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Pushing the Envelope - Diversity Abroad Initiatives for 2015

Posted By Andrew Gordon, Friday, January 16, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Back in 1989, director Robert Zemeckis and the rest of the filmmakers for Back to the Future II made some pretty exciting predictions about what life would be like in 2015. While hoverboards and flying cars have yet to materialize as modes of transportation, 2015 is still set to be an exciting year, especially for those of us in international education. For Diversity Abroad, 2015 marks eight years of operation, and it promises to be a year with new opportunities for engagement, enhanced resources for students and professionals, and broader initiatives that will impact diversity and inclusion efforts in international education and exchange.

Here are a few developments to look out for from Diversity Abroad that will impact access, inclusion, and diversity in international education.

1. Launch of new DiversityAbroad.com

On January 20th, Diversity Abroad will relaunch its flagship website, DiversityAbroad.com. The new site has been designed and developed with one goal, “Preparing the Next Generation of Global Leaders.” Through articles, student stories, resources guides, online events, and exclusive scholarships, DiversityAbroad.com gives students and parents from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds the tools to make meaningful international education experience a reality. DiversityAbroad.com has been and will continue to be the most robust free online rescouce for connecting students and recent graduates to international study, intern, graduate, and career opportunities. Visit DiversityAbroad.com on January 20th to learn how our new resources can help more of your students go abroad

2. Release of version 1.0 of the A.I.D. Roadmap

In February 2015 the Diversity Abroad Network will officially roll out version 1.0 of the Access, Inclusion, and Diversity in International Education (A.I.D.) Roadmap, the most comprehensive evaluation and benchmarking tool targeting access, inclusion, and diversity in international education. After nearly two years of development, this innovative resource will give institutions and organizations clear guidance on the types of practices that should be employed to increase participation and better serve the needs of diverse and underrepresented students in education abroad. Learn more about the A.I.D Roadmap.

3. Inaugural Global Student Leadership Summit

On March 22 - 24, 2015, while hundreds of professionals are gather for the 3rd Annual Diversity Abroad Conference, a group of exceptional students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, all with international experience, will gather in New Orleans for the inaugural Global Student Leadership Summit. Students from around the country will participate in hands-on trainings and student leadership sessions, identify and share emerging trends in international education, engage in critical dialogue, stay abreast of relevant and new resources, establish and maintain relationships with like-minded student leaders, and connect with higher education professionals and professionals from various public and private institutions and organizations. Learn more about how to nominate your student for the Global Student Leadership Summit.

4. Expanding the pipeline - K-12 Engagement

It’s no secret, the earlier students are exposed to global opportunities, the more likely they are to participate in them. While Diversity Abroad has always had resources for high school students, in 2015 and going forward direct outreach to high school students and their parents, as well as providing training and resources to K-12 educators, will be an essential aspect of our work.

5. New Projects & Services

2015 would not be complete without Diversity Abroad rolling out new services to its members and higher education community. What are they? You’ll have to wait and see, but what I can say is that we will continue to develop and fund new and innovative ways for students to connect to international opportunities. We will also expand opportunities for international, diversity, and other professionals to connect and have the resources to serve all of their students.

2015 will be a busy year for Diversity Abroad and everyone committed to increasing access and promoting diversity and inclusion in international education. We’re looking forward to partnering with you and your colleagues as we continue to lead the field of international education toward diversity and inclusive excellence. Do you have questions or suggestions for us? Interested in getting involved in these efforts? Send us a message and let us know your thoughts on access, inclusion, and diversity in international education: 

Tags:  AID Roadmap  Education Abroad Diversity  Outreach 

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Report Highlights Challenges HBCUs Face in Their Internationalization Efforts

Posted By Andrew Gordon, Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2016
A new report from the American Council on Education published this week highlights the challenges that HBCUs face in their internationalization efforts.
A link to the full report is included below as well as a summary from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

While many of these challenges may not be new, the report highlights some interesting and good work being done at the seven institutions that participated. 

