Building a New Future for International Education

Though the world is still in the grip of COVID-19, international educators are developing a new vision for the field. 
Even amid the current uncertainty, international educators are planning for the future of the field, creating a new vision for the critical role international education plays in developing an informed citizenry. Illustration: Shutterstock
Esther D. Brimmer, DPhil

In July 1944, leaders of 44 countries met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to plan for the economic and financial health of the world in the future. Although war was still raging, they understood that they needed to plan for a successful peace, and forming a new future had to begin even though the conflict was still underway.

Focused on the future global economy, the Bretton Woods Conference led to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (better known as the World Bank).

No one knows when the pandemic will end, nor when a safe, effective vaccine will be widely available, but international educators do know that we will be part of building the future of international education. NAFSAns are found in every facet of our field, and our actions will be instrumental in creating a new vision for it. We can already see lines of action.

The surprising silver lining to this summer’s advocacy against proposed U.S. visa guidance was the outpouring of support for international students. In the longer term, such support could help lay the foundation for an integrated national strategy to support international education.

On campus, international educators who can demonstrate the relevance of their expertise to ongoing issues may find unexpected allies. Senior international officers may have global operations experience that presidents and provosts value as they seek to manage complicated partnerships and arrangements with institutions around the world. International educators’ skills in cross-cultural learning and innovative online

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