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By Esther Brimmer

Helen ClarkI am delighted to share the news that the Right Honourable Helen Clark, former administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will be the keynote speaker at the NAFSA 2017 Pathways to Peace Luncheon on Friday, June 2, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

I first met Helen Clark in 2009 as I was starting my job as the United States assistant secretary for international organizations, just 11 days before she started as administrator of the UNDP. On my first trip to the United Nations headquarters in New York in my new capacity, Helen invited me to meet—and to have a nice lunch—so that we could get to know each other. She and I had a memorable talk about the priorities we brought to new jobs with global scope.

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By Kelly Zuniga

Compared to other city centers, downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) struggles to be a pedestrian-friendly area. Sure, the sidewalks are wide and new businesses attract clientele to the area, but it can still feel like a ghost town sometimes. My hopes and dreams for Los Angeles include a continuously evolving and booming city center. That’s why this week I’m encouraging you to help revolutionize the vibe of DTLA by exploring different neighborhoods on foot.

For those interested in guided tours, the L.A. Conservancy offers walking tours with a neat focus on architectural history and culture. The tours run on Saturdays and cost $15 for the public. Be sure to book ahead of time because the spots fill up. If you would like to explore downtown on your own, download one of their PDF guides for a self-guided tour.

I wouldn’t be a good L.A. guide if I didn’t provide my own tour. Here is a list of places in DTLA that are worth visiting in my opinion. I shouldn’t take all the credit—the tour was originally designed by my best friend and I have modified it a bit. I will provide a quick explanation behind my selection, and include printable walking directions and a link to Google maps. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because this walking tour will most certainly help you reach your step goals for the day. Approximate time spent walking is 1 hour and 25 minutes, with plenty of stops in between of course. You might recognize some places from previous blog posts (I like when it all comes together!). Here we go!

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By Chanda Chen

In just a little over a month, we will kick off the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference & Expo in Los Angeles. This year’s theme, “Expanding Community, Strengthening Connections,” seems to be the perfect call to action for the challenges our field is facing during these extraordinary times. Our role as advocates for international education (IE) and as facilitators of intercultural understanding and global collaboration has become more important than ever.

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Agree or disagree about what action the United States should take in Syria, but the U.S. missile attack on Syria last week must be a turning point in U.S. Syrian refugees policy.

It stands to reason that if the President of the United States could not turn a blind eye to an indiscriminate chemical attack that killed scores of civilians in Syria, that same President must not ignore the imperative that the United States accept and welcome Syrian civilians as refugees.

The Syrian people are clearly suffering. Families and individuals have been fleeing Syria in a desperate attempt to stay alive for years, and neighboring countries have taken on the greatest burden. In February 2016, it was estimated that Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt together took in more than 4.8 million Syrian refugees, and European countries have also taken in large numbers of Syrians and other refugees. In sharp contrast, the United States has taken in just over 18,000 Syrian refugees since 2011.

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Edited by Ellen Badger

This month’s Advice From The Field column is authored by Sue Marlay, past-coordinator of NAFSA’s Phase II Member Interest Group. Sue offers strategies for dealing with a difficult supervisor.

Q: I am in a very challenging situation due to a supervisor who takes credit for the work of others, has favorites, and criticizes more than praises. Many of my office colleagues feel the same way. Due to family considerations, I can’t relocate. What are my options?

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By Dawn Cepica

Our final NAFSA 2017 Current Topic Workshop (CTW) Spotlight Series entry features Marybeth Gruenewald, director of global initiatives for Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. Marybeth will join co-trainers Marina Malgina, head of the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education’s Section for Recognition of Refugees’ Qualifications; Jeannine Bell, senior assistant director of admissions at the University of Colorado-Boulder; and Ceren Genc, location manager for Study Group, to present a critical training at NAFSA 2017, “Developing Admissions and Evaluation Procedures for Students with Non-Verifiable Documentation.”

“The current refugee crisis is not a new phenomenon,” says Gruenewald. “Migrants seeking new venues for employment, immigrants seeking lands offering better opportunities, and refugees seeking a safer life, a life away from civil war and famine—all of these populations have been moving and migrating and running towards something while running away from something else for centuries. The time is right for this workshop as the refugee crisis itself begins to cross over more and more borders.”

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From cities to wilderness, Southern California has tons for NAFSA 2017 attendees to explore. Check out these fun day trips that will leave you feeling like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in [Los Angeles] anymore…”

Heading Towards the Border

Temecula
Temecula, it’s spacious, warm, and dry—perfect conditions for wine country! I used to consider a weekend in Napa Valley as the ultimate wine escape. However, I never seem to make it up north because Temecula is only two hours away, and—more importantly—wine flows aplenty! Most wineries are located on Rancho California Road. Wine aficionados could spend all day here, but keep in mind that wineries close early in the evening. Tours and car services are available, which you may want to consider since the wineries are driving distance apart. For the best sourdough bread with brie cheese, visit Maurice Car’rie Vineyard. You’ll thank me later! All winery backdrops are spectacular in their own way, which is why it is a popular wedding destination, so don’t forget your camera. Thrill seekers, Temecula is also a playground for hot air ballooning and skydiving.

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By Yenbo Wu

The field of international education sits at the intersection of profound and wide-ranging questions. How do nations balance the forces of economic independence and interdependence? What role does immigration play in cultural and economic vitality? What risks does it pose? What is the relationship between collaboration, competition, peace, and conflict? Diversity, unity, creativity, and problem solving?

The past year has brought challenges and opportunities to our field: upheaval in Turkey; a peace accord in Colombia; Brexit; growth of the global middle class and increased demand for higher education; continued humanitarian crises in Syria; reimagined relations between the United States and Cuba; and a new U.S. presidential administration posing challenges on immigration both rhetorically and in policy. Such trends and events make me stop; seek information and evidence; and consider varied perspectives that help me understand the movements today that have a real impact on higher education.

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By Dawn Cepica

This week’s NAFSA 2017 Current Topic Workshop Spotlight Series entry features a conversation with Anne Hayner, associate director for alumni relations at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame.

Hayner, along with co-trainers Erin Hillis, associate director of international programs at Rhodes College, and Liz Cosgrove, center director at ELS Language Centers – Dallas, shares insight into why their NAFSA 2017 Current Topics Workshop (CTW), Academic Ethics Across Cultures: Preparing Your Students and Your Campus, is so valuable and timely for international educators today.

“In 2017, the topic of academic ethics across cultures has only become more relevant,” says Hayner. “When charges of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ are in the daily headlines, how does this affect the way we teach about plagiarism and cheating? In a ‘post-truth’ era, can academic integrity be satisfied by proper citation?”

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By Kelly Zuniga

We, international education professionals, know that food is a key to discovering culture. If there is one facet of Los Angeles that speaks for our values, it is our culinary scene. L.A. is beaming with international dishes, often presented with Angeleno flare. In this post, I will introduce some of my preferred restaurants, with a special focus on those closest to downtown Los Angeles.

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