This is also a good reminder that HBCUs and minority serving institutions play a valuable role in the diversification of education abroad activities because they serve a large portion of racial/ethnic minority students enrolled in higher education (for a quick snapshot of these numbers you can read the recent report from Excelencia in Education and UNCF titled "Black + Brown: Institutions of Higher Education").
For those of you working in and with the HBCU community, please feel free to share your thoughts on the topic.

Report Links:

Tags:  Education Abroad Diversity  global education  HBCU  HSI  research 

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Future Leaders Summit on Culture Participants Announced

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 28, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Diversity Abroad and CIEE are excited to announce the second cohort of professionals who will participate in a day-long Future Leaders Summit on Culture! We received applications from professionals around the country interested in addressing the barrier of culture to diversifying the students who participate in education abroad programming.

The 20 participants selected to participate in this Summit will travel to San Diego, CA on Sunday, March 30th prior to the Diversity Abroad Conference. They will engage in dialogue focused on identifying the barriers that culture creates to attracting diverse and underrepresented students to education abroad, developing strategies to address these barriers, and creating action plans to take back to their campuses. 


Future Leaders Summit - Culture Participants

Ahaji Schreffler Drexel University Study Abroad
Ann Lutterman-Aguilar Augsburg College
Carol Larson University of Pittsburgh
Christina Dinges Susquehanna University
Darielle Horsey University of Southern California
Frank Biafora University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Jay Minert University of California San Diego
Jeffery Collins Oglethorpe University
Jessica Francis Wake Forest University
Kate Regan University of Portland
Kenya Casey Emory University/CIPA
Krista Johnson Howard University
LaNitra Berger Honors College, George Mason University
Mandy Brookins Blinn DePauw University
Melody Stratton University of Kansas Office of Study Abroad
Rebecca Bergren Gettysburg College
Robert Bennett III The Ohio State University
Russell Brodie Saint Augustine University
Thandi Dinani University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Torian Lee Xavier University of Louisiana
Uttiyo Raychaudhuri Clemson Study Abroad
William Smith University of Georgia


This is one of three Future Leaders Summits that Diversity Abroad and CIEE have partnered to implement in order to address three institutional barriers to diversifying student participation in education abroad. In November, we hosted the first Summit focused on Curriculum and later this year we will implement the third Summit focused on Cost.

For more information about the Future Leaders Summit, please visit the Future Leaders Summit page.

Tags:  Diversity  Education Abroad Diversity  Outreach  Resources  study abroad 

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First Lady Michelle Obama Encourages Study Abroad to China With 100,000 Strong Initiative - Special Emphasis Put on HBCU's & HSI's

Posted By Andrew Gordon, Thursday, January 20, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2016

With China’s President Hu Jintao in Washington for a State Visit, First Lady Michelle Obama used the occasion as an opportunity to encourage American high school, community college and university students to pursue study abroad. Speaking at Howard University, Mrs. Obama pressed the importance of American students pursuing study abroad as a whole, and specifically study abroad in China.

“Studying abroad isn’t just an important part of a well rounded educational experience,” Mrs. Obama said.“It’s also becoming increasingly important for success in the modern global economy.”She also emphasized that study abroad does not just help individual students, but also the United States as a whole. “Studying in countries like China is about so much more than improving your own prospects in the global market… When you study abroad you’re actually helping to make America stronger.”

While the First Lady did an excellent job in highlighting the individual student and national benefits to study abroad, she was also keenly aware of the challenges we face in increasing the number and diversity of students studying in China. “There are too many students here in the United States that don’t have that chance (to study abroad) and some that do are reluctant to seize it. Maybe they feel that study abroad is something only rich kids do or maybe kids who go to certain colleges.” The Diversity Network agrees with the Obama administration that not only is study abroad to China important, but also that it is essential that diverse and underrepresented students take advantage of international education opportunities to China and other countries.

Reaching the goals of the “100,000 Strong Initiative” to increase the number and diversity of students studying in China will require that we as international educators accept the challenge and work to be more effective in recruiting and advising underserved students for study abroad to China. To be successful in this endeavor, we must do a better job in communicating to diverse students and their parents the positive impact a study abroad experience can have on their future academic and career goals. Reaching the 100,000 Strong goals will also require the nation’s Hispanic Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to increase capacity to provide more of their students with international education opportunities to China.

