Albion College's International Efforts Recognized at D.C. Event

November 19, 2014

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From left: Associate Vice President for Development Matthew vandenBerg, recently retired Provost Susan Conner, and President Mauri Ditzler with Albion College's Simon Award from NAFSA. (Photo courtesy NAFSA: Association of International Educators)

Back in February, Albion College received a national award for its campus internationalization efforts, among them its well-established and continually evolving role in what has become a triangular partnership between the City of Albion, its French Sister Cities of Noisy-le-Roi and Bailly, and the College.

Last night, President Mauri Ditzler was in Washington, D.C., as the College was recognized for its Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award, given by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Ditzler also served on a panel with presidents from George Mason University, The Ohio State University, and North Carolina State University that discussed steps colleges and universities can take to meet rising student demand for language study, access to study-abroad opportunities, and international experiences needed to compete for jobs in today's global economy. Two officials from the State Department gave opening remarks.

"This was a special event," Ditzler said. "It is very good to see Albion recognized on this national stage—to have validation of what we already know about the quality of our academic program.

"Our international efforts permeate every academic department and office on campus," he continued. "The Sister Cities certainly play a key role, and thanks must go to the community members on both sides of the Atlantic who started the relationship more than 15 years ago, as well as to the faculty and staff who have led the College's involvement. And I'm excited for what still lies ahead."

In September, a delegation from Noisy-le-Roi and Bailly visited Albion for Ditzler's inauguration and noticed references to the Sister City relationship throughout that weekend.

"We were very honored and flattered," Annick Theis-Viemont, president of the Noisy-le-Roi and Bailly Sister City committee, said at the time. "It says that [the relationship] is important for Albion College and the community, that it is working."

The College, which is also expanding a relationship in Costa Rica, was the lone private liberal arts institution honored at this year's NAFSA Simon Awards event. Columbus State University; Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; and the University of Texas at Austin were also recognized along with George Mason, Ohio State, and N.C. State.

The Senator Paul Simon Awards recognize outstanding and innovative achievements in campus internationalization. The late U.S. Senator from Illinois was well known as a strong supporter of international education and language learning.

With nearly 10,000 members in 150 countries, NAFSA is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education.