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Archive for the ‘NAFSA Leaders’ Category

Summer is one of the best times to visit our nation’s capital. Travelers from all over the world come to enjoy the city’s monumental history, world-class museums, and diverse dining options, many of which can be enjoyed al fresco on a warm summer night.

Whether you’re coming to town for NAFSA’s Management Development Program or the Strategic Retreat for Education Abroad Leaders this summer, it’s important to enjoy all of the culture D.C. has to offer. Here are some “insider tips” on how to experience the city, whether you are using our convenient bike share program, the extensive metro and bus system, or just going on foot!

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By Mandy Reinig

During the course of my time interviewing senior international officers (SIOs), senior education abroad professions, and various recipients of the Education Abroad Knowledge Community Lily von Klemperer (LvK) award, one of the common themes that has emerged is the change in technology they have seen, even in the last 5 or 10 years. These changes have had several interesting ramifications on the field as a whole, as well as these individuals.

One of the most significant has simply been the explosion of the various forms of technology. For many SIOs and LvK awardees, they can still remember a time when Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms did not exist. They have had to learn to adapt to a crazy new world that relies on these technologies to communicate. Many have been excited about these advances, while others have been reluctant to keep up with the ever-changing demands of these new technologies. This required that they hire younger, more technology-adept professionals in their offices to take on these responsibilities.

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Ivor EmmanuelBy Ivor Emmanuel

As the chair of the NAFSA Awards Subcommittee these last two years, I have had the privilege of reading nomination statements for a number of noteworthy colleagues. These statements are truly inspiring, and they give us the opportunity to get to know these distinguished individuals through a different lens. These award recommendations also serve as a reminder of the value of our work to the people we serve and the profession at large. There is no better way to write this blog than to share some of the comments included in these nomination statements.

Writing in support of Sara Thurston-González, the 2015 recipient of the Homer Higbee Award, a nominator notes that “Sara’s passion for the field of international education is expressed in her daily life and her commitment to excellence in all she does.” He continues his praise, writing “her commitment and dedication to NAFSA has brought to our campus skills, leadership development, and collaborative solutions gleaned from this professional organization.” The nominator adds, “Thurston-González served on the campuswide Vision 2025 committee, an 18-month planning process involving hundreds of K-Staters, where she campaigned tirelessly (and successfully) to advocate that the needs and desires of our over 2,200 international students and scholars, be incorporated into the strategic direction for Kansas State University.” These comments offer a glimpse into the kind of distinguished service that Thurston-González and other award recipients have dedicated to the field.

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By María José Angel Mex

As an early Christmas present last year, I was appointed by NAFSA as a consular affairs liaison to the Italian consulate in Houston, Texas. At the time, I had an idea of what my responsibilities would be, but I knew I still had a lot to learn. This proved to be true earlier this year when I attended NAFSA’s consular affairs liaison (CAL) training in Washington D.C, along with the 40 other members of the  CAL Subcommittee.

You might be wondering what exactly CALs do. To put it briefly, we try to help. CALs belong to country groups (France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the “World-at-Large”;) and represent the education abroad (EA) community to one of the consulates of those countries in the United States. We gather as much information as possible from our consulate and share it with the EA community, primarily through the Visas for Education Abroad section of http://www.nafsa.org.

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By Leah Newell

My name is Leah Newell. 2015 begins the second year of my serving as chair of the NAFSA Membership Committee.

Wait! Don’t leave! I know you are busy and probably have NO interest in the exciting topic of “The Role of the Membership Committee.” However, give me 5 minutes of your time and I promise you will gain some valuable information. Remember, if you know more, you can do more! So here we go.

Who we are
NAFSA’s Membership Committee is a group of NAFSA professional international educator members from a wide range of regions, focus areas, experience levels, and backgrounds. All of which help us do what we do.

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By Ivor Emmanuel

Through my many connections with NAFSA colleagues spanning over 30 years, I have come to appreciate the deep sense of meaning and commitment that so many international education professionals have brought to our profession. Through countless hours they have given of themselves, not only on their campus, but also to the association and our field at large.

