UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD Recognized for Excellence in Campus Internationalization

UMD Recognized for Excellence in Campus Internationalization


COLLEGE PARK, MD, March 10, 2020 – The University of Maryland is proud to be recognized as a winner of NAFSA’s 2020 Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for Internationalization. Among three U.S. universities and colleges to receive the Spotlight Award and seven to win the 2020 Internationalization Award at large, UMD has been recognized for the 2018-19 grassroots initiative, the Year of Immigration. 

Named after the late Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, the NAFSA Simon Awards recognize outstanding innovation and accomplishment in campus internationalization, defined by NAFSA as a conscious effort to integrate and infuse international, intercultural and global dimensions into the ethos and outcomes of their students’ education. The Spotlight Award recognizes a specific international program or initiative that contributes to internationalization on campus. 

Spearheaded by the Office of International Affairs and the College of Arts & Humanities at UMD, the Year of Immigration initiative grew into a campus-wide collaboration that resulted in more than 75 official events engaging students, faculty, staff, and surrounding communities with a focus on the themes: Conversation, Community and Culture. 

“This inspired program advanced a major campus goal of educating a more globally conscious, engaged generation,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “It deepened understanding of immigration, migration, and refugee issues, and helped us engage with neighboring international communities. We’re honored by NAFSA’s recognition.”

“At NAFSA we are guided by our belief that international education lies at the core of an interconnected world characterized by peace, security and well-being for all,” said Esther D. Brimmer, NAFSA Executive Director and CEO. “We are thrilled to honor the wonderful work of these seven higher education institutions to internationalize their campuses and prepare their students to be globally competent individuals. With their innovation and commitment to internationalization, these campuses are leading us to be a more welcoming, globally engaged United States.”

"We are honored to be recognized by NAFSA with the Paul Simon Spotlight Award,” said Ross Lewin, Associate Vice-President of International Affairs. “The Year of Immigration was just the beginning of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness around global migration issues and highlight the strength that our international and refugee communities bring to the University of Maryland. The Simon Award will help to elevate future work in support of these communities and campus internationalization.”

A strong advocate for international education and cross-cultural learning, the late Senator Paul Simon is also the namesake of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act. The Simon bill aims to incentivize U.S. institutions to make study abroad an integral part of higher education by creating a modest program of challenge grants. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) in the Senate (S.1198) on April 11, 2019 and by Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and John Katko (R-NY) in the House (H.R. 4555) on September 27, 2019.

Institutions selected for the Simon Awards will be featured in NAFSA's report, Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities, to be published this fall, and honored at an event in Washington, D.C., during International Education Week in November. To learn more about NAFSA’s Senator Paul Simon Awards, visit