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Thousands of international educators head to Houston May 29 to spotlight global education

HOUSTON (May 24, 2012) – The 64th annual conference of NAFSA: Association of International Educators will meet in Houston May 29-June 1 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. More than 8,000 international education professionals from around the world will converge on Houston to hear from an excellent lineup of speakers and experience the world’s largest annual gathering focused on the latest trends and topics in the field of international education.

Houston Community College will have prominent presence at the conference. Several HCC faculty members will present during the sessions, as well as Gigi Do, Executive Director of International Initiatives, and Dr. Mary S. Spangler, Chancellor for Houston Community College. Dr. Spangler will chair a session about “Building International Partnerships as a Community College”. Presenters in the session are Ibrahim Al Naimi, Supreme Education Council of Qatar / Qatar University; Saad Al Shehri, King Saud University; and Van Sau Nguyen, Chancellor, Saigon Institute of Technology.

HCC has successfully reached across the globe to bring education and faculty and student exchanges to Vietnam, Qatar, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia. HCC is participating in an institutional exchange between Brazil and the United States to promote technical education programs. The college has a successful, long-term partnership with Viet Nam and Saigon Tech where students in that country can earn HCC degrees in Business, Computer Science and Information Science Technology. In partnership with the government of Qatar, HCC established that nation’s first community college and the world’s first nationally sponsored community college. Also, the community college in Riyadh has selected HCC to provide consulting services for accreditation and English as a Second Language courses.

HCC’s other international initiatives include an exciting new 3-way partnership with the Texas Medical Center’s Texas Methodist International and Lebanon American University to assist pharmacy students in the doctoral program to complete their clinical requirements at Coleman College. This is the fifth year that HCC will send student and faculty ambassadors to the Salzburg Global Seminar’s week-long Community College International Study Program (ISP) in Salzburg, Austria. HCC has the largest number of international students of any community college in the nation. Eight percent of the student body is made up of students from 100 other nations, making HCC the number one community college choice in the country for international students.

In 2011, HCC received two awards for the college’s international efforts: the 2011 Bellwether Award for innovative international efforts and the 2011 Heiskell Award in recognition of the college’s program in internationalizing the Community College Curriculum.

Houston will be in the spotlight at “International Pillars of Houston.” Dr. Raymund Paredes, Texas state commissioner for higher education, and Julius Gribou, senior international officer at the University of Texas at San Antonio, will discuss Texas’ unique stake in the global education of its students in the session, “Globalizing Higher Education in Texas’ Policy and Programs.” And University of Houston’s Jordan Paust will address the topic “Examining Universal Human Rights: Speech, Association, and Education.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee will address conference attendees Wednesday, May 30. She will discuss her pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003 and her current efforts to promote peace, democracy, and women’s rights. NAFSA’s week-long plenary line-up also includes former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, travel guide and television host Rick Steves, and newly appointed United Nations deputy secretary-general and longtime human rights activist Ambassador Jan Eliasson. Please note that the Robert Gates plenary is closed to the news media.

For complete information about media registration, a schedule of events, and other details, visit NAFSA’s 2012 annual conference pages for the media at Check-in for news media begins Tuesday, May 29 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. For advance or on-site help, to schedule interviews, or to arrange a quick guided orientation to the conference, contact

For interviews with HCC administrators, partners or faculty, please contact Dan Arguijo at 713-718-2335 or

About HCC
HCC is one of the country’s largest singly-accredited, open-admission, community colleges offering associate degrees, certificates, workforce training and lifelong learning opportunities for 75,000 students each semester. HCC is composed of six colleges that serve the Greater Houston Area’s diverse communities by preparing individuals to live and work in today’s increasingly international and technological society. To learn more go to

With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education.

Dan Arguijo
P 713.718.2335

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