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Amplifying Voices: Moving From Rhetoric to Systemic Change | 2020 Conference Recap

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 11, 2020

8th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference: Amplifying Voices: Moving From Rhetoric to Systemic Change


The 8th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference challenged and inspired over 650+ professionals from around the world to continue our commitment towards building a more inclusive and equitable global education sector. More than 60 sessions, workshops, and poster presentations explored the theme: Amplifying Voices: Moving From Rhetoric to Systemic Change and were facilitated by 155+ presenters representing over 100 different institutions/organizations. The conference also featured a virtual Exhibit Hall with programs and resources on international education.

Sessions and discussions during the conference ranged from how to make diversity, equity, and inclusion central to the work of the institution/organization, breaking down silos on campus to adapting to the realities of virtual exchange, supporting domestic and international students during these uncertain times, and creating an inclusive workplace culture in addition to wellness and self care. Throughout the week, attendees also had the opportunity to network, collaborate, and connect through our Lagniappe Chats. Based around themes such as Racially/Ethnically Diverse, Provider Organizations, and LGBTQI+, these were an open space for dialogue and discussion.  



Diversity Abroad’s CEO and Founder, Andrew Gordon, welcomed everyone to the conference and highlighted the changed circumstances of the conference as well as the challenges and opportunities facing the field of global education today. 

Diversity Abroad’s 4th annual Innovation Competition sponsored by CAPA The Global Education Network, provided an exciting close to the conference opening program with five presentations detailing creative ideas that advance diversity and inclusive excellence in global education. Conference attendees had the chance to vote in order to determine the winner. Kevin Graham’s project with UC San Diego, Domestic Exchange: Creating Global Experiences for Undocumented/DACA Students won the competition and $5000. Lavar Thomas, co-founder of Leaders of the Free World (LFW) received $3500 for second place, and Charis Tucker’s STAMPED—the Study Abroad Podcast received third place with a $1500 prize. Read more about the winners here.

Tuesday kicked off with Deep Dive Concurrent Sessions, a chance for attendees to explore topics such as resources surrounding gender identity abroad and making publishing accessible more in-depth. Like all concurrent sessions during the virtual conference, after a pre-recorded presentation attendees joined a live Q&A with the presenters. The mid-day plenary session featured New York Times bestselling author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi to explore the concept of antiracism in a global education context. Dr. Tia Brown McNair, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success of the Association of American Colleges & Universities was the plenary speaker on Wednesday. She challenged the audience to “walk the talk” and offered insights from her work with the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers. Both plenary speakers made the point that antiracism and equity work begins with examining our own journeys first before we can address structural changes.  



For the third year, Diversity Abroad was pleased to have the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announce the 2018-2019 Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship Top Producing and Top Growth Institutions at the conference. The announcement was followed by a panel discussion with representatives from several of these institutions on their current work and initiatives. 

On Thursday, the winners and finalists of the Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education (EDIIE) and Global Student Leadership Awards were honored and their important contributions to advancing equity, diversity, and access within global education highlighted. This day closed with a nod to New Orleans - where the 8th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference was originally supposed to take place in March 2020 - with a live streamed performance by Big Sam’s Funky Nation from New Orleans. 

Friday kicked off with Critical Issues Sessions and the Poster Community, which had 14 innovative poster sessions featuring solutions to international education programming. The day ended with closing remarks from Andrew Gordon, who challenged attendees to innovate to make the strides necessary to make the sector truly equitable with respect to the students and to the professionals who call the field home. He was followed by the entire Diversity Abroad team who reflected on what the conference meant to them and thanked the conference attendees and Diversity Abroad community at large for all their work.



The Conference closed with the inaugural Think Forward Summit on the topic of Systemic Racism & the Field of Global Education. This 2-day event provided an opportunity for attendees to critically examine our responsibility as global educators to undo systemic racism within education abroad, international student and scholar services, global engagement at home and the cultures of our workplaces. 

Tags:  Diversity Abroad Conference 

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Diversity Abroad Team's Advice on Working From Home (WFH)

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 27, 2020


Many organizations, companies, and institutions are transitioning to working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis and face new challenges managing this while remaining productive and successful. As a virtual team since Diversity Abroad’s founding 14 years ago, being remote is in our DNA. We asked our team to share their tips on how to thrive in a remote environment.

Set intentions... 

Everyone has their own methods for working from home. Many people suggest following a morning routine, getting dressed for the day, and setting aside a dedicated work area. This advice comes down to being intentional about how you organize your work-life balance. We are mindful that as many people are navigating working from home for the first time, there may be additional responsibilities to balance such as children, partners, or other family members at home.

Developing a successful routine for working from home can take some time and will look different for everyone. Set intentions about what remote work will look like for you, being realistic about what your situation allows and the unique challenges of this moment. This could be setting a time you want to be online by, how you’ll communicate needs with your family for peace and quiet, where you’ll work, whether you’ll wear full-on business casual with shoes or be more comfortable, or what time you’ll sign off. Switching to remote work is a major lifestyle change that will require some trial and error. Being intentional about your workday and routine will help take some of the guesswork out of what each day looks like. 

...but be flexible

As you adjust to this new reality, be flexible and try out new habits or techniques to see what works best for you, your team, and your organization as a whole. Try out different environments or settings to see where you are most comfortable at home. You don’t just have to be at a desk or your home office, one of the advantages of working remotely many of us have found is being able to change your location during the day. While this used to mean going to a coffee shop or a library, now it might mean moving to a deck if the day is nice or standing up at a kitchen counter for a while. 

