The current economic downturn is having profound effects on higher education. At the same time, the need for academic internationalization has never been greater, and the opportunities for global engagement have never been more abundant. NAFSA's 2010 Conference Symposium on Leadership considered how to move the agenda for internationalization forward even during challenging financial times.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) senior analyst Stephán Vincent-Lancrin presented data on the current global economy and outlined the short-and long-term effects that he believes the economic downturn will have on access to, and funding of, higher education. He concluded that while the recession and resulting budget cuts will have a lasting impact on higher education systems, there will be a continued need for international education as the economy becomes increasingly global.

Michale Droge, president of Park University, spoke about his institution’s success in positioning internationalization at the institutional core and shared Park’s strategies for educating global citizens to meet the social, economic, political, and environmental challenges of the twenty-first century.

A panel of experienced NAFSAns form a variety of institutional types (Anneli Adams, College of Southern Nevada; Elizabeth Brewer, Beloit College; Jesse Lutabingwa, Appalachian State University; and Berry Morris, Kennesaw State University) provided examples of cost management strategies and revenue generation projects from their own institutions.

John Hudzik, professor and former vice president for Global Engagement at Michigan State University, closed the symposium with his thoughts on what can be expected down the road – the "new normal" of higher education – and what if may mean for internationalization. In Hudzik's view, the current downturn alone may be "a tempest in a teapot," but the hurricane resides in the longer trends and the structural changes to higher education that will result.