Guest Speakers

Annual Conference & ExpoNAFSA 2018 Call for Proposals

Special Guest Speakers at NAFSA 2017

Throughout the week, special guest speakers will discuss important trends and issues within and beyond the field of international education.

Harry HardingHarry Harding, PhD

Tuesday, May 30, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

What Went Wrong: U.S.-China Relations from Partnership to Rivalry
Since the mid-1990s, China and the U.S. have tried to build a cooperative relationship, challenging predictions that an established power and a rising power would be doomed to conflict. But their relationship seems to be increasingly competitive. Why did those efforts fail, and can the emerging rivalry between the two countries be reversed?

Harry Harding holds a dual appointment as visiting professor of social science and senior advisor to the Institute for Public Policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and as university professor and professor of public policy at the University of Virginia. In addition to several edited volumes, his major publications include Organizing China: The Problem of Bureaucracy, 1949-1966; China’s Second Revolution: Reform after Mao; A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China since 1972; and the chapter on the cultural revolution in The Cambridge History of China. His government services include membership on the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Science and Technology and the U.S. Defense Policy Board. A graduate of Princeton in public and international affairs, he holds a PhD in political science from Stanford University.

Ralph HexterRalph Hexter, PhD

Tuesday, May 30, 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Decentering the Center: "Foreign Language" and Inclusivity
Pondering homologies with “foreign language” experiences and acquisition can help us think more clearly about the project of creating inclusive campuses. It can illuminate some of the inclusion project’s major challenges and thereby point us toward more effective ways to attain our goal.

Ralph J. Hexter was appointed Acting Chancellor on April 27, 2016, and became Interim Chancellor on September 15, 2016. As the top institutional leader and primary public representative of UC Davis, he oversees all aspects of the university’s mission of teaching, research, and public service. Hexter came to UC Davis in 2011, as the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, the university’s chief academic and budget officer, and primary liaison to the Academic Senate. Hexter also holds an academic appointment as distinguished professor of classics and comparative literature at UC Davis. In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Alexander ChoAlexander Cho, PhD

Wednesday, May 31, 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

Staying Afloat: Queer Students of Color on Social Media
College can be a bewildering time. For LGBTQ students of color, they have the additional element of navigating a social and structural terrain that may or may not be friendly. Many students use social media as a way to cope, but they also express fears and hesitations about using certain platforms. This talk, based on research with queer college students of color, will offer insight into the tools and tactics students use to stay afloat.

Alexander Cho, PhD, is a postdoctoral scholar with the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California Humanities Research Institute. He is a digital media anthropologist who examines how young people use digital and social media, with particular attention to issues of race, gender and sexuality. His writing has appeared in Networked Affect (MIT Press 2015), The Digital Edge: The Evolving World of Social, Educational, and Digital Inequality (forthcoming, NYU Press 2017), Inequity in the Technopolis (University of Texas Press 2012), GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, and Flow: A Critical Forum on Television and Media Culture.

Leo ChavezLeo Chavez, PhD

Wednesday, May 31, 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Contextualizing the Anti-Immigrant Discourse in Presidential Politics
The recent U.S. presidential election cycle has focused on Mexican immigration, often in negative ways. However, the false narrative of threats posed by Mexicans and other Latinos is not new in public discourse and the media. Portraying Latinos as a threat to the nation is problematic because its hyperbolic nature obscures more balanced characterizations, making consensus on immigration reform much more difficult.

Professor Chavez received his PhD from Stanford University and is currently a professor in the department of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. In addition to scores of academic articles, he is the author of Shadowed Lives: Undocumented Immigrants in American Society (1st edition 1992; 3rd Edition, Wadsworth/Cengage Learning 2013), Covering Immigration: Popular Images and the Politics of the Nation (University of California Press 2001), and The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation (Stanford University Press, 1st edition 2008; 2nd edition 2013). Chavez received the Margaret Mead Award in 1993, the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists’ Book Award for The Latino Threat in 2009, and the Society for the Anthropology of North America’s award for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America in 2009.

Jodi EttenbergJodi Ettenberg, BCL, LLB

Wednesday, May 31, 1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m.

Standing Out in a Crowded Digital World: Telling Stories via Social Media
With so many different social media channels and an audience with a limited attention span, it is increasingly difficult to cultivate an active community online. This session will provide best practices for 2017 in a fast-paced digital world and explain how to personalize social media channels to tell engaging stories from an academic perspective.

Jodi Ettenberg is a writer, photographer, and public speaker exploring the world full-time since April 2008. Her website, Legal Nomads, tells the stories of places she visits, often through food. She is also the author of The Food Traveler’s Handbook, and recently won a Lowell Thomas Award and three North American Travel Journalist Association awards for her writing and photography. She has been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, BBC Travel, and more. Prior to founding Legal Nomads, Jodi worked as a lawyer in New York for five years.

Haroon UllahHaroon Ullah, PhD

Wednesday, May 31, 2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Words Matter: The Rise of Violent Extremists Online and Why Our Youth Stand at a Crossroads
Violent extremism is one of the leading threats of the twenty-first century, threatening world stability and prompting international-level and private sector interventions. Faced with this growing threat, explore how educators and peacebuilders can work with international organizations, technology companies and government agencies on strategies to build online community resilience and provide positive alternative narratives.

Haroon K. Ullah is a scholar, diplomat, and field researcher specializing in South Asia and the Middle East. Haroon grew up in a farming community in Washington State and was trained at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he served as a senior Belfer fellow and completed his MPA. Haroon has a PhD in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan and was a William J. Fulbright fellow, a Harvard University presidential scholar, a National Security Education Program fellow, and a Woodrow Wilson Public Service fellow. He is also the author of Vying for Allah's Vote (Georgetown University Press, 2013). His recent book, The Bargain From the Bazaar: A Family's Day of Reckoning, published in March 2014 by PublicAffairs, has received widespread praise and acclaim, including from The New York Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, The Seattle Times, NPR, and Publisher's Weekly.

Joe LurieJoe Lurie

Thursday, June 1, 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Intercultural Disconnects in a Hyper-Connected World: Challenges for International Education
Addressing the implications of the insightful African proverb, "The Stranger Sees Only What He Knows,” this discussion will explore sources of cultural misperceptions and miscommunications in a globalizing, often polarizing world. Take for example how the very same concept, word, sound, gesture, and image can dramatically differ in meaning across cultures; how this dynamic plays out in news across the globe. The cultural lens that American students take with them abroad and that international students bring with them here have immense impacts on connectivity and communication between student populations.

Author of the international award-winning book, Perception and Deception, A Mind-Opening Journey Across Cultures (, Joe Lurie is a cross-cultural communications trainer, speaker and executive director emeritus of UC Berkeley's International House. A former education abroad ("SECUSSA") national chair for NAFSA and returned Peace Corps volunteer, Joe has directed academic programs in France, Kenya and Ghana, lectured in Thailand, France, China, and South Africa. His work has been featured on NPR and in a national PBS documentary about Berkeley's International House.

Lorna Jean EdmondsLorna Jean Edmonds, PhD

Thursday, June 1, 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Does Who Control the Galaxy Control Earth: The 21st Century Leadership Imperative
As we witness the exponential investment in space development, exploration and security, collectively, we must pause to think about the governance and sustainability of Earth as control shifts to the universe. The imperative for leadership qualities and connections that only a global education can offer and the role of international educators has never been more important.

Dr. Lorna Jean Edmonds is the vice provost for global affairs and international studies and professor, College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University (OHIO). Before joining OHIO in 2013, she worked in four of Canada’s research-intensive universities, including the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, Western University and the University of Ottawa. Dr. Edmonds has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the globalization of higher education and international development in more than 60 countries in Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Africa. She has a PhD from the University of East Anglia, UK; an MHA from the University of Ottawa, CAN; and a BA from Queen’s University, CAN.

Rusty BarceloNancy “Rusty” Barceló, PhD

Thursday, June 1, 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

A Case for Diversity and Equity in an Era of Retrenchment
At a time of dramatic social and political transformation, institutions of higher education are being challenged on multiple levels to honor their missions of diversity and equity. As resistance against this critical work has grown, we are called upon to address issues ranging from immigration to increased violence and hate speech on our campuses to mandates by legislative and governing bodies related to costs and accountability. Considering the pressures on all sides, institutions are struggling to develop strategies that both build on the work of the past and explore alternative paths to diversity and equity. Dr. Rusty Barcelo, noted specialist on diversity in higher education, will examine what educators might do to leverage equity and diversity as a strategy for the continued transformation of higher education to the benefit of all.

Dr. Nancy “Rusty” Barceló served as president of Northern New Mexico College from July 2010 to December 2015, and is currently on sabbatical. Barceló is also a professor with extensive teaching experience in Northern’s College of Education. Prior to her appointment as president of Northern, Barceló served as founding vice president and vice provost for equity and diversity at the University of Minnesota. She has received many awards, including the NACCS 2012 Scholar award (National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies), the New Mexico Hispano Round Table “Walk the Talk” award, and was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Iowa. Barceló received her bachelor's degree in social work from Chico State College, her master's degree in recreational education from the University of Iowa, and her PhD in higher education administration from the University of Iowa.