Critical Dialogues

The Forum’s Critical Dialogues bring together no more than 50 participants and facilitators in an informal setting for facilitated, collegial discussion focusing on issues of concern to the field.

Critical Dialogues provide participants with the time and space to explore significant topics in depth. Spontaneous and authentic discourse is the goal. The discussion is facilitated by experts from inside and outside the field, yet largely free-form and unscripted. We hope that after indulging in a day of dialogue, attendees will return to their offices refreshed, recharged, and inspired.

Registration fee: $45


Environmental Sustainability and Education Abroad

Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 1-4 p.m. (prior to the NAFSA Region XI Conference)
Hilton Garden Inn, Worcester, MA
Facilitators: Johann Besserer (IOI); Daniel Ponce Taylor (IOI); Lucy Spelman (Rhode Island School of Design)

Education abroad professionals strive to increase the number of students who participate in safe, high quality experiences abroad. What does this mean for our impact on the planet? What environmental considerations should we have in place when choosing program partners or designing our own faculty-led programs? What can we do to equip students with the knowledge needed to make good programmatic choices, to understand the power of their actions, and to ignite a lifelong interest in protecting the places that impact them and which they impact?


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Decolonizing Education Abroad

Tuesday, November 12, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (prior to the NAFSA Region VIII Conference)
Charles Commons, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Facilitators: Cinder Cooper Barnes (Montgomery College); Elena Corbett (AMIDEAST)

Traditional study abroad has often aligned with traditional hierarchies of power: Mostly white students traveling to European destinations to study the dominant cultures of some of the world’s “greatest” colonizers. But does this align with the goals we profess for our field? As demographics and world politics shift, how can education abroad shift with them to deconstruct colonialist values and tendencies? How can we challenge ourselves and our students to examine our assumptions about the people we meet and the places we go? How do we help students engage with diverse and localized communities and histories during education abroad programming?


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Past Critical Dialogues

Community College of Denver logo

Education Abroad at Community Colleges

Tuesday, March 26, 2019, Hosted by the Community College of Denver

Facilitators: Tracey Bradley (Tennessee Consortium for International Studies/Pellissippi State Community College); Rosalind Latiner Raby (California Colleges for International Education); Stacye Fraser Thompson (Jefferson State Community College)

Community Colleges are the backbone of the American higher education system and their international education opportunities support diverse academic disciplines and student populations. In many ways, they are at the forefront of new education abroad paradigms. Yet these institutions are often left out of the larger discussions regarding education abroad. What lessons and advice can community colleges offer the larger education abroad community? What are the unique challenges for community colleges in the field of education abroad? What additional resources do these institutions and students require to ensure that the experience is successful? This Critical Dialogue will explore these issues and more and welcomes individuals from institutions who are starting education abroad programming, those with decades old programs, and institutions in between, to join this important conversation.

The Forum thanks the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies for sponsoring this Critical Dialogue.

Education Abroad in the Majority World*/Global SouthMetropolitan State University Logo, which includes an image of their mascot, Rowdy the Roadrunner

Tuesday, March 26, 2019, Hosted by Metropolitan State University of Denver

Facilitators: Alejandra Barahona (Universidad Veritas); Chris Deegan (University of Illinois at Chicago); Daniel Lumonya (SIT Study Abroad)

What is the Majority World*? What impressions does it evoke for us as professionals, and for students who choose to study there? What is our responsibility in preparing students to embark on their education abroad experiences? Once they arrive on-site, how do we engage them intentionally in their programs, and what happens when they return home? This Critical Dialogue will be facilitated by three colleagues, each with a unique point of view on education abroad in the Majority World. Join them to share your perspective on these and other provocative questions.

*Why do we use the term Majority World? As Marc Silver of NPR explains, it’s “a reminder to those of us in the West that we are but a very small minority on the globe.”

Resident Directors & On-Site Staff: Transatlantic Relationships and Maintaining Faith in the Field

Tuesday, October 16, 2018, Hosted by NYU Prague
Offered in collaboration with EUASA: European Association of Study Abroad
Communication across the ocean brings many challenges due to contrasts in local and U.S. legislation, absence of face to face meetings, and a lacking awareness of the complex tasks on-site staff face in a different cultural and political context. The goal of the dialogue is to create a platform for sharing best practices and to offer the opportunity to create an auxiliary network among European administrators.

Facilitators: Pia Katharina Schneider (Chair EUASA, Iowa State University of Science and Technology Rome, AACUPI ); Stephen Robinson (Board Member EUASA, President of ASAPI, Champlain College Dublin); Loren Ringer (Board Member EUASA; President of APUAF; Parsons Paris); Kline Harrison (Wake Forest University)

The Forum thanks EUASA: European Association of Study Abroad for sponsoring this Critical Dialogue.

Ethics in Education AbroadBoston University logo

Tuesday, March 20, 2018, Hosted by Boston University
It has been 10 years since the summer of subpoenas that jolted the field of education abroad, prompting a summit of leaders across the field and leading to the development of The Forum’s Code of Ethics for Education Abroad.  Has the ethical landscape of the field shifted since then, and if so, in what ways? What are the current ethical issues facing education abroad, or what might be lying just over the horizon? This Critical Dialogue invites free and wide-ranging discussion of ethical issues among education abroad professionals, with a view to continuing to develop best practices and a shared ethical compass.

Facilitators: Neva Barker (Director of Study Abroad and Global Education, Scripps College), Andrea Custodi (Director of Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, CET Academic Programs), Dan Dahlstrom (John R. Silber Professor of Philosophy, Boston University)

The Forum thanks Boston University for sponsoring the coffee service and CET Academic Programs for sponsoring the lunch.

Emerson College logo

Women & Leadership: Building Influence & Blazing a Path

Tuesday, March 20, 2018, Hosted by Emerson College
Offered in collaboration with the Global Leadership League
A 2017 Survey by CUPA determined that the percentage of women holding leadership positions in higher education remains at less than 30% (Bichsel and McChesney, 2017). How might these statistics compare with women leaders in education abroad? Are there practices and support structures that we should change to better address gender equality and leadership in the field? What roles should authenticity and influence play in redefining successful leadership for women? This Critical Dialogue will encourage education abroad professionals to identify challenges and next steps to change the future of women’s leadership in education abroad.

Facilitators: Francine Crystal (President, Crystal Clear Consulting), Cori Filson (Director, Off-Campus Study & Exchanges, Skidmore College)

The Forum thanks Emerson College for sponsoring the coffee service and the Global Leadership League for sponsoring the lunch.