Institute of International Education Recognizes NAFSA with Inaugural IIE Center for Access and Equity Empower Award

NAFSA: Association of International Educators was selected for its deep commitment to advancing access and equity in international education opportunities.

WASHINGTON, DC, July 6, 2023 – The Institute of International Education (IIE) is honored to present NAFSA: Association of International Educators with the inaugural IIE Center for Access and Equity Empower Award.

IIE created the Empower Award to honor outstanding organizations and individuals who have demonstrated exemplary diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) contributions and to elevate strategic models of advancing access and equity in international education. The award ceremony, which took place in Washington D.C. on June 26, 2023, served as a platform to recognize NAFSA’s exceptional commitment to DEIA in its organizational strategies and programming. In March, IIE launched the Center for Access and Equity to convene and propel individuals, organizations, and governments in advancing DEIA in international education.

“NAFSA’s remarkable dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access aligns closely with IIE’s mission, and we commend their exceptional efforts in shaping a more inclusive and equitable landscape in international education,’’ said Lindsay Gee Calvert, Director of the IIE Center for Access and Equity. “The two organizations have a longstanding history of collaboration and agree there is more work to do together to cultivate and invest in the evolving international education field, especially among the newer generation. The award further strengthens the bonds between IIE and NAFSA and solidifies our shared commitment to DEIA.”

Throughout NAFSA’s 75-year history, the organization has consistently demonstrated its dedication to and belief that “international education advances learning and scholarship and fosters understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives” and that “international education lies at the core of an interconnected world characterized by diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and social justice.”

“Receiving the Empower Award is a welcome acknowledgement of NAFSA’s long standing commitment to expanding the international education ‘tent’ to be more inclusive and reflective of the world we live in,” said Fanta Aw, executive director and CEO of NAFSA. “Making the profession and a global education itself more accessible and equitable for all is at the core of NAFSA’s mission. We are grateful to have IIE’s partnership in this space and will continue to work closely with our partners and members on this incredibly important endeavor.”

NAFSA’s programs have had a profound impact on creating access to international education for professionals and students alike. Its RISE (Representation, Inclusion, Support, and Empowerment) Fellowship, for example, gives international educators from underrepresented minority backgrounds access to training, professional development, mentorship, and networking while its Tamara H. Bryant Memorial Scholarship creates study abroad opportunities for Black undergraduate students to enhance their personal and professional growth in an increasingly global environment.

The IIE Center for Access and Equity Empower Award paves the way for further collaboration and opens new avenues for joint initiatives in the DEIA landscape. The Center’s IIE Passport Project—a grant aiming to assist 10,000 Pell-eligible U.S. students to obtain U.S. passports to study abroad by the end of the decade—received a 2023 AAUA Khaladjan International Award for Innovation in Higher Education last month. In addition, the Center was named as a 2023 PIEoneer Award finalist; the PIE News will announce the winners in September.

This annual award marks a significant milestone in advancing global education opportunities that are accessible and equitable for all individuals; it includes a monetary gift in support of recipients’ strategic DEIA initiatives. IIE remains committed to fostering collaborations and opportunities that contribute to greater access, and a more inclusive and diverse international higher education community.

About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in designing and implementing international education strategies and program services. We work with governments, policymakers, educators, and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. With support from donors, we also create initiatives that assist students, scholars, and artists whose lives and work are threatened; expand teaching and learning across cultures; and provide opportunities to underserved populations. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has an extensive network of offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,600 higher education partners. Learn more at

About the IIE Center for Access and Equity
The IIE Center for Access and Equity aims to advance accessible programming and equitable practices in community building that enrich and expand international education, exchange, and opportunity for all. Through dialogue and action, the Center leverages programs and partnerships that examine the intersection of international education with diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; cultivates global learning to support engagement and understanding of individuals and communities; and supports access for underrepresented communities by examining and addressing structural inequities. Learn more at

About NAFSA: Association of International Educators
Founded in 1948, NAFSA: Association of International Educators serves more than 10,000 members and international educators worldwide. NAFSA is the largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange in the world, working to advance policies and practices that ensure a more interconnected, peaceful world. Learn more at

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