Dr. Fanta Aw is a highly respected leader in international education and higher education administration.
She currently serves as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the largest membership association dedicated to international education and exchange with more than 10,000 members and partners, and acted as NAFSA’s President and Board Chair from 2013-2016.
Dr. Aw spent her academic and professional careers at American University in Washington, D.C., where she earned multiple degrees including a PhD in sociology with a focus on international education, social stratification, and transnational migration. During her decades at AU, Dr. Aw held many leadership positions, including most recently Vice President of Undergraduate Enrollment, Campus Life, and Inclusive Excellence. She was also an award-winning teacher while at American, serving as the Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer at AU’s School of International Service. She sits on the Global Advisory Board of Times Higher Education and previously chaired the board of ETS TOEFL.
Originally from Mali, West Africa, Dr. Aw has lived in both East and West Africa and the United States and has visited close to 60 countries. She is a frequent keynote speaker on topics related to international educational exchanges, diversity and inclusion in higher education, and U.S. immigration and has been interviewed by major global media outlets, including CNN, Agence France Press, USA Today, Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, National Public Radio, Middle East Broadcast Corporation, and China Daily.