Tag Archives: NAFSA

Dispatch from the NAFSA I, II, and IV Tri-Regional Conference in Denver

November 9th, 2017

Denver

Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI) attended the NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Tri-Regional conference this week in Denver.

855 international education professionals joined together to discuss issues surrounding the applied comparative education arena and looking toward to future to build bridges to advocate for our profession. The excellent conference held nine workshops, 131 professionals from all variety of services, 35 states represented, 115 poster sessions, the exhibition hall had record-breaking numbers with a total of 80 exhibitors, and they closed with a silent auction gala on the last evening.

From the Tri-Regional Conference website, it states that the NAFSA Region I, II, IV Tri-Regional Conference will bring sessions on current topics, established best practices, and emerging trends facing international educators in these regions.

Region I is comprised of the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington. Region II is comprised of the states of  Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming. Region IV is comprised of the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota.

Dr. Esther Brimmer, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, welcomed a large group of interested participants at breakfast on the first day of the conference.

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NAFSA Executive Director, Dr. Brimmer & Laura Sippel, ACEI’s Director of Marketing

As Dr. Brimmer welcomed the group, she expressed three ways we can build bridges to help move international education forward. First, she indicated that we need to keep honing our skills as international educators, secondly, building relationships and expanding our knowledge of working with colleagues, and lastly, being a collective community brings us together to improve our communication.

She indicated that learning about new techniques to address issues we face today will bring us together. “By joining together to be a bold voice to advocate for our field builds strong bridges for our international students,” Brimmer said. “We have to build on three levels: local, regional, and national. When we look to each other, we find strength and get tools to be a part of the solution. We have the tools to build a strong bridge and it will withstand the new challenges and we will have a more welcoming United States.”

Dr. Brimmer continued to ask what powerful and positive stories we can tell on our campuses, provide stories that resonate with our field, and that we build bridges together. She said we face roadblocks, but by speaking to State Representatives about the general climate for immigrants, we create a vibrant, diverse community.

The conference held several sessions providing trends, issues, best practices, and tools in our field.

ACEI held a lively “spin-the-wheel” to win a prize!  Many attendees stated this was the best way to get attendees involved and make new contacts and stay in touch with dear colleagues.

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The NAFSA Tri-Regional conference held individual state meetings and Dr. Brimmer personally attended the Region II (Arizona) state meeting, addressing the special needs of each state.

“NAFSA is dedicated to learning about our needs and providing ways to move us forward. I’m looking to the future and what helps our field in the first place,” Brimmer said. “We cannot be experts about your states, but we have a state-level tool kit. We can give back to our regions to be a part of such an amazing field.”

The well-attended business luncheon recognized leaders and emerging leaders of our field and indicated we are stronger than ever. The Conference Chair thanked all the people possible for making this great conference possible.

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NAFSA Luncheon

The conference concluded with an elegant silent auction and gala. This conference broke attendance records and indeed built bridges for our profession in Denver. ACEI had a very productive conference!

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Laura Sippel
Director of Marketing
Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

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Dispatches from the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA: A photo journal

June 1st, 2017

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This week, NAFSA, the world’s largest association dedicated to international education and exchange, brought together a diverse and vibrant community of nearly 10,000 global leaders and colleagues at its Annual Conference & Expo right here in ACEI’s backyard, Los Angeles.

More than 107 countries have been represented in a setting that emphasized the message, “We build bridges, not walls.”

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Marina Maligana of NOKUT (Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education)
with ACEI Marketing Director, Laura Sippel

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Marina Maligana of NOKUT (Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education)
with ACEI President, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

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NAFSA Exhibition Hall

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NAFSA Exhibition Hall

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NAFSA Exhibition Hall

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NAFSA President Ester Brimmer

NAFSA President Ester Brimmer at the opening plenary spoke on how as international educator, we are part of the solution. “We need to stay calm and stay woke,” she said in light of the current political climate. “We need to building bridges, not walls,” she added. Question she posed to the conference attendees was whether the “U.S. will see itself as part of the global community or pursue the path of isolationism.” She stressed the importance of “keeping the U.S. an open and welcoming place.”

