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Diversity & International Strategic Leadership Forum


The 2020 Strategic Leadership Forum – Inclusive Support for International Students – will take place virtually October 27-28, 2020.

Through its Strategic Leadership Forum, Diversity Abroad  brings together institutional leaders from across the nation to explore how Chief Diversity Officers, Senior International Officers and other diversity and international education leaders can strategically collaborate to provide inclusive support for inbound international students.

As diversity, equity and inclusion increasingly play a critical role in higher education, diversity and international education leaders must work to ensure both exchange and full degree international students are prepared to navigate the diversity & inclusion landscape as well as be supported as they explore their own intersectional identities, including that of being an international student. Furthermore, diversity, equity and inclusion work must be made less US-centric and globally inclusive.

The COVID-19 pandemic and threats to the mobility of international students, including visa restrictions in the US, demonstrate the need for whole-hearted support of these students across all offices and departments on campuses and within organizations. The Strategic Leadership Forum will demonstrate the shared goals and opportunities for collaboration that can enhance the support for and improve the success of international students.

This virtual event is pertinent for any senior leader engaged in supporting international students. Participants of the forum will learn from inspirational speakers and panelists about the challenges and successes faced through their work to bring this important topic to light. They will also have the opportunity to engage with fellow senior leaders/colleagues and ultimately walk away with a blueprint for meaningful collaboration to implement on their campus. A publication from the forum featuring the work of the group will follow.


Tuesday, October 27

9:00-9:15 am PDT – Welcome & Introductions

Participants will be welcomed to the third annual Strategic Leadership Forum, focusing on Inclusive Support for International Students.

9:15-10:00 am PDT – Plenary & Discussion

10:15-11:00 am PDT – Think Tank: Identifying Opportunities for Better Engagement of International Students in the US #1

Across the country there are a variety of promising practices for how the campus community can strategically collaborate to reach the goals of their individual units as well as the campus as a whole. This session will allow participants to take a deep dive into exploring collaborative opportunities to increase inclusion for international students on their respective campuses. Participants will group together to focus on one topic area.

Topic/Outcome areas:

  • Faculty & Staff Engagement
  • Advocacy
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Community & Local Engagement

11:15-11:45 am PDT – Discussion on Current Issues

Join Andrew Gordon, CEO & Founder of Diversity Abroad, for an engaging conversation with senior leaders about the current challenges and opportunities institutions and organizations face in engaging international students and scholars through a diversity & inclusion lens.

11:45 am-12:15 pm PDT – Think Tank: Identifying Opportunities for Better Engagement of International Students in the US #2

Participants will continue their group discussions of one of the four topic areas.

12:15-12:30 pm PDT – Sharing out & closing thoughts

The first day will end with an interactive activity allowing participants to report out some of their ideas, questions, and thoughts from the Think Tanks.

Wednesday, October 28

9:15-10:00 am PDT – International Student Panel

A group of international students currently enrolled at U.S. institutions will provide perspectives and experiences to frame the discussion for the second day.

10:15-10:45 am PDT – Lightning Round: Innovative Practices for Inclusive Support of International Students

Presenters will share selected innovative practices from their institutions in a “lightning round” style to highlight creative solutions that are currently being done.

10:45-11:15 am PDT – Think Tank: Identifying Opportunities for Better Engagement of International Students in the US #3

Participants will continue their group discussions of one of the four topic areas. They will discuss recommendations and prepare an informal group presentation for after the break. Instructions and assistance from the facilitators will be provided.

11:20 am-12:15 pm PDT – Think Tank Reporting Out & Final Reflections

Each of the Think Tank Topic/Outcome groups will have 10 minutes to present and respond to questions and feedback from the larger group. To conclude the seminar, facilitators will provide time for closure and personal goal setting through a reflection activity. Comments from attendees and Diversity Abroad will conclude the seminar.


Registration closes Monday, October 26th

Strategic Leadership Forum Sponsor

Strategic Leadership Forum Planning Committee

Sherif Barsoum
New York University

Kati Bell
Dominican University of California

Lauren Chow
Babson College

Jennifer V2 Square
Jennifer Donaghue
The George Washington University

Andrew Gordon
Diversity Abroad

Carol Sumner_64
Carol Sumner
Texas Tech University