NAFSA CEO Marlene Johnson to Retire After 18 Years of Dedicated Service to the Field of International Education


Statement from NAFSA Board of Directors


Rebecca Morgan, 202.737.3699 x4449,

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2016 –The following statement was issued by the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Board of Directors:

“The NAFSA Board of Directors announces today that Marlene M. Johnson, Executive Director and CEO, has decided to retire at the end of December 2016. The Board, NAFSA members, and the larger field of international education owe Ms. Johnson a deep debt of gratitude for her outstanding leadership over the past 18 years. During her tenure, the association’s membership grew from approximately 4,000 members to more than 10,000, as did the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo, the premier meeting of international educators from around the world.

“Ms. Johnson developed a public policy strategy that has made NAFSA an indispensable voice for creating a more welcoming and globally engaged United States, working effectively with the U.S. government, non-governmental organizations, the higher education community, and the public and private sectors to make the case for enlightened foreign policy, immigration reform, and support for the accessibility of education abroad for all students. Under her leadership, NAFSA has become the definitive voice for all aspects of international higher education including internationalization, academic partnerships, global learning, international student services, enrollment management, international education leadership, English language programming, and education abroad. Her vision and management of our complex organization strengthened its programmatic and financial foundations and helped secure a bright future for NAFSA and the field.

“In light of Ms. Johnson’s departure, the Board has appointed a search committee and engaged a firm to assist in the identification of strong candidates for the position. More information about the search for successor will be provided over the next several months. Special celebrations in honor of Ms. Johnson will be held at the 2016 Annual Conference and Expo in Denver, Colorado.”