News & Press: Press Release

Diversity Abroad Recognizes Institutions for Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in Education Abroad

Wednesday, April 08, 2015   (0 Comments)
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NEW ORLEANS, LA, April 8, 2015 – The EDIE (Excellence in Diversifying International Education) awards for outstanding contributions to access, diversity and inclusion in international education and exchange were presented during the Third Annual Diversity Abroad Conference held on March 22-24. Honored were Northwestern University, the Fund for Education Abroad, and Jody Pritt of the University of South Carolina.

True diversity is defined not only as differences in individual background, personal identities, intellectual approaches, and demographics; it is also the removal of barriers and the creation of space that allow individuals to fully engage in the life of the university," says Morton Schapiro, President Northwestern University

Northwestern’s Buffett Institute for Global Studies labored seven years to establish the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI), which develops young leaders to work and collaborate effectively across racial, socio-economic, disciplinary, geographical, cultural and/or generational differences. It is now the university’s largest and most diverse international studies program with approximately half of participants representing underrepresented student populations. The Institutional EDIE goes to Northwestern University in recognition of achievement in the development of practices that foster diversity and inclusion in international education and exchange as well as encourage an inclusive campus environment for international students.

Patrick Eccles, Assistant Director Global Engagement Programs, says "We are grateful to be a part of a network of socially concerned international educators who are serious and intentional about addressing issues of access and inclusion in a comprehensive way." 

The 2015 EDIE Organizational Award recipient, the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) provides scholarships to students embodying diversity; 72% of the 36 FEA award scholars are first-generation college students, 75% are minorities and a record 83% are past or present community college students. Executive Director Jennifer Calvert said, "FEA’s goal is to introduce more dedicated American university students to the benefits of study abroad. This year we both significantly diversified the student population who will receive scholarships, and increased the number of scholarships by 71%."

Jody Pritt, Director of International Student Services, University of South Carolina, is this year’s Diversity Abroad Individual EDIE Award recipient. Pritt’s nomination highlighted her commitment to developing initiatives that support diverse student populations and create inclusive campus practices, particularly for international students. She recently expanded the Thinking Globally program, which shares international study opportunities and emphasizes the importance of foreign language learning and intercultural communication within the student population, to train international students as ambassadors for their home countries.

"… this recognition is a direct result of the University of South Carolina’s dedication to, and support of, efforts to further internationalization on campus and in the community. … I feel very fortunate to be a part of such an inclusive and diverse institution,” Pritt said, accepting her EDIE.

Diversity Abroad Founder, Andrew Gordon, closed with praise for the honorees. "Increasing access to international education and exchange programs for diverse students has been a challenge, yet there are many individuals and institutions that are meeting the challenge through innovative programs and dedication to their students."

2015 EDIE recipients will serve on the 2016 selection panel. Highlights of their contributions will be posted in May on the Diversity Network's Good Practices Series.