They have attended committee meetings, organized workshops, delivered presentations, held leadership posts, mentored colleagues, engaged in advocacy and the list goes on. I personally have benefited from some of our finest leaders through all that I have learned from them. They have shaped our association and the nature of our work. A few have already been honored for their contributions. Many still toil quietly in the background. Their recognition will come one day…or perhaps now it is time!

Do you know someone whom you admire in a similar way? Someone you may recognize as having shaped our profession at the local and national level. Perhaps they are a trusted mentor or a long-time colleague about to retire. Are there outstanding young professionals who are in the early trajectory of their careers and you see a bright future for them in the field of international education?

Take this opportunity to nominate them today for a NAFSA national award!

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fanta awBy Fanta Aw

As I complete my first term as President and Chair of the Board of Directors, I wish to express my deep gratitude to all for your commitment to the association and the important work of international education. It has been an honor serving the association and together, through NAFSA, we have achieved a great deal over the past 2 years.

In 2014, NAFSA launched many new and important programs and increased efforts to complete long-range goals. Those include the “100,000 Strong in the Americas” initiative to expand educational exchange in the western hemisphere, continually advocating for commonsense immigration reform, and providing even more tools and programs aimed at growing campus internationalization.

As an association, NAFSA has a social responsibility to ensure that our programs and services and our campuses reflect an equitable, just, and inclusive agenda, and that underrepresented institutions and groups are included in all facets of our work if we are to achieve meaningful internationalization. In addition, we need to engage with parts of the world that have been significantly absent – Africa and South America – to ensure that marginalized voices are represented and reflected in our work.

We are making progress and need to stay the course.

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By Elaine Meyer-Lee

I am delighted that NAFSA will feature Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman as the Closing Plenary speaker at the 2015 Annual Conference and Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, this May. Like many of us, I was inspired in 2011 when I first learned of Karman’s role in Yemen’s revolution and her longer history in nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peacebuilding work.

In 2012, I became more personally connected to the struggle for human rights in the Middle East and North Africa. That year, Saint Mary’s College began hosting an annual U.S. State Department-funded Global Women’s Leadership Institute that included young women leaders from Arab countries in transition like Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, and Jordan.

These spirited and determined women taught my students, my colleagues, and me much about their frustrations, hopes, and plans, as we in-turn have also shared women’s progress and challenges in the U.S. with them. As part of the Institute, the participants create action plans to implement when they return home. For example, the Tunisian delegation in 2013 established a successful women’s mentoring program to counter the threat to women’s freedoms by extremist groups. Recently, the Jordanian delegation documented the serious problem of sexual harassment on public transportation, and created a viable business plan for a network of female cab drivers as one solution.

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By Jesse Lutabingwa

I am extremely pleased that Ishmael Beah, a Sierra Leonean author and human rights activist, will be one of the plenary speakers at the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo in Boston. As a young boy, Beah survived a rebel attack during a civil war that killed his parents and two brothers. At the age of 13, he became a child soldier for the government army and fought for more than two years before being rescued by UNICEF.

The plight of children affected by these senseless wars was brought home to me in Tanzania. In 1996, I met a young Rwandan Tutsi refugee who escaped a massacre there in 1994. This boy, who at the time seemed to be between 13 and 14 years old, told a story of how he managed to survive by pretending to be dead by laying amidst bloodied dead family members and neighbors. This boy was psychologically and emotionally traumatized by what he had lived through and was experiencing nightmares at the time. As I listened to his story, I remember thinking to myself, how can this child be rehabilitated so that he can live a normal productive life without fear or the urge to take revenge. It was only later in my adult life that I came to realize that my childhood experience was different than that of many other children, like Beah, in other parts of the world.

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By Kavita Pandit

Recently, NAFSA announced that Shiza Shahid, co-founder and ambassador of the Malala Fund as a plenary speaker at the 2015 NAFSA Annual Conference in Boston. Ms. Shahid has been an outspoken advocate for the empowerment of girls through increased access to education ever since she was a young woman growing up in Pakistan.

The importance of the cause that Ms. Shahid is championing may seem self-evident to most of us living in the West. The realities of the lives of young girls in rural and impoverished regions of the world can be quite abstract – even to those like me who was born and raised in India but in an upper middle class, urban household. It was only because of an experience that I had many decades ago when I was in my early 20s that I realized, in an emotionally charged way, what the lives of many girls in these settings can be like.

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