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NAFSA Opening Plenary Speaker Isabel Wilkerson

NAFSA Opening Plenary  Speaker Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of New York Times bestseller, “The Warmth of Other Suns.” Ms. Wilkerson gave a moving and inspiring speech and shared excerpts of the presonal stories she had gathered for her book from the African American communities who had migrated from the American south during the Jim Crow era to the North, Northeast, and as far as the West, Hawaii and Alaska. Ms. Wilkerson message was that “we are one species and we in this together, we are not the social constructs that are forced on us.”

At ACEI, we agree with NAFSA’s message of diversity and inclusion and we want to stay globally engaged and educated.

We will pledge to protect our core values, as Americans, which include freedom, opportunity, and welcome.

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Dispatches from NAFSA 2016 Denver, Colorado

June 2nd, 2016

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The 2016 NAFSA: Association of International Educators’ annual conference was held in Denver, CO from May 29 – June 3. I was told that this year the conference had about 9,300 attendees which is a lower than last year’s 10,000 plus that was held in Boston, MA.  But, this still is a healthy turnout considering it is next to impossible to run into the same person twice given the scale and scope of the venue.

Barely twenty minutes into my arrival in Denver four nights earlier, and I learn my uber driver is from Eritrea. He’d first told me he was from Africa but I asked him which country. He then told me he is helping his sister, a high school graduate in Eritrea, to come and study in the U.S.  This of course prompted me to tell him about ACEI and our international credential evaluation service. I gave him my card to pass onto her. He was so happy that I knew of his country and could be of help. Made me equally happy.

I spent my first official day at NAFSA with a visit to the exhibit hall known as the International Education Expo. The large hall was a vibrant hub of more than 400 institutions, service and technology providers, and suppliers from around the globe. It felt like being at a World Fair, and in a way it was; a world fair focused on education. Clearly the message that this conference invokes is that by providing and encouraging study abroad opportunities and supporting services we are not only helping open the minds and hearts, but building bridges and breaking down prejudices.

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The International Education Expo, NAFSA 2016, Denver, CO

The conference’s opening plenary address was given by David Brooks, the op-ed columnist for the New York Times. As a senior fellow at the Yale University Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Brooks often focuses on topics connected with higher education and international affairs. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend his address but heart it was inspiring.

The Wednesday, June 1st Plenary address was given by Bryan Stevenson who is recognized as a visionary legal scholar, advocate, and champion for social justice. He is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization committed to fair and just treatment for all people in the U.S. legal system. A quote from Stevenson’s address that I jotted down was that “we must do uncomfortable things to change the world through education.” If we want to see change, we need to get out of our comfort zone.

The Thursday, June 2nd Plenary address was given by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, a journalist and author who focuses on the evolving roles of women throughout the world. She is a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and writes frequently about empowering women in developing countries through economic investment.  A couple of quotes that are worth noting and remembering from her address include: “What binds us is more important than what divides us” and “education is the great leader…all of a sudden you’re in a world where there is no difference between you and them.” Couldn’t agree more.

One way to participate in NAFSA, besides an attendee, or as an exhibitor, is to be a presenter. I was fortunate to have been part of two presentations: 1) Credentials Fraud and Diploma Mills – A Global and Growing Problem, which I co-presented with Drew Feder from Credentials Consultants, in Houston, TX and 2) Fighting Back Against Misconduct in the Academic Space which I co-presented with Teresa Axe and Michelle Hampton of Education Testing Services (ETS), Princeton, NJ, and Jonathan Burdick from the University of Rochester, NY. Both sessions were well received with great questions from the audience. The session I presented on Credentials Fraud and Diploma Mills had more than 100 attendees and the room was filled to capacity, so much so that people were being turned away. Clearly, Credential Fraud and Diploma Mills are a hot and timely topic, as more and more bogus institutions continue to pop up offering fake degrees for a price duping the public. For those who may have missed the presentation and those who attended and interested to have a free copy of our PowerPoint, please go this link on our website.

Besides the wonderful and inspiring plenary speakers, NAFSA conference program offered a plethora of sessions making it next to impossible to see and hear everything. If only we could clone ourselves and be at more than one session at the same time!

All and all, the NAFSA annual national conference is a great way to establish new partnerships, participate in networking opportunities, learn something new (even for us old-timers) and most importantly reconnect with friends/colleagues you’ve known for many years. The opportunity of seeing colleagues face-to-face whom throughout the year you engage with by Skype/phone/ email, text and social media is priceless and what makes the conference worthwhile and memorable.

