NAFSA's first official conference day was full of excitement and energy… the Opening Ceremony for the International Education Expo Hall, Member Interest Groups (MIGs) open houses, preconference workshops, and sessions kept conference-goers on their feet. Check out NAFSA's first Education Abroad Tweet-Up and follow NAFSA on Twitter. If you want a great visual of all the posts from the conference, go to

SCA_0012 The opening day of conference kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. to open the International Education Expo Hall, which features more than 400 exhibitor booths. Hundreds of conference attendees stopped by the NAFSA Commons to complete their advocacy profile and learn about Connecting Our World. If you didn't make it to the Expo Hall today, plan to attend between 10 a.m. and 2p.m. on Thursday as there are no concurrent sessions or seminars scheduled. Check out the interactive map and search the full list of exhibitors, which is sorted by category.

With almost 20 percent of attendees in Kansas City coming to the annual conference for the first time, many learned how to navigate the conference with ease at the First-Timer's Orientation.

During NAFSA's Conference Symposium on Leadership, Leading Internationalization in Times of Fiscal Restraint , participants interacted with distinguished leaders in the field to learn how to move the agenda for internationalization forward during challenging financial times. John K. Hudzik, professor at Michigan State University and past president NAFSA, Elizabeth Brewer, director of international education at Beloit College, Michael H. Droge, president of Park University, and other experts presented information concerning the recent economic downturn and how it is affecting higher education, effective rationales for pursuing and funding internationalization in this new environment, cost-effective strategies for connecting to core institutional mission, approaches to managing international activities, models for cost-sharing and collaboration, and methods for generating new revenue. Is this the "new normal" of higher education—and what does it mean for internationalization?

SCA_0291 The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the Opening Plenary with renowned writer Salman Rushdie, who is currently the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Rushdie, both a fiction writer and advocate for human rights and artistic freedom, shared insights and enlightened the audience. Rushdie signed his books, including his most recent novel, The Enchantress of Florence (2008) , for conference attendees after his address.

Opening ReceptionThe day wound down—or wound up, depending on your mood—at the opening reception at Kansas City's Power and Light District. Attendees enjoyed a huge block party full of live music, a sampling of local and international culinary delights, and amazing atmosphere in the nine- block complex. Conference-goers mingled over pints in one of the Irish pubs, had a true taste of some midwestern flavor as rodeo enthusiasts dared to take the eight-second bull- riding challenge at the PBR Big Sky, enjoyed the dueling piano bar at Howl at the Moon, or had a quite coffee or glass of wine. There really was something for every participant, with more than 50 restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment venues.

The opening day of conference was jam-packed full of events. What was the best part of opening day for you…the invigorating plenary address by Salman Rushdie, the Conference Symposium, or new contacts you made at the fun-filled opening reception?


NAFSAns attending the Conference Symposium.


NAFSA opening plenary where Sir Salman Rushdie, writer and advocate for human rights and artistic freedom, was the speaker.