Happy Birthday, Connecting Our World!

Building on Momentum From Our First-Year Successes

On May 24, 2011, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the launch of Connecting Our World. In our first year together, we have:

  • Expanded the Connecting Our World community by registering nearly 1,700 new members.
  • Sent approximately 4,000 letters to Capitol Hill, President Obama, and various agency officials on issues such as immigration reform, the DREAM ACT, the Simon Study Abroad Program, the federal budget for international education programs, and other issues.
  • Successfully advocated for President Obama to lift tight restrictions on academic travel to Cuba, opening the door to educational exchanges.
  • In coalition with other organizations, sent hundreds of letters to Congress urging restored funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). As a result, USIP received funding in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget and will not have to shut its doors.
  • Continued our advocacy on behalf of the DREAM ACT, resulting in 22 senators asking President Obama in April 2011 to implement a fair and consistent policy to prevent the deportation of DREAM Act-eligible students.
  • Delivered multiple messages throughout the year to the White House emphasizing the need to make study abroad an integral part of the education of today’s college students, and to connect young people around the world, resulting in numerous speeches by President Obama and the First Lady echoing these key messages.

We are energized to make a difference for international education and build on our momentum in the coming year. As NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson points out in her article, “Front Lines: Doing What We Can,” successful advocacy takes persistence, especially in an environment that isn’t always friendly to our issues.

What You Can Do

Successful advocacy also means recognizing that we all must do our part – we continue to need your voice, and we thank you for speaking out about the issues that matter to you! Visit the “Count Me In” campaign to learn more about what you can do to help grow our community.