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L-R: Robert Watkins, UT Austin, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, ACEI, William Paver, FCES, Zepur Solakian, CGACC, Kirstin Baker, GPS.
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L-R: Jackie Chu, University of New Haven, Solakian, CGACC, Madjid Niroumand, OCC

It’s time to say goodbye to NAFSA and Denver and head back to Los Angeles. The good news is, next year, the conference will be in Los Angeles, our very own backyard!

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Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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10 Takeaways from the 2015 NAFSA Region XII Conference in Honolulu, HI.

October 30th, 2015

Honolulu

The annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators Region XII Conference this year was held in Honolulu, HI and like years past, ACEI demonstrated its presence by having a booth at the Exhibit Hall and presented a conference session. Here are a few interesting facts about Oahu, NAFSA’s Region XII, the 2015 conference and our overall takeaway.

1. Oahu is an island in the mid-Pacific, part of the Hawaiian island chain and home to the state capital, Honolulu. Highlights of the city include historic Chinatown; the Punchbowl, a crater-turned-cemetery; and Waikiki, the iconic beach, dining and nightlife area. West of Honolulu is Pearl Harbor, site of the 1941 bombing attack and home to the USS Arizona Memorial

2. NAFSA is a professional association with a national and international membership for those working as international student advisors at U.S. public and private schools and institutions of higher education, as well as credential evaluation companies, international student recruiters, study abroad program providers, ESL schools, insurance companies, immigration lawyers and organizations offering services to international students.

3. Region XII of NAFSA convers the following States in the U.S.: California, Hawaii, and Nevada.

4. Over 500 members had registered and were in attendance at this year’s Region XII Conference. This is a healthy number, since a few years ago, barely 120 people had attended the conference held in San Diego.

5. Tuesday, October 27th, our Director of Communications, Yolinisse Moreno and I joined colleagues, Perry Akins Chairman of ITEP , Sharif Ossayran of President of Ascension Zepur Solakian of CGACC and Judy Judd Price, Deputy Executive Director of NAFSA, for dinner. Our conversation quickly veered into current events, politics, history and related books. We may not have solved world’s problems, but we each left with a list of must-read books!

6. My session “Diploma Mills & Fake Degrees: A Global Problem and Threat,” was scheduled on the program for Thursday, October 29th. I learned that a topic exactly like mine on Diploma Mills was being presented by another person a day earlier. Needless to say, having the same topic presented by two different presenters is something I’ve never experienced or witnessed before. Having served on NAFSA’s Southern District Region XII Committee and on its national conference planning team, I can say with confidence that programming two identical sessions was an absolute no-no. In fact, in such cases, conference programmers either choose between duplicate sessions on a first come, first served basis or invite both presenters to consider collaborating and presenting jointly.

7. Despite the duplicate programming issue, my presentation on Thursday was a success and those who attended, though not the large number that would have been expected had there not been a similar session presented the day before, found the talk highly informative and entertaining.

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Session on Diploma Mills & Fake Degrees presented by Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, President & CEO, ACEI

8. ACEI’s booth was also quite a hit with all of our fun island-themed swag intermingled with our serious literature on our evaluation, translation, and training services as well as our calendar of upcoming webinars. (To stay updated on our services and upcoming webinars, please click here.)

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Yolinisse Moreno, Director of Communications, ACEI

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View of the exhibit hall

9. Everyone’s favorite ACEI giveaway was our stress ball shaped like a pineapple. We had brought a couple hundred of them and they disappeared in less than 2 days!

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A parade of pineapples to relieve you of your stress!

10. Having Honolulu, HI as a conference destination was a great draw, though at times, dressed in our “casual” business attire, I felt like I was crashing someone’s family vacation! It was difficult to not stray from the conference hall. The warm breeze and our senses being bombarded by aromas of coconut infused sunscreens wafting by as we made our between hotel buildings to our meeting rooms were seductive temptations! However, despite the temptations of paradise, meetings and conference sessions were very well attended as was the exhibit hall where we reconnected with colleagues and regular clients of ACEI and made new connections. We look forward to next year’s Region XII conference in Palm Spring, CA.

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Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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