NAFSA Town Halls

NAFSA International Education Town Hall events are an opportunity to share, listen, and learn together. This dialogue will extend beyond each event with an opportunity to ask questions, share insights, and provide support to those within the international education community seeking answers. These events will be offered year-round, and each event will have a unique focus.

Past Town Halls

The State of Play in Washington and Why the U.S. Needs a National IE Strategy
November 9, 2023
This Town Hall examined the latest legislative and regulatory policy updates affecting the field with a special focus on why the U.S. needs a national strategy for international education. NAFSA leaders with expertise in public policy, regulatory practice, and advocacy shared a “behind-the-scenes” look at what’s happening in Washington and then examined why a national strategy is essential for advancing international education in the U.S.

International Education, Affirmative Action, and Diversity Bans
September 13, 2023
NAFSA’s associational values articulate a belief that international education lies at the core of an interconnected world characterized by diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and well-being for all. NAFSA believes that diversity in our classrooms, our communities, and our workplaces is our strength.  Yet, efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in U.S. higher education are increasingly in jeopardy, from this summer’s SCOTUS decision ending affirmative action in college admissions to state legislation prohibiting DEI-focused initiatives. This Town Hall will examine the implications for international education, explore meaningful allyship with colleagues in diversity offices and positions, and provide resources to guide effective advocacy. 

Mobility and Management - How Will COVID-19 Shape the New "Normal"?
April 28, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic will profoundly shape how institutions send students abroad and welcome new cohorts of international students. Institutions must grapple with CDC guidance, state and local mandates, and the emerging discussions on vaccine passports/certificates. Join a panel of medical professionals and international education experts for their insights on maneuvering the constantly evolving pandemic as we ensure the continued health and safety of students and institutions.

Responding to the DHS Proposal to Eliminate Duration of Status
October 13, 2020
This Town Hall featured a discussion of DHS’ proposed rule that would eliminate duration of status for Fs and Js. We will review key elements of the proposal and potential issues, describe NAFSA’s response, hear about three schools’ response plans, and discuss how you might respond. We will highlight additional information and resources. We will also seek your input about possible implications for your institution and your plans to respond. The event is free of charge, but you must register.

SEVP Fall 2020 Guidance
July 16, 2020
This Town Hall event featured a discussion of SEVP’s recent guidance and the anticipated rule on COVID-19 and Fall 2020. We provided an update on related litigation and NAFSA’s liaison and advocacy efforts, including steps you can take. We reviewed some key aspects of the guidance to consider as you plan for Fall 2020, and two Directors of ISSS offices shared their ideas and issues as they grapple with implementing the guidance.

Policy & Advocacy in the Time of COVID-19: What You Can Do to Support International Education
April 29, 2020
NAFSA provided an expert overview of the short- and long- term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on international education, the recommendations NAFSA is making of Congress to address these impacts, and how advocates can get involved to move those asks forward.

Public Health and International Education – What’s now and what’s next
April 14, 2020
Over the past few weeks, international educators have had to quickly adjust and shift to a different environment to support their students and scholars and manage expectations due to the impact of COVID-19. This Town Hall featured a public health expert and an IIE researcher alongside seasoned international educators. The speakers reflected on public health trends that affect our work, current “triage” plans, and lessons learned. They will also shared their thoughts on what’s next and helpful tips on managing future change.

Responding to a Worldwide Health Crisis and Travel Restrictions
February 20, 2020
Recent concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus has myriad implications for the international education community in the United States and abroad. This Town Hall for NAFSA members will provide context for the current challenges for international educators and share updates on the travel restrictions for China. It will conclude with a panel discussion on possible talking points, collaborations, and responses.  NAFSA President Ravi Shankar (University of Rochester) will be joined by EA KC Chair Eduardo Contreras (University of Portland) and KC ISSS Chair Tina Rousselot de Saint Céran (Georgia Tech). Please join this live event open to all NAFSA members.

Innovation, Collaboration, Diversity, and Resilience in International Education
November 14, 2018
This special International Education Town Hall for International Education Week (IEW) 2018 focused on the latest innovations, partnerships, and diversification initiatives from across the field. NAFSA’s Vice President for Professional Development and Education Ravi Shankar highlighted and discussed specific examples, including those shared by participants. He was joined by his colleague Adam Goodman to offer insights on strategies to keep resilient as we face challenges in our daily work.

Understanding IEM in a Climate of Change
February 23, 2017
Due to new White House policies that may affect international students' perceptions of the United States as a destination of choice, many in the international enrollment management (IEM) community may be facing challenging times as they travel abroad to recruit new international students and speak to parents and families about studying in the United States.

Representing the United States While Abroad: You as the Ambassador
January 31, 2017
Every four years, students, faculty, and administrations are challenged with representing the United States abroad during a new presidential administration. No matter one’s political affiliations, when we study abroad, research abroad, forge new international partners, we are often asked by our overseas hosts about U.S. politics and engagement with the world. Our hosts make judgments about the United States, and we must use our tact and diplomacy to respond to their curiosity and perceived stereotypes of the United States – in other words, to serve as cultural ambassadors.

Coming Together, Moving Forward
November 18, 2016
As campuses across the United States prepare for a new administration, many in the international education community are facing difficult questions from international students and scholars seeking answers and assurances. NAFSA hosted its inaugural International Education Town Hall, the first in a series of online forums designed to bring together the international education community in a time of uncertainty and change.