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Think Forward Summit

Think Forward Summit - Systemic Racism & the Field of Global Education

In the midst of recent protests and outcries against excessive police violence, we are collectively confronting a history of systemic racism that continues to impact Black, Indigenous, and People of Color on a global scale. Diversity Abroad invites full conference attendees to join the inaugural Think Forward Summit to critically examine our responsibility as global educators to undo systemic racism within education abroad, international student and scholar services, global engagement at home and the cultures of our workplaces. This 2-day event will provide expert perspectives on inequitable racial dynamics that persist within Global Education, innovative and forward-thinking ideas to foster a more inclusive future, and opportunities for attendees to engage in meaningful dialogue.

Think Forward Summit sessions (live access) are included in full conference registration. Registered Full Conference attendees will receive instructions via email for pre-selecting sessions prior to the start of the virtual Diversity Abroad conference.


Can’t make the main conference? Exclusive registration for the Think Forward Summit is now available and open through Sunday, August 9. Learn more here.


Monday, August 10 at 10:00-11:30am Central

Championing Equity & Inclusion: Confronting Our Fears About Engaging in Racial Equity Work

The field of International Education is poised to undertake a serious commitment to undoing racial injustices that permeate the field and the larger Higher Education sector. This work will require each of us to consider our roles, take responsibility within our scope of influence, and prioritize racial equity in our institutions/organizations. In order to champion racial equity, we must examine the fears and unconscious biases that may be holding us back.  This session will create space for this essential conversation and critical self-reflection.



Erica Ledesma – Diversity Abroad


  • Monroe France, Associate Vice President, Global Engagement and Inclusive Leadership – NYU
  • Kati Bell, EdD, Senior International Officer and Global Education Office Director – Dominican University of California
  • Rikke Kolbech Gudiksen, Project Manager – DIS Abroad

Moving Beyond Performative Allyship - Dismantling Systemic Racism in Global Education

As our global communities continue to advocate for collective action against systemic racism, there has been an increase in expressions of solidarity for this important cause. Within Global Education, how can we do our part to dismantle systems that perpetuate racism without participating in performative allyship? What does real action entail in order for the field to make progress?



Arielle Gousse – Diversity Abroad


  • Cristina Alfaro, Ph.D., Interim Associate Vice President for International Affairs & Professor of Dual Language Education – San Diego State University
  • Kelechi A. Kalu, Ph.D., Department of Political Science – University of California Riverside
  • Elaine Meyer-Lee, Ed.D., Senior Vice President & Provost – Goucher College

Monday, August 10 at 12:00-1:30pm Central

Racism, Xenophobia and the International Student Experience

International Students bring valuable perspectives to our campuses and are an integral part of the student community. While not new, there has been a noticeable increase in racist and xenophobic attacks directed towards International Students on campuses in the United States and beyond. In this session, presenters will explore this reality and focus on opportunities for global educators to foster communities of belonging where International Students are positioned to thrive.



Joelle Tolifero – Diversity Abroad


  • Shontay Delalue, Ph.D., Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity – Brown University
  • Felix Wang, PhD, Senior Associate Executive Director of Center for Global Engagement – James Madison University
  • Andrew Gordon, CEO & Founder – Diversity Abroad

A Global View on Systemic Racism (Latin America, Pacifica, Europe)

Systemic Racism is a global phenomenon that impacts students and professionals alike around the world. As we strive towards a more equitable future, what can we learn from global movements to combat systemic racism that can be applied within our own local contexts? This session will explore historical and modern-day realities of racism from a global perspective, with a focus on the following regions: Latin America, Pacifica, and Europe.



Wagaye Johannes – Diversity Abroad


  • Dr Zainab Khan, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Outcomes & Inclusion) – London Metropolitan University
  • Dr. Angela Randolpho Paiva, Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs – Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Dr. Darryn Russell, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori, Pacific and Equity – University of Canterbury & Chair of Te Kāhui Amokura

Tuesday, Aug 11 at 10:00-11:15 AM Central

Think Forward Summit Wrap-Up: A More Equitable Future

Join Diversity Abroad and expert panelists as we look forward to a more equitable future within international education. This session will provide summative comments on the Virtual Diversity Abroad Conference and the Think Forward Summit, outline Diversity Abroad’s actionable goals related to racial equity for the coming year, and provide an open forum for attendees to share innovative ideas towards this end.



Andrew Gordon, CEO & Founder – Diversity Abroad


  • Camila Nardozzi, Director for the Office of International – Education – Harvard University
  • Eduardo Contreras, Ed.D., Assistant Provost for International Education, Diversity and Inclusion – University of Portland
  • Sherif Barsoum, Associate Vice President of the Office of Global Services – NYU


Diversity Abroad will host the Think Forward Summit annually in conjunction with the Diversity Abroad Conference. Each year, the theme will reflect global trends related to inclusion and global learning with a focus on identifying actionable steps.