Additionally, be open to new systems for organizing work. Whether it’s an online system like Trello or Google Keep, or utilizing video chat or a messaging platform like Slack in a new way. Working remotely necessitates communicating and collaborating differently with each other. Your team will have to set new expectations and intentions about what success looks like in this work environment. How will you manage projects, track progress, and work together?  

This is a time of great change for everyone, whether or not you have worked remotely before. Be open to your work habits changing - it’s all part of the new reality. And look at this as an opportunity to re-evaluate how you work best and discover new habits or techniques that can help you in the future. 

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Working remotely means communication happens differently than in a traditional office. You’re expected to do the same work, but in a new environment where you can’t just stick your head in a colleague’s office or have a face to face discussion. 


On a very practical level, you need to make sure everyone knows the best way to stay in touch and collaborate. At Diversity Abroad we have outlined which purposes or situations a communication tool should be used for. Generally, we message each other through Slack to coordinate projects, ask for help, and check-in. Email is reserved primarily for in depth project instructions or external communications and we also have standing organization-wide and smaller team calls to plan for the week, brainstorm, and provide project updates. Setting these expectations requires intentional communication, as well as discussion and re-evaluation.


It’s also important to work as a team to discuss what everyone’s needs are during this time. Do you need to run errands or walk the dog during the day? Or will you be starting work extra early in order to spend a few hours later in the morning with your kids or family? People’s hours may change now that they are working from home. Remote work can offer much more freedom and flexibility so people can make their schedules work to their needs. At Diversity Abroad, we keep our calendars up to date with meeting times and focused project times (Quiet Hours) clearly marked or mark off OOO (Out Of Office) so our colleagues know whether we have time to talk or if we won’t be quick to reply to a message.

 Self Care

While working from home is a highly individual experience, it doesn’t have to be a lonely or isolating one. This is a challenging time for many people, and seeking support or expressing how you are doing is important. You miss out on a lot of casual interactions and conversations when working remotely, so set aside time for checking in with each other. Many of our team members have standing one on one meetings with each other to review projects and set goals, but also to catch up and see how each other is doing. Take time to connect with and support your colleagues, while also checking-in with yourself. Go on a walk, do exercises, or just get up and walk around the house every couple hours. Make an effort to disconnect from email or Slack during lunchtime or breaks by reading a book or turning off notifications.


We hope these tips inspire you, as you adapt to working full-time from home and make it a successful transition in which your team can support each other. 

Tags:  career  Diversity Abroad Staff  professional development  professional skills  resources 

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High School Global Education - A Guide for High School Educators, Counselors, and Administrators

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 2, 2019

Contributed by 2017-2018 Diversity Abroad High-School Task Force members:
Jenny Doder - API, Abel Estrada - University of Colorado, Boulder, Eileen Kelly-Aguirre - School Year Abroad, Kristin Labs - IFSA Butler, Rebecca LeBlond - Democracy Prep Public Schools, Daisy Rodriguez Pitel - Pima Community College, Darin Smith-Gaddis - CAPA The Global Education Network, Shayna Trujillo - Diversity Abroad 

High School Global Education - A Guide for High School Educators, Counselors, and Administrators


High school professionals must recognize the critical transformation occurring at so many higher education institutions that are pursuing strategic internationalization. If students are to be adequately equipped for the undergraduate experience, readying students for global learning must begin alongside all the other relevant preparations for college. Likewise, higher education counterparts should consider their role in setting and communicating expectations around what knowledge, skills and experiences shape a well-prepared undergraduate. This guide serves as a resource for any educator or administrator interested in refining and strengthening their efforts to integrate global education opportunities into their offerings or services. Both high school and higher education professionals may find information which can serve as inspiration or a model to be interpreted and applied within their own organizations and educational institutions.

Click here to read the full report (Member Access Required)

Tags:  global education  high-school 

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Foundations for Supporting Students with Disabilities - A Guide for In-Country Teams

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 6, 2019


Contributed by 2018-2019 Diversity Abroad Access for DisabilitiesTask Force members:
Lauren Schuller - Bentley University; Michael Alijewicz - ISEP; Cheryl Beverly - James Madison University; Wanda Dutton- SIT Study Abroad; Callie Frost - Binghamton University; Jenny Sullivan - Rochester Institute of Technology

Foundations for Supporting Students with Disabilities - A Guide for In-Country Teams


Students with disabilities are engaging in international educational experiences in increasing numbers, and this is great news! This document rests on the belief that support and access for students with disabilities enhances the experience for all international education stakeholders and that it is a shared responsibility to make sure students with disabilities have inclusive experiences abroad. The purpose of this document is to give context and resources for in-country international education staff on the subject of U.S. study abroad students with disabilities.

Click here to read the full report. (Member Access Needed)

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Asian Americans in Global Education - Literature Review

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 29, 2019


Contributed by 2018-2019 Diversity Abroad Race & Ethnicity Task Force members:
Gregory Rafal – University of Maryland; Kathleen Cancio - Independent; Charles Lu- University of California, San Diego; Kandice Rose - IES Abroad; Candice Snowden - University of Massachusetts Amherst 

Asian Americans in Global Education


Educators and researchers have focused on understanding the influences and barriers for underrepresented students in study abroad, however, the research has predominantly focused on students of color as whole or solely on African American students. There is little research that focuses on Asian American students and the varied ethnic groups there within. This literature review is comprised of the existing research on the factors influencing Asian American students to study abroad and the barriers that may prevent Asian American students from studying abroad.

Click here to read the full report. (Member Access Needed)

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