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Green River receives prestigious NAFSA award at Washington, D.C. ceremony

Green River received the 2013 Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Campus Internationalization at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 12.

Green River was selected by the National Association of International Educators as one of five institutions across the country to receive the Senator Paul Simon Award, which is given to colleges and universities that demonstrate comprehensive, well-planned, innovative international education efforts in all aspects of campus. This is the most prestigious national award for international education.

College representatives at the ceremony included Green River Board Member Tom Campbell, International Development Director Barry Bannister, and Dean of International Programs and Extended Learning Wendy Lee Stewart. Three Green River alumni now studying at American University and George Washington University joined the celebration.

In reflecting on how Green River was able to achieve this award, it is perhaps best encapsulated by the famous phrase, "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."
In its application for the award, Green River demonstrated various award criteria (the parts):  International students from almost 50 countries; Study Abroad programs; faculty and staff development and exchange; Fulbright scholars; curriculum reflecting a global perspective; and student programs that celebrate cultural diversity.

The magic, however, was in how "the whole" was brought together by the collective effort of many people: students (both international and domestic), faculty, staff, campus leaders, community members, host families and alumni. Together, they made the whole of international education at Green River greater than the sum of its parts.

The late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon was involved in foreign affairs and diplomacy. He strongly supported international education and exchange, believing that we can achieve peace and well-being through shared understanding. In the process of sharing and learning about cultures, languages, religions, ideas, and values, we connect, even form friendships. This is diplomacy 101.

The Senator Paul Simon Award is an honor for the entire Green River family. We should all be extremely proud of our collective efforts as a teaching and learning community to foster a global perspective and intercultural competency among our students, faculty, staff and the wider community. What we do helps prepare all students to be successful in the global economy and to contribute as global citizens in our interconnected world.

As a result, we can all believe what Green River Alumnus of Distinction Dr. Mark Emmert said: "You can go anywhere from here!"  

NAFSA award ceremony
From left to right: Mengdi (Mandy) Sun—Green River alumna from China, transferred to George Washington University, Business major; Koen Valks—Green River alumnus from The Netherlands, transferred to American University, International Relations major; Wendy Stewart—Green River Dean of International Programs and Extended Learning; Barry Bannister—Green River Director of International Development and Fulbright Specialist Scholar; Fanta Aw, PhD—NAFSA President and Chair of the Board of Directors and American University Assistant Vice President of Campus Life; Tom Campbell—Member of the Green River Board of Trustees; Gabriella Linardi—Green River alumna from Indonesia, transferred to George Washington University, Political Science major; Martin Simon—Son of the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon