NAFSA CEO to take over NIEA leadership

Having chaired the international network since 2019, Honeywood announced the change in leadership will take place in January 2022, when his three-year term comes to an end.

CEO of NAFSA Esther Brimmer was elected as the next chair of the network at a virtual meeting in October, taking up the chair on January 1.

“It’s probably important that we have a chair who is from one of the better resourced associations that has a number of members,” Honeywood said.

“More importantly, Ms. Brimmer is a former US state department diplomat and she is very much involved in issues around social inclusion and the importance of the internationalisation of education.”

IEAA is part of the NIEA, which also counts NAFSA, CBIE, AIEA, AMPEI and FAUBAI among its 15 members. The group meets formally twice a year, once in the global north and the other in the global south, Honeywood told The PIE.

“For more than 15 years, there has been a network of global international education associations,” he said.

The main stated purpose of the network is to improve the quality of higher education and research through the exchange of information and dialog, advocacy for international education, professional development, and the discovery of new approaches to international education.

“In more recent years, we’ve also begun to work on issues around xenophobia and social inclusion”

“The NIEA provides the opportunity for like-minded international education associations to come together and share challenges, possible solutions to many of the issues we face in the international education sector,” Honeywood continued.

Issues range from learning abroad, to marketing communications, to admissions, he added.

“But, in more recent years, we’ve also begun to work on issues around xenophobia and social inclusion, particularly with the rise of nationalism in some of the association member countries.

“So, whether it be Hungary, whether it be Trump’s America, Bolsonaro’s Brazil, where we’ve had nationalism that has seen international education as a threat — to their national prerogatives, to their nationalistic culture – we have worked together to find ways and forums in which to call this out and to really highlight the importance of the internationalisation of education for global citizenship attributes.”

Members also discussed a paper to be presented at UNESCO global education conference in Barcelona in May 2022, which has a strong emphasis on global citizenship and education’s role in social inclusion.

Another issue NIEA is advocating on is brain-drain, Honeywood added.

“Countries of the global north are often quite rightly accused of recruiting the most academically gifted young people, from developing countries and the global south, to study in their countries — and then often they give them citizenship. And, then those bright young people are lost to those countries of the global north,” he told The PIE.

“In order to provide solutions to the brain-drain, our associations advocate strongly for scholarships that encourage students to do their field-work in their home countries — thereby enabling them to return to provide important intellectual benefits to their home countries in the process,” Honeywood highlighted.

Xenophobia has to a degree been reduced in some countries like the US, but worries remain in Brazil and Hungary, he said.

“The big concern that we have is that the global citizenship attributes need to be promoted, to breakdown such perceptions.”

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