The 100,000 Strong Initiative’s goal to increase the number and diversity of American students studying in China is exciting. To fully realize this goal will require innovative approaches for reaching underserved students who traditionally have not taken advantage of international education opportunities. The Diversity Network and its members are committed to supporting the 100,000 Strong Initiative and any other initiative, which aims at diversifying the locations and the students who pursue international education.

Andrew Gordon is the founder and president of Diversity Abroad. He is a graduate of the University of San Francisco, where he studied business, economics and Spanish. He has studied, traveled and worked throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and South America. He started Diversity Abroad in 2006 with the focus of increasing global awareness and engagement among students and young people with an emphasis on diverse and under-served populations.

Tags:  100000 Strong Initiative  China  Education Abroad Diversity  First Lady Michelle Obama  HBCU  HSI  Minority Students  Study Abroad 

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Changing the Face of International Educators

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 28, 2010
Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2016

As the international education field strives to address issues of diversity and equity, what we cannot overlook is the lack of diversity among international education professionals. The demographic of international educators does not reflect the diversity of the students we aim to serve. Given that so many education abroad professionals are former study abroad participants themselves, the lack of diversity in the study abroad student population has a direct impact on the demographics of professionals in the field. The implications of this cannot be ignored. While we recognize that direct outreach to underserved students and their parents is essential to diversifying education abroad, it is equally clear that these students and parents may respond more favorably to advisors and education abroad representatives with whom they can identify.

Although I do not subscribe to the notion that one has to share the ethnic background of a student to effectively advise them, I do believe that these connections can enhance the relationship between advisor, student and their parents. This is particularly true when working with parents of first generation students and of students from certain ethnic backgrounds. That said, the reality is that few institutions are in the position to maintain a professional staff that reflects the diversity of the students on their campus and despite recent growth in international education, the number of diverse applicants for new positions remains relatively low. So what can be done?

First, we have to look for opportunities to partner with professionals of diverse backgrounds at our institutions and leverage these relationships to assist in reaching underserved students for international education opportunities. Although this does not directly diversify the field, it does help encourage more diverse students to study abroad by identifying its importance among diverse faculty and staff with whom students trust. Thus this increases the diversity among study abroad participants, which in turn increases the pool of potential candidates from diverse backgrounds for future international education positions.

We also have new opportunities to diversify the field each time an international education position becomes available, be it study abroad, international student services or other international education positions. When our administrative budget allows for a new hire, who are we encouraging to apply?Are promoting these opportunities to the same audience that we always have? By proactively promoting these opportunities to professionals who enhance and are committed to diversity, we will increase the number of diverse applicants for international education positions and we send a strong message to our peers about our institutions’ commitment to diversity among international educators. Many institutions have a diversity office that is responsible for maintaining a diverse workforce on campus. Be sure that you’re liaising with them when new positions open. Our colleagues in these offices can lead us to resources for reaching diverse candidates. There is also the Diversity Network Career Center, which was created as a platform for institutions and organizations that are serious and committed to recruiting diverse candidates to fill international education administration, faculty, and staff positions.

By creating and supporting efforts to diversify the field, collectively we can change the face of international educators and the study abroad students. This is no small task; it requires us to be open to new ideas and approaches in order to reach more diverse communities.The field of international education is comprised of creative, cosmopolitan and compassionate professionals who do this work, in large part, for the intrinsic value that it brings.As we look to the future, we must continue to display these qualities in our approach to diversifying the field of international education.

Andrew Gordon is the founder and president of Diversity Abroad. He is a graduate of the University of San Francisco, where he studied business, economics and Spanish. He has studied, traveled and worked throughout Europe, South America and Middle East. He started Diversity Abroad in 2006 with the focus of significantly increasing the number of non-traditional students who pursue international education opportunities.

Tags:  career  Diversity  Education Abroad Diversity  inclusion  International Exchange  Minority Students  mission  Outreach  professional skills  Resources  Study Abroad  Underrepresented Students 

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