Earlier this year at the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo in Denver, I had the opportunity to speak with my NAFSA colleagues about Gallup Education’s Clifton StrengthsFinder, an assessment tool designed to help individuals and organizations identify what it is that they do best and how to boost that greatness in others.

This year’s conference marked the second time I’ve had the pleasure of speaking about StrengthsFinder assessments. In 2015, our StrengthsFinder “primer” covered the theory behind the practice of taking a strengths focus in your career. For 2016, we moved the conversation further to the practical application of strengths for professional team development.

NAFSA 2016 attendees took an hour out of their week to participate in an engaging experiential ice breaker that allowed them to physically see where they “stand” on certain strengths compared to their colleagues. Then we moved into a paper tower-building challenge that put strengths into action and provided an opportunity for powerful reflection. Some towers were tall, some were large, and others beautifully designed, but the real winners of the challenge were those participants who walked away with greater awareness of their strengths and how to identify them in their teammates. (more…)

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By Mandy Reinig

The job search process can be long and tedious. What many job seekers don’t realize is that it can also be an embarrassing and a humbling process, especially if they do not clean up their social media channels prior to their job search.

Currently, 43 percent of employers are using social media sites to make hiring decisions, and 51 percent of those who use social media sites found something that caused them to not hire someone. This included provocative photos; posts bad-mouthing their previous or current employer; and information or pictures about the candidates’ alcohol consumption and drug use. While it would seem like common sense not to post these items, you would be surprised how many people, and not just young people, post these items frequently without understanding the long-reaching consequences.

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By Meredith McQuaid

The 2016 presidential election is upon us as I write this. It has been a time of division and rancor in the country; strong words have been uttered and published – the pain from which will take a long time and great effort to heal. But these sentiments are not new, nor are the possible consequences insurmountable. We have stories from men and women of today, and from decades past to remind us that we have been here before – and that we still have a great deal of work to do.

The stories we share can help us learn from each other. Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns tells of one the greatest internal migrations in the history of the United States, when some six million individuals of color, over a fifty year period, made their way from the South to places they believed would provide better opportunities. Wilkerson focused on the trajectories of three individuals, in three different decades, to bring that history to light. These are unforgettable stories we would be wise to keep fresh in our minds.

I have always been proud to be a “Northerner,” and what that represented in the assumed story we told ourselves about how much wiser and more humane we were than those who lived in and ruled the South. I was more than humbled by Wilkerson’s book – I was ashamed. The conditions in the North and the Midwest were different for black Americans than in the South, but they presented their own challenges, and they were far less transparent. Wilkerson’s book reminded me that we ought not to judge, lest we be judged; that it is our duty to explore those parts of history that have been denied.

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