News & Press: Press Release

Collaboration, Inspiration, and New Paradigms: 2018 Conference Re-Cap

Tuesday, April 17, 2018  
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6th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference: New Realities & Untapped Potential



Last week, a record 600+ professionals & student leaders gathered together in Miami to explore New Realities & Untapped Potential in global education at the 6th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference. More than 90 sessions, workshops, and poster presentations were facilitated by 150+ presenters, a number representing approximately one-third of those in attendance. Through our collaborative efforts, the Diversity Abroad community left inspired to implement best practices and new ideas to enhance support for our students toward success. Diversity Abroad’s CEO and Founder, Andrew Gordon, emphasized the importance of inspiration in this work during his welcome address:

“Inspiration is critical to the work we do because we’re in the business of changing lives and creating opportunity. At the core, the work we do around diversity & inclusion in global education is about educational equity.”

Immediately following these welcome remarks, Florida International University Senior University Counsel, Isis Carbajal de Garcia, welcomed attendees to Miami on behalf of the conference institutional host. On Monday, conference attendees started the day with a networking breakfast, featuring an announcement of the Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship Top Producing Institutions from the U.S. Department of State. In the afternoon, Juliana Faus, Southeast Market Diversity Leader at PwC, shared her organization’s diversity story and strategies for implementing inclusive best practices. The day closed out with a screening of the film Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities which examines the impact Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had on American history, culture, and national identity.

Tuesday events kicked off with an insightful plenary session featuring three institutional leaders. Dr, Martha Johnson, Assistant Dean, Learning Abroad - University of Minnesota, Dr.  'Dimeji Togunde, Associate Provost for Global Education & Professor of International Studies - Spelman College, and Dr. Robert Bennett, Education Abroad Specialist - The Ohio State University discussed what’s holding the field of international education back from making significant progress towards equitable access to global education opportunities. In addition to the thought-provoking plenaries & concurrent sessions, the 2018 conference also featured 85+ mentorship match-ups that connected junior colleagues with seasoned professionals to enhance the conference networking experience.

In conjunction with the professional sessions, the 2018 Diversity Abroad Conference welcomed the largest-ever cohort of almost 70 talented student leaders as participants in the 4th Annual Global Student Leadership Summit (GSLS). Students attended cohort-based leadership development sessions, and also shared their perspectives as panelists during the general conference Welcome Lunch, and as attendees of the all-conference plenary sessions, Big Idea Talks and Poster Community. For the first time ever, the Diversity Abroad Conference hosted a group of local Miami high school Upward Bound (a TRIO program) students & educators. High School students participated in an interactive session -- facilitated by Diversity Abroad’s Diversity in Global Education High School Task Force -- exploring the benefits of global education experiences.

The 2018 event also featured the 2nd annual Innovation Competition, sponsored by CAPA The Global Education Network. Before a panel of judges and the conference attendees, 8 teams presented their innovative ideas and programs that support internationalization efforts on campus and abroad. The top prize, a check for $2500, was awarded to the Amandla Project to fund a fellowship program providing educational opportunities in South Africa for university
students with physical mobility impairments. Checks for $1500 & $1000 were awarded to the University of Louisville (African American Male Initiative) and the University of Missouri (Engineering, Diversity and Service program to Panama) respectively. And, due to an unexpected on-site contribution from CAPA, a check for $500 was awarded to an undergraduate student group from Macalester College to create narratives online for and by students with multiple and intersecting identities.

New to the Diversity Abroad Conference, the 2018 event included the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) & Senior International Officer (SIO) Strategic Leadership Forum. More than 25 campus leaders joined efforts to explore opportunities for CDO’s & SIO’s to strategically align their units toward advancing inclusive campus internationalization. In the coming months, the group will publish a white paper on best practices for continued collaboration between these two important and strategic roles within the academy.

Through our collective commitments, the 6th Annual Conference -- together with the Global Student Leadership Summit and the MSI Summit on Global Education -- inspired professionals & students alike to challenge existing paradigms as we embrace educational equity as a new reality. In this sentiment, we hope you join us in Boston on May 2-5, 2019 for the 7th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference as we focus on Equity & Opportunity Through Inclusive Global Education.


4th Annual Global Student Leadership Summit



The 4th Annual Global Student Leadership Summit was held during the 6th Diversity Abroad Conference on April 7-10 in Miami, FL. This year, we welcomed our largest cohort yet -- close to 70 students representing 40 different colleges and universities across the U.S. GSLS students studied abroad in countries including Cyprus, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Senegal, Brazil, South Korea, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Japan, Ghana, France, Italy, Croatia, Cuba, Vienna, Argentina, Romania, Scotland, and Germany, and we were excited to host a new crop of diverse global leaders for another year of reflection, growth, and community building.

As in previous years, GSLS provided a much-needed space for diverse study abroad alumni to find community in one another while unpacking their experiences abroad. Our event kicked off with a compelling and inspiring Keynote, delivered by FIU’s Vice President of Engagement, Saif Ishoof. Saif told students about his own life’s work, his commitment to serving the larger Miami community, and challenged the students to utilize his network to leverage their own career paths by friending him on LinkedIn right away. Saif’s words gave students the energy boost to kick off a packed day one.

It was an honor to once again host a unique re-entry opportunity for diverse students at universities and colleges across the country. We look forward to hosting another cohort of incredible, diverse student leaders for GSLS 2019 in Boston, MA from March 2-5!

Read more about the GSLS on our blog here.


3rd Annual Minority Serving Institution Global Education Summit 



The 3rd Annual Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Global Education Summit, sponsored by Diamond Sponsor IES Abroad was guided by The American Council on Education’s Model for Comprehensive Internationalization. Participants learned about how this model can be leveraged to create strategic plans for comprehensive internationalization at their respective MSIs. Dr. Anthony Pinder, Associate Vice President, Internationalization & Global Engagement, Emerson College and Consultant to ACE provided an overview of the model and shared his expertise on leading internationalization efforts at various institutions. Participants then heard from David Levin, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Tanyelle Richardson, U.S. Department of Education about grant and fundraising opportunities to support internationalization efforts.

The venue, the Wolfsonian Museum located in the historic Art Deco district of Miami Beach was a spectacular backdrop to the powerful dialogue that unfolded during the “Chat” between Dr. Makola Abdullah, President of Virginia State University and Dr. Eneida Roldan, Associate Dean for International Affairs for the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University and Chief Executive Officer of the Health Care Network. These inspiring leaders spoke about their articulated institutional commitments and administrative leadership, structure, and staffing policies and practices to support internationalization efforts - their narratives also shed light on how to integrate diversity, inclusion and equity into their work lives.

The second day of the MSI Global Education Summit kicked off with a powerhouse team of panelists, Dr. ‘Dimeji Togunde, Associate Provost for Global Education at Spelman College, Dr. Hilary Landorf, Executive Director of the Office of Global Learning Initiatives at Florida International University and Charles Sasaki, Dean of Academic Affairs, University of Hawaii - Windward Community College. They shared their respective practices towards campus internationalization in the areas of curriculum, co-curriculum, faculty policies and collaboration and partnerships. Dr. Pamela Roy, Consultant, Diversity Abroad then facilitated an intensive three-hour workshop, guiding participants through self-reflection and dialogue to build strategic plans for campus internationalization.

The MSI Global Education Summit has become the premier forum for networking, sharing of best practices, and collaboration among colleagues from like institutions to reach a common goal - ensuring that students from MSIs have the skills, knowledge and experience to be successful in the 21st Century.