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Northwestern holds virtual International Education Week celebrations November 16-20

Northwestern holds virtual International Education Week celebrations November 16-20

International Education Week is a time to celebrate the diversity of peoples, languages and cultures in our world and in our own communities. It’s a great reminder that we needn’t travel far to broaden our horizons.”

Sara Tully
Director, Global Learning Office

View a list of all IEW events and activities.

Every year since 1999, institutions and organizations across the United States and around the world have joined in on International Education Week (IEW) celebrations. A joint initiative by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, IEW advocates for academic global exchange and cross-cultural collaborations and learning.

Long before IEW became an official celebration, Northwestern held its first International Week. In 1961, when Northwestern was home to roughly 400 international students, then-university President J. Roscoe Miller gave his stamp of approval during an official letter signing. The week offered students opportunities to partake in cross-cultural learning activities, from a panel discussion on Africa and several multi-lingual student panels to cultural and social events, including an international student talent show, a cricket game and an international dinner.

Over 50 years later, in 2013, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro reaffirmed Northwestern’s commitment to international education and invited the Northwestern community to join in on the weeklong celebration, encouraging all — students, faculty, staff and alumni — to embrace and continue their journey toward global citizenship. The same year, an IEW planning committee and a dedicated website were created and have since served as a showcase for Northwestern’s continued pledge for international education through academic and cultural events and activities.

International Education Week 2020:

While celebrations will look different this year, Northwestern units have scheduled an array of virtual activities during International Education Week, November 16-20, 2020.

For example, the Global Learning Office has taken a themed approach and invited its affiliated partners, student fellows and ambassadors to develop content within five specific themes related to study abroad. Each day represents a different theme, with over two dozen total offerings:

  • Money Monday: All things financial, such as tips on how to fund study abroad or find funded research opportunities (November 16)
  • Tuesday Tips: Study abroad program info sessions, program selection guides and tips for maximizing time spent abroad (November 17)
  • What About Me Wednesday: Sessions related to specific majors and fields of study as well as student identities (November 18)
  • TBT Thursday: Alumni looking back on their study abroad experience (November 19)
  • Foodie Friday: Internationally themed cooking classes hosted by international partner institutions and Northwestern study abroad ambassadors and fellows (November 20)

“It’s more important than ever that we seek ways to connect with others and learn about the world beyond the U.S.,” said Sara Tully, Director of the Global Learning Office. “International Education Week is a time to celebrate the diversity of peoples, languages and cultures in our world and in our own communities. It’s a great reminder that we needn’t travel far to broaden our horizons.”

The Office of the Vice President for International Relations will hold its One World \ One Northwestern (OWON) Fall Quarter event in celebration of International Education Week on Monday, November 16. Guest speaker Kara Godwin, Director of Internationalization at the American Council on Education and an alumna of Northwestern’s MS in Higher Education Administration and Policy Program, will share and discuss Directions from Here: Inspiration for the Future of Internationalization. The One World \ One Northwestern initiative aims to build community among Northwestern staff working in international programming and affairs. The event will be open to all Northwestern staff members.

The Northwestern Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs also scheduled an installment of its Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities webinar series during IEW. On Tuesday, November 17, Barnor Hesse, Associate Professor of African American Studies, Political Science and Sociology at Northwestern and Salman Sayyid, Professor of Rhetoric and Decolonial Thought and Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, will discuss Islamophobia. The webinar series aims to highlight programs and efforts to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, beginning with this Fall Quarter’s webinars focusing on Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

Many other units on campus, from area studies to central units, also have internationally themed events planned for IEW, such as:

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services will be concluding Northwestern’s IEW activities with an Optional Practical Training seminar for international students on Friday, Nov 20.

For a list of all IEW events and activities, visit