While serving as the secretary in the International Office at Hampton University (my alma mater) in 2011, I learned of NAFSA. Everything I laid my eyes on regarding this organization painted a picture for me: a utopian, international society of educators willing to travel, spend long hours in meetings and conferences, and learn from each other all for the same purpose – to better our international communities, to increase diversity and its understanding, and to strengthen our educational foundations. I knew I needed NAFSA in my life.
Now, almost 4 years later and serving as the director of the same international office, NAFSA is a part of my life.
My first NAFSA conference was May 2014 in San Diego, California. Not only was it my first time in California, but it was also my first time surrounded by thousands (and I do mean thousands) of international educators and decisionmakers with the same goals as myself. I was, and still am, amazed at the experience.
The breakout sessions, first-timers orientations, conference scholarship opportunities (I am a NAFSA Diversity Impact Program recipient), speakers with expertise in specific fields, and so much more, all were put together with a precise rationale. That conference, no doubt, was a social manifestation of our intellectual selves as NAFSAns.
Since the 2014 NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo in San Diego, I have been a different educator: the vision and mission for myself as it relates to my students and my university is clearer and more purposeful. The conference provided me the tools for a more effective, efficient, and powerful international office. Hampton University is making history this academic year with both our study abroad and international student programming.
Please consider donating a gift to help support next year’s NAFSA Diversity Impact Program so that more of our fellow colleagues can benefit from their experience in the program as I did. Your gift will ensure that all of us can learn and grow by working with and learning from next year’s program recipients.
I thank the leadership, members, and volunteers of NAFSA. You help us maintain our excitement and zeal in an ever-changing world.
Ebony Majeed is director of the International Office at Hampton University, a 2014 NAFSA Diversity Impact Program recipient.
Donate now at www.nafsa.org/donatenow to support NAFSA’s Diversity Impact Program and additional NAFSA programs dedicated to advancing the field and increasing diversity and inclusion among international education.