College and University Presidents Gather to Discuss the Importance of International Education

November 15, 2012

By Michael Feighner

International Education Week (IEW) got off to a great start this week, and one of NAFSA’s featured events was the Simon Award Presidential Panel and Awards Reception. Each year, NAFSA presents the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization to institutions making significant and innovative progress in comprehensive internationalization and expanding global education experiences students need in order to compete for jobs in today's global economy.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the award, and Martin Simon, son of the late Senator, attended the event and spoke of his father’s passion for international education. Simon closed his remarks by calling for continued support for international education and echoing his father’s words, “a nation cannot drift into greatness. We must dream and we must be willing to make small sacrifices to achieve those dreams.”

Sanford Ungar, president of Goucher College, moderated the panel of presidents from several of the institutions that received the Simon Award this year. Joining him were MaryAnn Baenninger, president of the College of Saint Benedict; Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan; John Haeger, president of Northern Arizona University; Tori Haring-Smith, president of Washington and Jefferson College; and Thomas R. Kepple, Jr., president of Juniata College.

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Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan

The panelists all spoke about why their institutions received the Simon Award, and discussed current topics in comprehensive internationalization, such as increasing student body diversity, providing international experiences to all students, and building enthusiasm for international education at the campus, state, and national level. Key themes included the impact of international education on global security, revitalizing language instruction, and expanding opportunities and destinations for U.S. students studying abroad. Haring-Smith called for future generations to incorporate international educational exchange to the point “where study abroad just becomes ‘study.’”

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Thomas R. Kepple, Jr., president of Juniata College

Following the panel, representatives from the eight schools received the Simon Award at a reception that included remarks from Ann Stock, assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and Maureen McLaughlin, senior adviser to the secretary and director of international affairs at the U.S. Department of Education.

To coincide with the event, NAFSA released the latest edition of Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities. This report provides detailed profiles of the eight institutions that received the Simon Award this year and allows other institutions to assess the state of internationalization efforts on their campuses.

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Colleges and universities around the world celebrated IEW in big ways. Visit NAFSA’s Facebook event page to see how others recognized the week and share your own photos, videos, and events.


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