The association provides a statement of ethical principles to guide both international educators and participants in international education and exchange.

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Our contemporary world is marked by contrasts of both increasing globalization, and a backlash to contemporary globalizing trends. In these times, knowledge and awareness of other peoples, countries, cultures, and beliefs is of utmost importance. The acquisition of this knowledge requires open educational exchange that occurs under the highest of ethical principles and values. Ethical international educators provide such programs and services with the highest level of integrity and responsibility. To accomplish this goal, we attend carefully and actively to the ethical obligations that emerge from our relationships with students, scholars, institutions, international partners, and other stakeholders.

International educators share clear and defined values. We promote the welfare of the students and scholars in our programs. As educators, practitioners, and international support providers, our decisions ensure that our programs serve identifiable and legitimate educational purposes. Working in a global and multicultural environment, we are committed to the internationalization of education, not merely as a set of experiences, but as a value-laden set of interactions that produces individuals who are more knowledgeable, reflective, broad-minded, and self-aware.

The role and purpose of the NAFSA Statement of Ethical Principles is designed to:

  • Resolve conflict when negotiating competing responsibilities, demands, and interests
  • Inspire international educators to infuse ethical principles and practices into their advising, scholarship, teaching, and professional interactions
  • Strengthen the ethical dimensions of professional outreach, research, and training
  • Provide decision-making guidance in management settings
  • Highlight embedded ethical obligations in international higher education settings
  • Broaden and deepen conversations on ethical and professional practices in international education

NAFSA's Statement of Ethical Principles

Educational Success

We are committed to the well-being, safety, security, and success of students, staff, faculty, and scholars. This is why we exist as international educators.


We work with others honestly and fairly, abide by our commitments, and always act in a manner that merits trust and confidence.

Compliance with the Law

We respect the rule of law. We follow applicable laws and regulations, respect international law, and carefully and reflectively advise and protect students and scholars regarding those laws and regulations. We will seek out appropriate guidance and advice when regulations appear contradictory, ambiguous, or confusing.


We are accountable to each other, to our institutions, and to the association. We are responsible for our actions and for our decisions not to act.


We seek out and adopt exemplary practices and continuously evaluate, review, and strive to improve our work to achieve its highest quality.


We seek out and acquire the training and knowledge necessary to sustain excellence in our professional practice. Our commitment to professional excellence will extend to exercising thorough oversight of external programs and placements.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

We acknowledge that we represent diverse institutions, backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. We will respect every individual and treat them equitably. We commit to creating an inclusive learning and working environment.


We demonstrate the appropriate level of transparency in dealings with individuals and organizations, always keeping the welfare of students foremost, and disclosing any potential conflicts of interest. We will provide faculty, staff, students, and scholars with the information they need to make informed decisions about program participation and to facilitate their adjustment to the locales and cultures where they will study or work.


In planning, developing, pricing, and implementing our programs we strive to ensure that they are accessible to all qualified individuals, doing our utmost to guarantee that international education is available to all who desire it and can benefit from it.


As international educators, we are committed to proactively developing, supporting, and integrating sustainable practices into our work. We accept the shared responsibility to protect, preserve, and wherever possible, improve our environment by integrating this commitment into our programming, teaching, research, scholarship and other practices.


We maintain open and readily accessible communication with individuals in our programs and services and with our institutional partners. This includes providing students with the appropriate level of support based on age, experience, language ability, and placement.

Therefore, holding these principles constantly in mind, we will work to extend and improve international education in all its forms and at all levels, including advocating for programs, policies, regulations, and laws that reflect these principles. We will seek out appropriate guidance and advice when regulations appear contradictory, ambiguous, or confusing. Additionally, we will work aggressively for the realization of these principles in our personal and professional conduct, throughout our institutions, and in organizations with which we affiliate.

Updated March 2019