Thursday Postcard from the NAFSA 2008 Annual Conference

May 30, 2008

By Gordon Withers

The morning started off with a dialogue with advisers to U.S. presidential candidates on the topic of U.S. Global Leadership and Engagement. The forum was moderated by Dr. Moisés Naím, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, and included panelists Denis McDonough of Obama for America, Mara Rudman of Hillary Clinton for President, and Richard Fontaine of John McCain for President.

Thursday’s plenary featured Ishmael Beah, former child soldier, who signed copies of his book, A Long Way Gone, which tells how he was recruited at age 13 to fight as a child soldier in Sierra Leone.

Recognition of four of NAFSA’s founding leaders took place prior to the plenary, as did several award ceremonies.

The Marita Houlihan Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of International Education was awarded to Ellen E. Mashiko.

The Homer Higbee Award for Distinguished Service to NAFSA was awarded to Peter Briggs.

The 2008 Senator Paul Simon Awards for Campus Internationalization were awarded to Goucher College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Pittsburg State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Valparaiso University. Three schools—Colorado State University, Miami Dade College, and Webster University—also received recognition as “spotlighted” schools in 2008.

Life Membership Awards were given to Dixon Johnson, David Larsen, and Jerry Wilcox.

Advisers to presidential candidates at NAFSA 2008 Conference

Advisors for each of the three presidential candidates provided a lively discussion at NAFSA’s 60th Annual conference. Moderator, Dr. Moises Naim, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy and and presidential advisors Denis McDonough (Barack Obama), Mara Rudman (Hillary Clinton), and Richard Fontaine (John McCain).

Ishmael Beah plenary at NAFSA 2008 Conference

At the 60th NAFSA Conference, Ishmael Beah, himself a boy soldier in Sierra Leone, spoke on the plight of children affected by war around the world and the importance of international education and exchange on global understanding a peace (above).

Ishmael Beah at NAFSA 2008 Conference

Students from Washington DC area schools, McLean High School, the School Without Walls, and Woodrow Wilson High School, joined students from North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Georgia to welcome Ishmael Beah to NAFSA’s 60th Annual Conference (above).

NAFSA Founder Mary Thompson at 2008 Conference

NAFSA’s 60th Conference welcomed Mary Thompson who was a NAFSA founder and president from 1972-73 (above).

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