NAFSA 2011

NAFSA: Association of International Educators (formerly National Association of Foreign Student Advisers)

From May 29 - June 3, 2011, Academic Advisors from the UAE Cultural Division representing the Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research (MOHESR), Abu Dhabi Police (ADP), UAE University (UAEU), and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) gathered with more than 8,000 international educators in Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) to attend NAFSA's 63rd Annual Conference and Expo.  The theme of this year's conference was "Innovation and Sustainability in International Education.”

The UAE Cultural Division worked with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Cultural Offices in planning and setting up the GCC booth at the Vancouver Convention Expo, which is part of NAFSA's annual conference. The Cultural Division team answered questions on the UAE educational system, possibilities of establishing partnerships and exchange programs between the UAE universities and the US educational institutions, ways of improving the currently existing relations with the US universities, ways to provide better assistance by the International Students Offices to meet the needs of the current and future UAE scholars and other related matters. Accordingly, the Cultural Division team provided support materials for all inquiries related to the UAE's culture, education and tourism.

The UAE Cultural Division members attended workshops on "The ABCs of Visa Acquistion: What Students and Scholars Experience at a U.S. Consulate" and "SEVIS II.”  The UAE Cultural Division, in collaboration with other GCC Cultural Offices, presented a session on "The Gulf Cooperation Council Scholarship Programs: Challenges, Opportunities, and Expected Future Trends.” The session provided useful information on the areas of academic interest for students and expected future trends about academic fields based on GCC countries' needs for future research and development.

The Keynote Speaker for NAFSA's 2011 opening ceremony was Naif Al-Mutawa, Ph.D.  He is the creator of “THE 99”, the comic book series that promotes peace, acceptance, understanding, and cooperation through his multi-ethnic group of characters' Islamic faith. He discussed his efforts to integrate Islamic morals and values through characters and stories so they can appeal to a universal audience.

Furthermore, the Cultural Division participated in the organization of the GCC annual dinner, which was held at the Vancouver Aquarium, attracting 120+ guests from all US institutions. Also, the Cultural Division participated at the Poster Fair organized by EducationUSA, which was widely attended by visitors and attracted a wide variety of interest on the UAE.

NAFSA's 2012 annual conference will be held in Houston, Texas (May 27 - June 1, 2012)!