The 2019 NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo gathered 10,000 international educators this May in Washington D.C., USA. The event was convened under the theme, “Global Leadership, Learning, and Change,” and it encouraged reflection on the current state of the field and on how to work through the changes and challenges faced by our profession. AFS showcased the Global Competence Certificate program that facilitates students’ learning during international experiences, and the AFS Global Conference, the annual gathering of leaders in transforming education to meet the 21st century needs. A special highlight of the event was the NAFSA and AFS-USA Secondary School Assembly, which uncovered numerous initiatives underway to internationalize schools and curricula.

AFS team at NAFSA

Attendees from more than 3,500 institutions and organizations from over 100 countries also had the opportunity to learn more about AFS’s Global Competence Certificate program through a joint poster presentation by AFS’s Educational Products Coordinator Molly Stern and Justin Harford of MIUSA (Mobility International). The two presenters demonstrated the process for creating inclusive and accessible technology for all learners. Attendees experienced first-hand how visually impaired learners interact with web-based content, which is a best practice example created in synergy between the Global Competence Certificate and MIUSA’s expertise. A more extensive demo of the Global Competence Certificate program was also available in partnership with Terra Dotta.

Booth #310 was a gathering of AFS alumni and others interested in the current AFS activities and programs. A highlight for many visitors was the opportunity to learn about the 2019 AFS Global Conference which will take place from 9 to 11 October in Montreal, to explore the theme of “Active Global Citizenship–and How to Educate for It.” Conversations started at NAFSA will continue at the AFS Global Conference where more than 600 leaders in education, non-profits, businesses, media and faith are expected to make concrete steps in ensuring that global competence education is a right for all, rather than a privilege of a few.

Vishakha Desai, AFS Board Chair, presenting at NAFSA
At the 2019 NAFSA Conference in Washington, DC (USA) AFS Board of Trustee Chair Vishakha Desai discussed the role of the university in a global world during her speech on Rethinking and Reclaiming the Global in Higher Education. Speaking at the gathering of higher education professionals, Desai emphasized that universities must help the world rethink the impact of “globalization” beyond global economies. Desai also charged the university community to help the world embrace how globalization connects, not replace local and national societies in meaningful and beneficial ways. Meet Dr. Vishakha N. Desai, Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President, and Vice Chair of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University (USA) at the AFS Global Conference in Montreal (9-11 October). Desai will publish an essay on this topic in a future issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

AFS-USA volunteers and staff to connected with both secondary and higher education educators about our study abroad an education programs. AFS-USA co-sponsored the NAFSA and AFS-USA Secondary School Assembly during which educators shared numerous initiatives underway across the country to international their schools and curriculum.

Finally, AFS was proud to learn that Purdue University’s CILMAR (Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research), which is one of our major partners, won a Go Abroad Award for Innovation for a database called HubICL. The Intercultural Learning Hub (HubICL) offers international educators the world over the opportunity to connect through forums, to share their research, and to contribute to a storehouse–the HubICL Toolbox–of intercultural learning tools available to any member. AFS’s Global Competence Certificate is also listed as a tool for intercultural learning on HubICL.

This exciting international education event served the diverse needs of the entire international education community and reinforced the commitment to the core values of international education—providing a welcoming and supportive environment for the success of generations of students and scholars. Find out more about upcoming conferences and events where you can learn more about AFS’s position and latest programs serving the global community of students and educators committed to global understanding.