Every year NAFSA: Association of International Educators bestows honors on five colleges for their overall efforts at promoting international education, and another three colleges for specific programs that also make internationalization a priority.

Read on to see which eight schools were honored in 2015.

The Schools and Their Awards

Five schools won the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. They are:

  • University of Delaware (Newark, DE)
  • Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA)
  • North Central College (Naperville, IL)
  • University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

The schools were recognized for placing importance on international education, which they have done by paying attention to varied cultures and global concerns.

Three other schools were given the 2015 Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award due to a specific program that emphasizes international education. They are:

  • Rice University (Houston, TX)
  • Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)
  • Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)

Why Is International Education Important?

NAFSA encourages colleges to pay attention to more than just domestic issues, so these awards are meant to improve the emphasis on international affairs in higher education. Advocates believe a global outlook can help with national security, business and government.

That’s why it is considered crucial for colleges to commit to teaching the value of international education. For colleges to be entered into the running for the award, students and faculty are expected to work together to nominate their school. After the nomination, NAFSA researchers take a closer look at each university’s efforts at offering an international education.

If you agree that paying attention to countries other than just the US is crucial in higher education, you might consider going to one of these schools. You can also check out the past winners of the award for international education so you have more options when choosing a school that cares about global matters.

Choosing such a college may be an especially good idea if you are planning a career in business, government or any industry that involves other countries. Of course, another way of getting an international education is by studying abroad in the country of your choice.

Who Is Paul Simon?

Throughout his lifetime, Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) was considered an advocate for international education.  He encouraged US citizens to increase their knowledge of both foreign languages and other cultures in general, which is why NAFSA named their prestigious awards after him.

In fact, he inspired the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Act since he held study abroad opportunities in high regard. He believed every student should have a chance to study in a different country in order to learn more about other cultures and languages while studying college curriculum.

The goals of the Simon Act are to increase the number of countries offering study abroad opportunities, encourage students to participate and ask colleges to help make it affordable. More specifically, the act strives to send more than 1 million students per year from the US to other countries to study abroad.

Since NAFSA also desires students to become more aware of global matters, it makes sense to honor Paul Simon’s memory with awards that encourage international education.

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