30 August 2017 at 9:00 am

Connecting people to change the world

Dr Brimmer’s session, ‘Connecting people to change the world: international education and protectionist global environments,’ underlined how strong academic and cultural exchanges can help international educators in building a globally connected community. 

esther brimmer
Dr Esther Brimmer stressed the need for international educators to maintain strong academic and cultural ties in the face of growing protectionist environments.

Dr Brimmer, who is Chief Executive, NAFSA Association of International Educators, also highlighted the strong partnership between NAFSA and New Zealand as being a great way to foster support for international education.

“Our academic ties enable us to build civil societies. International educators, including generations of NAFSANS, are part of this legacy.

"So it is even more important that we maintain academic ties and collaborations at a time when international education is affected by global trends that have seen a dangerous rise in protectionism and a nationalist rhetoric.

“We must acknowledge the challenges of the present, retreat is not the answer. Barriers alone will not protect us, we are part of the solution, part of a globally interconnected economy,” Dr Brimmer said.

NAFSA has been working to ensure US campuses are welcoming for international students, especially after executive orders that instated travel bans against specific countries from travelling to the US.

Dr Brimmer said the orders caused a great deal of uncertainty and NAFSA joined the community in opposing these orders.

NAFSA has also been involved in a range of initiatives such as the #youarewelcomehere campaign on US university campuses and a special welcoming week in September to make international students feel welcome and safe.

Dr Brimmer noted that both the US and New Zealand are countries that value equality, inclusion and opportunity and have a long history of shared interests and collaborations. She said fear should not stop us from pursuing these ideals.

“NAFSA is committed to building bridges, not walls. I am confident that we will succeed in building a more global, internationally engaged global community,” Dr Brimmer said. 

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