November 29, 2023

A common theme at the Washington DC conference was the organization’s commitment to supporting international students, teachers and administrators.

Outgoing President Jewell Green Winn reminded delegates that as a sector “we are stronger together” as he urged attendees to be advocates for international education at local, state and national levels.

The importance of advocacy was highlighted at ‘A View from the Hill,’ a breakout session facilitated by Jill Welch of the President’s Alliance, NYU’s Sherif Barsoum, and Imara Dawson of the University of Michigan. The trio discussed how the climate on Capitol Hill affects the work of international educators at the campus level.

“There are changes that require components to build relationships and develop champions”

“There are changes that require constituents to build relationships and develop champions,” Welch said. Barsoum shared key updates regarding premium visa processing times and the extension of interview waivers for certain non-immigrant visa applicants.

An overview of the state of the sector, titled “How are we doing – really?” was the theme of Tuesday’s opening plenary session, where panelists discussed new insights and the future of international education.

Winn expressed concern about how far the U.S. as a nation has come in addressing the historical injustices faced by students of color. She urged that much more needs to be done to truly consider programs and approaches to equitable international education.

She argued that issues of race and violence in the US deter many students from studying abroad. And judging by the 2022 numbers from Project Atlas, the trends are somewhat alarming for American leaders.

While the US remains the top destination for international students overall, the percentage of students has declined over the past 12 years compared to other locations. Meanwhile, Canada’s percentage nearly doubled over the same time frame.

A big win for the US is the number of higher education institutions in the country. With more than 4,000 colleges, the US has significantly more capacity than its top competitors: Great Britain, Canada and Australia.

Thus, the panelist pleaded that institutions’ efforts and funding match the language of internationalization outlined in strategic plans and mission statements.

In considering the changing landscape of international student mobility trends, Maria Claudia Soler of the American Council on Education stated, “Technology continues to be a huge access point that enables students to access a global education.”

Podium Education Co-Founder and President Chris Parrish discussed the power of technology to support students’ global experiences and foster their intercultural skills and 21Holy century of skills.

Collaboration was also highlighted as a critical part of the sector’s success. Popular sessions during the event were hosted by leaders from the Network of International Education Associations on current topics in various world regions.

EAIE President Piet Van Hove spoke with PIE news on key findings and commonalities between regions with different challenges.

“We want our sector to be more inclusive, diverse and sustainable,” Van Hove said. “And we do this by strengthening our collaborative dynamics. That’s the basis – bringing people together.”

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