Towards a New Generation of Engaged Universities:
The Need to Act, Adapt and Transform

16th – 18thApril, 2024 | Kempinski Central Avenue (Formerly the Address Dubai Mall), Dubai, UAE

Dr. Fanta Aw

Fanta Aw, PhD, is a transformational leader in international and higher education administration. She currently serves as the executitive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, having previously held its presidency from 2013 to 2016. NAFSA is the world’s largest membership association dedicated to the advancement of international education and exchange. Dr. Aw is dedicated to addressing pivotal issues in higher education and beyond. She often serves as a keynote speaker, sharing her expertise on internationalization; international educational exchange; diversity, equity, and inclusion; women in leadership; global trends; geopolitics; public policy; and immigration. Dr. Aw is also a champion for innovation and transformation in the realm of higher education. She speaks on topics as varied as the importance of humanity coexisting with artificial intelligence to the social responsibility of educators in preparing and nurturing the next generation of empathetic, interculturally fluent leaders. Dr. Aw dedicated over three decades to American University (AU) in Washington, D.C., where she earned a BS in accounting, an MA in public administration with a specialization in organizational development, and a PhD in sociology with a focus on international education, social stratification, and transnational migration. During her extensive tenure at AU, Dr. Aw held several leadership positions, including the vice president of undergraduate enrollment, campus life, and inclusive excellence. She has been recognized as an award-winning lecturer while holding the title of Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer at AU’s School of International Service. In 2023, her significant contributions to AU were honored with the Neil Kerwin Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Aw also actively participates as a member of the Global Advisory Board of Times Higher Education and has previously chaired the ETS TOEFL board. Originally from Mali, West Africa, Dr. Aw has lived in both East and West Africa as well as the United States, gaining a broad and diverse cultural perspective. Her passion for global experiences has led her to explore nearly 60 countries. Her knowledge has been acknowledged by major global media outlets, such as CNN, Agence France-Presse, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, National Public Radio, Middle East Broadcast Corporation, Washington Business Journal, WAMU, Washington Diplomat, and China Daily.