WASHINGTON – NAFSA: Association of International Educators has just announced the five winners of the Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization, as well as the three institutions being recognized with the Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award. The University of San Diego (USD) was one of the three recipients of the Spotlight Award, which recognizes a specific international program or initiative that contributes toward comprehensive internationalization.
USD is being honored for the Women PeaceMakers Program, created and implemented by the university’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ). Each year the program selects four women leading human rights and peacemaking efforts in their home countries to spend time at USD, sharing their stories and engaging the university and local communities on these issues through planned activities and conversations.
While the women are at USD, the Women PeaceMakers Program documents their stories and best practices. Women on the frontlines of efforts to end violence and secure a just peace seldom record their experiences, activities and insights as generally there is no time, or, perhaps, no formal education that would help women record their work. The Women PeaceMakers Program, generously funded by the Fred J. Hansen Foundation for all of its eight years, offers an opportunity for women leaders to document, share and build upon their unique peacemaking stories.
“The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice is founded on the experience and promise that if we can know one another, we can learn, we can change and we can create peaceful and just societies,” said IPJ Deputy Director Dee Aker, who created the program. “Thirty-two women have lived here on campus for two months each fall. As their stories are documented, their spirits, too, are lifted by meeting our USD community. This University of Peace often gives these women some of that peace and a respite from their dangerous lives. On occasion students have been inspired to join WPMs at home on the ceasefire lines or at centers where they have taken a stand and given hope to so many who have no other voice.”
Named for the late Senator Paul Simon, (D–Ill.), these awards recognize outstanding and innovative efforts in campus internationalization. Sen. Simon was well known as a strong supporter of international education and foreign language learning. His leadership in these areas was especially evident in his robust support for the creation of the National Security Education Program, which addresses critical national security deficiencies in language and cultural expertise, and in his vision of a national program to greatly expand U.S. citizens' knowledge of the world, the inspiration behind the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act. The Simon Act is a congressional initiative to greatly expand study abroad opportunities for U.S. undergraduates.
USD and the other institutions selected for internationalization awards this year will be featured in NAFSA's report, “Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities,” to be published this fall. The awardees will also be recognized on June 3, 2011, at the International Plenary and Luncheon during NAFSA's 2011 Annual Conference & Expo in Vancouver.
The NAFSA selection jury for the 2011 awards included Gil Latz (jury chair; Portland State University), Peter Coclanis (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), André Colombat (Loyola University Maryland), Thomas D’Agostino (Hobart & William Smith Colleges), Sabine Klahr (Chatham University) and Paul McVeigh (Northern Virginia Community College).