Global Leader Awards

NAFSA's Global Leader Awards recognize members of Congress that are champions for international education and advance policies that create a more welcoming and globally engaged United States.

2017

Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT.

Senator Leahy has continuously demonstrated leadership on international education issues and support for effective global engagement. In his position as ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, he led the fight to block numerous amendments to the 2013 immigration reform bill that would have impacted our nation’s ability to welcome foreign students, scholars, and scientists to U.S. higher education institutions. He is also a longtime supporter of creating a path to citizenship for the undocumented. We greatly appreciate Senator Leahy’s longstanding commitment to international education and are pleased to recognize him as a champion of creating a more welcoming and secure United States.

2015

Senator Michael Bennet, D-CO.

Senator Bennet exhibited extraordinary leadership in advancing the international education issues and, in particular, through his key role as a member of the "Gang of 8" in the Senate which drafted the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform legislation, ensuring that provisions favorable to international students and scholars were included. This award recognizes the achievements of his leadership.

2014

Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Senator Schumer is recognized for his instrumental role in passing landmark immigration legislation in 2013. Under his leadership, S.744 passed in the Senate with provisions that make it easier to attract, retain and graduate foreign students from U.S. colleges and universities. He and his staff have shown stalwart enthusiasm for creating a more globally engaged and welcoming United States. Their commitment ensured that nearly all of the priorities important to international educators were included in the final Senate bill.

2013

Representative Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.

Congresswoman Lofgren, a member of the bipartisan “gang of eight” congressional representatives working on immigration legislation, has been a longtime supporter of the DREAM Act, legislation that would allow students who have been raised in the United States and educated in our schools the opportunity to attend college, serve in the military, and begin the long process of legalizing their immigration status. This award recognizes her unwavering commitment to bipartisan, commonsense and comprehensive immigration reform.

2010

Representative David R. Obey, D-Wis.

Congressman Obey is recognized for his commitment to ensuring access to education for all Americans, and realizing the fundamental value of internationalizing education at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels, strengthening HEA-Title VI and Fulbright Hays programs, and supporting foreign language study.

2008

Representative Tom Lantos, D-Calif. (2008)

Congressman Lantos was committed to the cause of international education throughout his life and career and is recognized for his commitment to advancing America's ability to lead in a global society, specifically for introducing and securing the passage by the House of Representatives of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act of 2007.

2007

Senator Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.

Senator Durbin is recognized for his longtime support of international education and exchange through his introduction of visionary study abroad legislation and his support for legislation to ensure the United States remains competitive in attracting international talent.

2005

Representative Sherwood L. Boehlert, R-N.Y.

Congressman Boehlert showed strong leadership in improving policies hindering international exchange and in seeking to expand foreign language study. He is recognized in honor of these achievements.

2005

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Tex.

Senator Hutchison has shown great leadership on issues related to international education and exchange. She is recognized for many valuable achievements, including her sponsorship of the Border Commuter Student Act of 2002, a bill that helped to allow our Canadian and Mexican neighbors to cross the border to attend U.S. colleges and universities; her co-sponsorship of the Enhanced Border and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001, which ensured that if our nation's immigration functions were to be included in the new Department of Homeland Security, they would function as seamlessly as possible and in a manner that respected both the enforcement and service of our immigration laws; and for cosponsoring S.Con.Res.7, a resolution encouraging an international education policy in the United States, which passed with unanimous consent in the Senate in April 2001.

Senator Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

Senator Coleman is recognized for his leadership on issues related to international education and exchange. His efforts include: sponsoring the ACTION Act of 2005, which seeks to amend the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 to facilitate United States openness to international students, scholars, scientists, and exchange visitors; sponsoring legislation during the 108th Congress to improve access to graduate schools in the United States for international students and scholars, which led to a hearing and an in-depth roundtable discussion by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to examine this issue; and his co-sponsorship of the People-to-People Engagement in World Affairs resolution, which encourages the active engagement of Americans in world affairs.

2004

Representative Barney Frank, D-Mass.

Congressman Frank is recognized for his extraordinary leadership on issues related to the implementation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and for championing English language programs through urging Secretaries Powell and Ridge to work out a reduced SEVIS fee for intensive English program participants.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

Senator Kenney played a key role as a voice of moderation in the Senate following the events of September 11, 2001. He is recognized for his co-sponsorship of the Enhanced Border and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001, which ensured that if our nation's immigration functions were to be included in the new Department of Homeland Security, they would function as seamlessly as possible and in a manner that respected both the enforcement and service of our immigration laws; his co-sponsorship of the Cultural Bridges Act of 2002, which sought to promote the national security of the United States through international educational and cultural exchange programs between the United States and the Islamic World; and his co-sponsorship of the People-to-People Exchange in World Affairs Resolution in 2004.

Senator John F. Kerry, D-Mass.

Senator Kerry is recognized for his leadership in sponsoring S.Con.Res.7, a resolution encouraging an international education policy in the United States, which passed with unanimous consent in the Senate in April 2001.

Representative Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz.

Congressman Kolbe is recognized for a multitude of achievements, including: his sponsorship (along with Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn.) of a resolution encouraging an international education policy in the United States during the 107th Congress, his sponsorship of the Border Commuter Student Act of 2002 that established new nonimmigrant classes for border commuter students, allowing our Canadian and Mexican neighbors to cross the border to attend U.S. colleges and universities, and his continued support of international education programs, namely overseas advising centers, during the annual appropriations process for the U.S. Department of State.

Representative James P. McGovern, D-Mass.

Congressman McGovern is recognized for exhibiting strong leadership in authoring a letter in March 2003 to Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing concerns about the impact of visa delays on educational exchange, and for being among the first to cosponsor a resolution encouraging an international education policy in the United States during the 107th Congress.

2002

Representative Betty McCollum, D-Minn.

Congresswomen McCollum showed support of sensible immigration reform legislation that supports international education and exchange, and is recognized for her efforts to advance these reforms.