NAFSA Elects New President and Seven New Members to its Board of Directors



Contact: Katie O’Connell, 202.495.2559

For Release: October 17, 2012

WASHINGTON, October 17, 2012 - Fanta Aw, PhD, of American University was elected as president and chair of NAFSA: Association of International Educations along with seven outstanding leaders in international education who will join NAFSA's Board of Directors in January 2013. NAFSA is the world's largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education with nearly 10,000 members in 150 countries. NAFSA's board guides the work of the association, while hundreds of NAFSA members volunteer to serve in leadership positions, and thousands more advocate for international education.

The newly elected president and members of the board are:

Fanta Aw, PhD American University
NAFSA President and Chair, 2013-2014
Aw is assistant vice president of campus life and director of international student and scholar services at American University in Washington, DC. With nearly 20 years of experience in the field of international education exchange and higher education, she is a frequent presenter and trainer for NAFSA, the U.S. State Department, the Institute for International Education, and other international educational organizations. Aw earned her MA in public administration and her PhD in sociology from American University. Her areas of specialization include transnational migration, international education, and intercultural communication. Aw joined NAFSA's board in 2009 and has now been elected to serve a two-year term as president and chair of the board starting in January 2013.

Sandy Soohoo-Refaei, Linfield College
NAFSA Vice President for Member Relations, 2013-2015
Soohoo-Refaei is associate director of international programs at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, where her primary responsibilities include advising international students and scholars and administering study abroad programs. As an active member of NAFSA for more than 25 years, she has served in many volunteer leadership positions and is a frequent presenter at NAFSA regional and annual conferences. Soohoo-Refaei has traveled extensively around the world and has participated in the Baden-Württemberg Seminar, Fulbright IEA program, Eduespaña, Semester at Sea, and the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication. She has been elected to serve a three-year term on the NAFSA board as vice president for member relations starting in January 2013.

Simon Adams, PhD Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2013-2015
Adams is the executive director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and is also a senior research fellow at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has previously worked with governments and civil society in South Africa, East Timor, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. He is the author of four books and numerous academic articles with a focus on international conflict. Adams studied at the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and earned his PhD at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Mell Bolen, Princeton University
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2013-2015
Bolen is director of the study abroad program at Princeton University. Over the past decade, she has served in key positions with NAFSA and the Forum on Education Abroad, as well as being active in the Association of International Education Administrators, the European Association for International Education, and the Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership, and is a noted expert on outcomes assessment in international education. She earned an MA in international education from Lesley College and is pursuing her PhD in American civilization at Brown University.

Arthur Dunning, PhD, University of Alabama
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2013-2015
Dunning is vice chancellor for international programs and outreach at the University of Alabama. He was previously vice president for public service and outreach at the University of Georgia (UGA). Prior to assuming his position at UGA in 2000, he was senior vice chancellor for human and external resources for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Additionally, he was a professor in the Institute of Higher Education on the Athens campus. Dunning earned his BA, MA, and PhD at the University of Alabama.

William R. Holmes, DBA, Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2013-2015
Holmes is dean of the faculty of business at Sheridan Institute of Technology in Ontario, Canada. Prior to joining Sheridan, Holmes served as executive director of the undergraduate program in the Faculty of Business Administration at Simon Fraser University. He has had an extensive career in business education and banking across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Holmes is a certified management accountant, a certified human resource professional, an associate fellow with the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance, and a member for the Trust Companies Institute of Canada. He earned a doctor of business administration at the University of Southern Queensland, an MBA at the University of British Columbia, and an MA and BA from the University of Waterloo.

Meredith M. McQuaid, JD, University of Minnesota
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2013-2015
McQuaid, the current president and chair of NAFSA, serves as the associate vice president and dean of international programs for the University of Minnesota. As the senior international officer, she promotes the global dimensions of teaching, research, and engagement across all colleges and campuses of the university. She has served on the University of Minnesota China Center Advisory Council and on several selection committees for prestigious international fellowships, including the Edmund Muskie Scholars Program. McQuaid earned her BA in linguistics and her JD from the University of Minnesota. She practiced immigration law in Minneapolis before returning to the university as an administrator in 1994. McQuaid joined the NAFSA Board of Directors in 2010. She was elected to serve a two-year term as president and chair from 2011-2012.

Debra W. Stewart, PhD, Council of Graduate Schools
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2013-2015
Stewart is the president of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) in Washington, DC. She also serves on the ETS Board of Trustees, the International Advisory Board of the Freie Universität Berlin, and the International Board of the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Stewart is the author of numerous scholarly articles on administrative theory and public policy, and lectures on higher education, research, and global competitiveness at major universities and education organizations in North America, Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, China, and Russia. Stewart earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, her M.A. at the University of Maryland, and her B.A. at Marquette University.

Current members of the NAFSA Board of Directors who will be continuing their service in 2013 are:

  • Charles A. S. Bankart, PhD, University of Kansas
  • Cynthia Banks, GlobaLinks Learning Abroad
  • Sherif Barsoum, Vanderbilt University
  • Lars Heikensten, PhD, Nobel Foundation
  • Jolene Koester, PhD, California State University-Northridge
  • Mora McLean, JD, Africa-America Institute
  • Jody K. Olsen, PhD, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • Kavita Pandit, PhD, University of Georgia
  • Deborah L. Pierce, PhD, Northern Illinois University
  • Mary H. Reeves, PhD, Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
  • Yenbo Wu, PhD, San Francisco State University
  • Chunsheng Zhang, PhD, University of North Alabama

For more information on the 2012 election, including photos and other member-leader election results, please visit: