19 June 2024 at 5:20 pm

New Zealand education on the world stage at NAFSA 2024

New Zealand’s eight universities joined Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) on the New Zealand pavilion at this year’s NAFSA conference, the largest international B2B education event in the world. The 2024 theme was centred on ‘Resilience. Renewal. Community’. 

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More than 8,500 international education professionals descended on New Orleans to take part in the 76th annual NAFSA Association of International Educators (NAFSA) conference from 28 to 31 May. Due to its scale, the conference is an important strategic platform for New Zealand in raising brand awareness for our international education offerings. 

This year, the New Zealand Pavilion featured imagery from ENZ’s new brand campaign Learn New Every Day. The pavilion provided an eye-catching focal point to showcase the New Zealand education brand, our education products and services and proved a friendly meeting point for the hundreds of meetings and engagements held over the course of the week.  

With an audience of thousands of international education professionals in one place, the University of Otago harnessed the opportunity to launch its new brand. Jason Cushen, Director – International from Otago said that NAFSA was the perfect place to launch amongst our global partners and friends, the university’s new tohu (symbol) and Te Reo Māori name, Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka, a metaphor meaning A Place of Many Firsts. 

ENZ’s NAFSA team at the celebration of the international launch of the University of Otago’s new brand and Te Reo Māori name – Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka. From left to right: Natalie Lulia, Associate Director of Engagement North America, DuBois Jennings, Director of Engagement North America, Amy Rutherford, Regional Director for Americas, Middle East and Europe, Ben Burrowes (Regional Director for Asia, excluding China and Acting General Manager International), and Janine Huxford, Manager, Global Events and Education Agents.

To open New Zealand’s participation at the event, ENZ and all eight universities co-hosted a networking event ‘The New Zealand Experience. Welcome remarks were shared by Amy Rutherford, ENZ’s Regional Director for Americas, Middle East, and Europe and Counsellor (Education) with Distinguished Professor Jacinta Ruru, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori at the University of Otago, as MC for the evening. 

Amy said that the networking event was an opportunity to celebrate reciprocal partnerships, which form the cornerstone of the New Zealand International Education Strategy.  

Key partners and stakeholders from around the globe were invited to connect with our New Zealand education representatives at the networking function. It also gave us the opportunity to showcase and celebrate New Zealand’s international education with old friends and new and set the tone for a busy and positive week of more networking, meetings, and valuable engagements. 

This entire week is incredibly important for amplifying our visibility and credibility as a small but high-value education host country on the world stage. Having a presence here means we can meet face-to-face and build sustainable relationships with a wide range of players in our sector on a scale that, due to our location in the world, we do not get to do every day,” added Amy. 

ENZ’s Regional Director AMEE, Amy Rutherford, with Carlos Enrique Vecino Arenas - Director for International Affairs, Universidad Industrial de Santander and Giovanni Anzola, Director International Relations, Universidad Externado during a meeting with Colombia Challenge your Knowledge at the New Zealand Pavilion. Amy is holding poi which were given as gifts to partners.  

ENZ also took part in a panel talk called ‘What is indigenous-led internationalisation’? The panel explored how indigenous and non-Western knowledge and worldviews are essential for intercultural learning through the experiences and work of Māori education experts. The panel provided examples of how indigenous ways of knowing and being can enhance intercultural learning and what Indigenous-led internationalisation looks like in practice.  

Moderated by DuBois Jennings, ENZ’s Director of Engagement North America, the panel of experts included Distinguished Professor Jacinta Ruru, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori at the University of Otago, Paulette Tamati-Elliffe, Manager at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and Natalie Lulia, ENZ’s Associate Director of Engagement. The session was very well attended with the NAFSA Board Chair LaNitra Berger commenting that the session was incredibly informative and well done.   

ENZ’s Associate Director of Engagement, Natalie Lulia participating in a panel talk called ‘What is indigenous-led internationalisation?’ at NAFSA 2024.

Natalie said that it was a wonderful opportunity to be invited to showcase the important work that Aotearoa New Zealand is doing within our indigenous internationalisation ecosystem and our unique approaches to international education. 

“It is not often you get to hear the perspectives of expert voices from iwi, university, and government agencies who are the driving forces behind this work, let alone on an international platform such as NAFSA. 

“We are seen as a world leader in this area, which is why the session proved so popular and people were having to sit on the floor! I am looking forward to continuing this discussion next week at the British Columbia International Education Week Conference in Vancouver where I have been invited to speak on this topic, alongside the CE for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Professor Wiremu Doherty,” added Natalie 

Following the success of New Zealand’s participation at NAFSA 2024 it will be ENZ’s turn to host our friends from NAFSA in a few weeks. We will be welcoming Dr Fanta Aw, CEO and Executive Director of NAFSA, and LaNitra Berger, NAFSA President and Chair of Board of Directors, to New Zealand when they will attend the NZIEC KI TUA conference from 6 to 8 August in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.  


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