UR Receives National Innovation Award For Reimagined International Education Week Programming During the Pandemic

March 23, 2022

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — The University of Richmond recently received the Association of International Education Administrators Innovation Award in Internationalization. The award specifically recognized a restyled approach to annual International Education Week programs during the pandemic.

The AIEA Innovation Award in Internationalization highlights institutional programs, projects, or initiatives that strongly impact their institution’s internationalization and global engagement.

Due to the pandemic during the 2020–21 academic year, International Education Week, which focused on India, was extended over a longer time period and adapted to hybrid events. The celebration began with a creation of foods suggested by students in November 2020 in the University’s dining hall and ended in March 2021 with the virtual appearance of comedian and social commentator Hasan Minhaj and a performance of South Indian Carnatic music. Additional events included well-attended lectures on “A History of Protest in India” and “India: Environment Undone,” hosted by UR faculty.

“Pre-pandemic, UR’s International Education Weeks included a variety of in-person activities over the week,” said Martha Merritt, dean of international education. “For both India (2020–21) and Chile (2021) during the pandemic, we worked with faculty, staff, and students to create opportunities for our community to come together around compelling discussions and events.” 

The award notification specifically noted “UR’s reimagined International Education Week has helped to further UR’s global engagement by strengthening collaboration between several key stakeholders. UR’s initiative allowed for a closer interaction between UR’s faculty, academic units, and other partners on campus and UR’s international partners, attracting greater numbers of students to study abroad in previously undersubscribed locations, and increasing international awareness in the community.”

Staff from the Office of International Education traveled to New Orleans last month to receive the award during the AIEA annual conference.