Resources: Centering Justice in Education Abroad 

December 31, 2021

by Samantha Brandauer

On November 4th, 2021 the Forum on Education Abroad hosted its first in-person event since the pandemic started in Boston, MA – an institute on Centering Justice in Short-term Faculty-led Programs. The institute emerged from a state of the field survey done by the Forum on Education Abroad that highlighted a desire for better support for faculty-led programs and a renewed strategic partnership between Dickinson College and the Forum. It was an excellent opportunity to feature the work of the Collaborative.

The individuals who attended were eager to reflect on what they have been learning throughout the pandemic and how their roles are shifting within higher education and particularly within education abroad. As a field, international education is grappling with complex questions – What does global learning look like with limited student mobility? Have international educators done enough to address issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in education abroad? If we are not working toward larger and more global systemic issues of inequity with local resonance, such as access to education, social justice, racism and climate change, for example, are we reinforcing and exacerbating the world’s existing inequities and disparities?  What are the intersecting relationships among diversity, equity, and inclusion, sustainability work, and ethical relationships with host communities and community partners? We have talked a lot about re-imaging our roles, but what does that look like in practice?

The institute invited participants to start to answer these questions in a series of workshops and a plenary discussion. Thus, participants spent the morning in one of three workshops focused on putting the Forum’s Standards of Good Practice into practice around the UN SDGs, assessment and support for diverse students and then all participants came together for an afternoon plenary and action oriented workshop.  The entire day was an opportunity to highlight frameworks, models, resources and tools that support education abroad professionals in their efforts to center justice as well as to build community among participants. Two key Collaborative resources were featured – Fair Trade Learning and the Interdependence: Global Solidarity and Local Actions Toolkit


Amer Ahmed, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (University of Vermont); Samantha Brandauer, Associate Provost and ED Center for Global Study and Engagement (Dickinson College & the Collaborative); Eric Hartman, ED Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (Haverford College & the Collaborative); Lindsey Lyons, Assistant Director Center for Sustainability Education (Dickinson College)

Plenary Conversation: Models of Change – Centering Justice and Afternoon Workshop: Take Action – Centering Justice. 

For the plenary, Amer, Samantha, Eric and Lindsey discussed shifts that need to take place to better center justice in education abroad. As professionals who work across DEI, Sustainability Education, Global Learning and Community Engagement, work that is often siloed in higher education, they talked about not only how they see their work as interwoven and connected but how through a framework of interdependence, emphasizing connections between local and global, they are taking concrete steps to de-silo their work and center justice.

The afternoon was a deeper dive into frameworks and resources such as Fair Trade Learning and the Intercultural Practice Model. Case studies mapped out how changes at institutions are already happening, sharing lessons learned from efforts to build more just, sustainable, and inclusive learning environments and communities. Guided by resources presented throughout the day and examples of models of change, teams of participants worked together to see how they could better center justice and weave together DEI, Sustainability, Global Learning and Community Engagement into their courses, programs and institutional work by developing and starting to problem-solve their own case study.  

Feedback from participants and facilitators alike has been overwhelmingly positive with the hopes of revisiting this theme for an event in the near future. 

If this work sparks your interest, we encourage you to check out and use the Centering Justice Guidebook specifically developed for this workshop.

Samantha Brandauer is a career-long international educator currently serving as Associate Provost and ED of the Center for Global Study and Engagement at Dickinson College. Her focus as a practitioner/scholar is to build inclusive, equitable, and sustainable communities through international education.

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