International Excellence Award

2022 Recipient

A photograph of Dr Alejandra Parra

Dr. Alejandra Parra: Florida International University 

"Alejandra demonstrates commitment to and excellence in international education by her continued growth in the positions she has held professionally, as well as the various ways that she gives back to the field  through volunteer leadership and sharing her knowledge through numerous professional presentations. 

Alejandra is always willing to support her colleagues through providing a listening ear, encouragement to  strive for excellence, and opportunities for their personal and professional growth. She has a positive outlook  and personal strength that is inspiring and motivating to all who know her. She is extremely well respected by  her colleagues in the state, region, and nationally. Alejandra’s peers in Florida recently honored her as the  2022 recipient of the You Made a World of Difference award. Alejandra has used her knowledge, skills, passion, and drive to advocate on behalf of international students  and to improve the field of international education."


New Professional Award

2022 Recipient

Gaurav Harshe

Gaurav Harshe
Doctoral Student
University of South Carolina

“Gaurav is so polished, professional, and personable in his communication. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience at the intersection of Student Affairs and International Education, which he shares generously with colleagues to promote DEI initiatives for international students. He is not a rising star, but already a brightly shining star in our field! I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than Gaurav Harshe.”

"His enthusiasm for his work, his positive attitude in the face of adversity, his ability to overcome obstacles, and his humility amongst colleagues and peers are all honorable qualities that deserve recognition. Mr. Harshe has managed to inspire change, create community, and establish connections despite the challenges that the COVID pandemic threw at our world, and I can only imagine what he will accomplish as the globe slowly starts to open up again. All of us are watching Mr. Harshe with admiration and curiosity, excited to see what he does next. He is the type of professional we all want to be, and he is the type of person you want in your corner. A new generation of international students are going to have his creative energy and advocacy at their helm, and Region VII is lucky to have him in our sphere for the time being."

Community Volunteer Award

2022 Recipient

A photograph of Marian Beane and Judy Case receiving an award from the NAFSA Regional team.

Marian Beane & Judy Case
Founders of UNC Charlotte International Festival

"This year, we honor two individuals who have profoundly impacted the Charlotte community through their efforts founding the International Festival- or “iFest” at the University of North Carolina Charlotte- Marian Beane and Judy Case.

A grassroots effort in 1975, Marian and Judy began working with groups of international students and members of Charlotte’s international community in an effort to recognize and celebrate Charlotte’s cultural diversity. While many area cultural festivals focus on a certain ethnicity or region, UNC Charlotte’s iFest welcomes all people and cultures as part of this one day microcosm of the world. IFest is centered around booths arranged in colorful marketplace style representing the nations of the world. The booths are staffed by roughly half UNC Charlotte international students and half members of Charlotte's international community. They feature art, crafts, educational materials and many prepare food from their countries. Throughout the day, musical and choreographed dance performances are presented on indoor and outdoor stages. In addition, the family-oriented festival includes interactive educational experiences such as a passport project, and an international games zone.

What began as a small folk festival nearly 50 years ago is now the largest, oldest, and most inclusive celebration of cultural diversity in our area, featuring over 50 nations. This volunteer-driven event- including the efforts of 20-30 community organizations- now attracts more than 20,000 attendees annually."

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in International Education Award

2022 Recipient

Dr. Nneke Nora Osakwe

Dr. Nneka Nora Osakwe
Albany State University

“This year we honor a colleague who has made incredible strides in enhancing campus-wide internationalization and expanding access to international education for historically minoritized students at her institution, Albany State University. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Osakwe has:

  • Implemented an intentional strategy and cross-campus collaboration, resulting in a high success rate with recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Between 2012 and 2021, ASU has had 68 Gilman recipients. 
  • Worked to expand the number of students who have a passport by providing funding for 50+ students a year.
  • Served as a mentor to faculty, thereby expanding faculty-led program offerings 
  • Launching a Global Issues newsletter
  • Encouraging policies that support faculty-led programs
  • Created the ASU Internationalizing Curriculum Symposium

She is admired by many colleagues who are amazed by her accomplishments, commitment and work ethic."

Past Recipients of the Region VII International Excellence Award
Past Recipients of the Region VII New Professional Award
Past Recipients of the Region VII Community Volunteer Award
Past Recipients of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in International Education Award

Region VII Awards

View the nomination process and criteria regarding Region VII various awards.