It is indeed a new day in Washington! The Biden administration has been at work for just over a month, and we’ve already seen a flurry of appointments, executive orders, and other actions—including several related to immigration and travel abroad. If these first weeks are any indication, it will be a challenge for international education advocates to stay abreast of policy changes that will affect our field in the months ahead.

NAFSA can help! In an interview for International Educator, NAFSA’s Deputy Executive Director of Public Policy Jill Allen Murray offered an analysis of recent developments and a look at where NAFSA will focus its advocacy activities in the months ahead.

One message that came through loud and clear in Murray’s assessment is that although we have reasons to be optimistic about the future, international educators must not be complacent. Constituent voices—yours!—are crucial in advancing key legislation and other initiatives that will restore and rebuild international enrollment and education abroad.

As Murray stated, “We are going to have to do the hard work of making sure that the administration knows what our priorities are and that they see a strong argument for prioritizing them. It’s really going to take engagement with our advocates to do that.”

This is where you come in! With all the demands placed on international educators, we recognize that finding your voice—and the time—as an advocate may feel overwhelming. It need not. Here are two ways to get and stay involved, both of which require little of your time:

  • NAFSA’s Connecting Our World portal is a one-stop shop for NAFSA’s active advocacy campaigns (such as urging your senators to cosponsor the newly introduced Dream Act of 2021). Sign up to receive weekly emails for quick updates on policy and advocacy developments and easy ways to get involved.
  • If you have the desire for a deeper engagement with your members of Congress, sign up for Advocacy Day 2021! This annual NAFSA offering will be held virtually this spring, making it easier than ever to participate—no time off work or travel required. Policy and advocacy experts will guide participants on how to have successful meetings with lawmakers, speak about NAFSA’s top asks of Congress, and schedule meetings with Congressional offices so that advocates can make the case for education abroad and international enrollment. Expect invigorating and inspiring “face time” with fellow advocates from all over the country who share your passion for speaking up for the students we’re serving in the field.

Still need convincing? Consider Murray’s closing words on the podcast episode:

“We have an opportunity if our community really engages and talks frequently and convincingly to their own members of Congress [to communicate] that these issues should be priorities… Our ability to connect with our advocates and have our community come together and to make the case to Congress will be a defining opportunity for us.” All we need is you!