UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD Staff Members Recognized by ‘Diversity Abroad’ for Work in International Education

UMD Staff Members Recognized by ‘Diversity Abroad’ for Work in International Education

Diversity Abroad celebrates outstanding professionals who champion diversity and inclusion in international education.


March 1, 2019

Contact: Sarah Marston, 301-405-4312


COLLEGE PARK, MD—Two University of Maryland (UMD) staff members, Shige Sakurai, Director of Leadership Initiatives and Associate Director in the LGBT Equity Center, and Leeanne Dunsmore, Director for Education Abroad in the Office of International Affairs, have been recognized for their efforts to champion diversity and inclusion in international education by Diversity Abroad, a consortium that works to create equitable access to global education by connecting educators, stakeholders and diverse students to resources and opportunity.


Shige Sakurai (they/them) was awarded the 2019 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education for Individual Leadership, and Dunsmore has joined Diversity Abroad’s Advisory Council. The award will be presented on March 5 at Diversity Abroad’s seventh annual conference, to be held in Boston.


"We are so pleased that Diversity Abroad is recognizing Shige for their contributions to the field,” Dunsmore said. “The University of Maryland's commitment to inclusive practices in education abroad is greatly enhanced through their campus-wide leadership. Their insight into LGBTQ+ identities, especially the identities of people of color, is invaluable to our mission."


Sakurai is a pioneering educator, administrator and advocate for intersectional diversity and inclusion in international education. A transgender person of Japanese descent, Sakurai began their internationalism journey growing up in a binational household and by studying abroad in a specialized gender and sexuality semester program in the Netherlands. Over the years, Sakurai has presented on LGBTQ+ and intersectional diversity widely, including for the U.S. Department of State, World Learning, Global Ties U.S., University Studies Abroad Consortium, Diversity Abroad, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators.


In addition to creating unique LGBTQ+ cross-cultural experiences for U.S. students in Mexico and Thailand, Sakurai has brought international LGBTQ+ advocates for speaking engagements or to serve as fellows on U.S. campuses, advancing discussions on asylum/refugee issues and human rights in such countries as Nepal, Jamaica, Guyana, and Malawi. In 2014, Sakurai catalyzed the annual “Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Conference on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Education.”


Dunsmore joined UMD as Director of Education Abroad, part of the Office of International Affairs, in 2018. She previously served as the Senior Educational Advisor at the U.S. Department of State, and launched the U.S Study Abroad Branch in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.


“Leeanne has hit the ground running at UMD, and is restructuring our study abroad program to better and more extensively serve underrepresented and diverse students,” said Ross Lewin, Associate Vice President of International Affairs. “We are thrilled that Diversity Abroad has recognized her extraordinary expertise by welcoming her to its Advisory Council.


Prior to her role in government, Dunsmore was the Associate Dean in the School of International Service at American University, where she created international programs and partnerships throughout the world, building one of the most diverse schools of international affairs in the country. While at American, she chaired the diversity initiatives committee for the 100K Strong Foundation, established the Pakistan Women’s Council and developed the first online degree program in international affairs in the United States.


She received her B.A in international relations and business from the College of Wooster, her M.A. in international political economy from American University and a Doctorate in Global Education from the University of Southern California.


This announcement comes during UMD’s Year of Immigration, which aims to transform dialogue into impact on urgent issues related to immigration, global migration and refugees, and to foster open conversation and greater connection with UMD’s large and diverse international community.


About the LGBT Equity Center


UMD’s LGBT Equity Center works to engage and encourage the campus in building a fully equitable community, and to provide programming that develops and empowers agents of social justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. We envision UMD as a fully equitable community that empowers innovators and agents of social justice for LGBTQ+ people.


About the Office of International Affairs


The Office of International Affairs (OIA) plays a leading role in realizing UMD’s ambition to become one of the most globally connected universities in the world. OIA is in charge of coordinating international activities within the university’s seven colleges and five schools, advancing a strategic plan for internationalization, fostering and nurturing international partnerships, and developing innovative programming for faculty and students that will facilitate their development as global leaders committed to the improvement of the common good.