Nobel Laureate and Human Rights Activist Nadia Murad and Writer, Activist, Comedian Baratunde Thurston to Headline NAFSA 2023
For Immediate Release

Washington - Today, NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced the plenary speakers that will headline its industry-leading annual conference and expo as the event returns to NAFSA’s hometown for the first time since 2019. NAFSA 2023 invites international educators, exhibitors, and the public sector to gather in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the association’s proud 75-year history and plan the field’s inclusive future from May 30–June 2.

“NAFSA 2023 promises to be a milestone event in the evolution of our association and the field,” said Daniel C. Stoll, interim executive director and CEO of NAFSA. “Bracketed by two world-renowned plenary speakers, the 75th convening of NAFSA’s Annual Conference & Expo provides an essential platform for examining international education’s relevance to a rapidly changing world and its accessibility to all.” 

  • On May 30, Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad will share her extraordinary story as described in her New York Times best-selling memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State. A victim of imprisonment and sexual violence by ISIS, she went on to found Nadia’s Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to rebuilding communities in crisis and pursuing holistic justice for survivors of mass atrocities and human trafficking. She won the Nobel Peace Prize with Dr. Denis Mukwege in 2018, and together they founded the Global Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. In 2019, she was appointed to be a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocate. Since 2015, Murad has worked with human rights lawyer Amal Clooney to bring ISIS before the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. 
  • On June 1, Baratunde Thurston, an Emmy-nominated multi-platform storyteller and producer operating at the intersection of race, tech, democracy, and climate, will address the conference audience. He is the host and executive producer of the PBS television series, America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston, creator and host of How to Citizen with Baratunde, which Apple named one of its favorite podcasts of 2020, and a founding partner of Puck, a new media startup. His comedic memoir, How To Be Black, is a New York Times best-seller. In 2019 he delivered what MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED Talks of all time.” 

Other highlights of NAFSA 2023 include:

  • Book sales and events featuring signed works of the plenary speakers, as well as the association’s commemorative History of NAFSA book;
  • remarks by prominent public figures and government officials with ties to the association’s history and mission;
  • a celebration of NAFSA’s 75th anniversary at Nationals Park, home to the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team;
  • four days of access to more than 200 networking, learning, and dialogue sessions and programs on the latest developments, trends, forecasts, emerging best practices, creative solutions, and resources in the field;
  • the International Education Expo, which brings together more than 250 country consortia, institutions, providers, and other partners from across the industry and around the globe;
  • NAFSA’s Signature Programs, the Latin America and Caribbean Forum and the Symposium on Leadership, offering critical regional updates and innovative strategies for leading the field forward; and
  • a luncheon, sponsored by NYU, honoring the recipients of NAFSA’s 2023 international education awards and the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

Complete registration and lodging information can be accessed at

Members of the media interested in covering the conference must request a pass in advance.

About the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo
The 75th NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo is the world’s largest gathering of professionals in international education. The conference offers a wide array of learning and networking opportunities for international educators and features more than 150 sessions, 150 posters and 17 workshops focusing on the most crucial topics in international education, exchange and global learning. A major highlight of the conference is the International Education Expo Hall, which features more than 200 exhibitors representing hundreds of organizations from around the world, including colleges and universities; study abroad and intensive-English programs; embassies and government agencies; and more. Learn more at

Serving more than 10,000 members and international educators worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. Visit us at To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit Resources to guide our members on regulatory issues can be found at