The leadership team of CIS Abroad shares a message of solidarity with other international educators during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re grateful for colleagues at NAFSA, The Forum on Education Abroad, and AIEA, for their letters to our U.S. leaders and government institutions that call for a rational response to this crisis and a focus on the facts.
We believe in the power of international education to create more resilient humans, stronger teams in the workplace, and more innovative problem solving. We believe that, at its best, living abroad expands our human community. We believe it creates a more connected and compassionate world. We remain boldly committed to that vision. #strongertogether.
A Message of Solidarity from CIS Abroad:
Hello dear colleagues and partners around the world,
So here we are, the leadership team at CIS Abroad, working remotely from our homes in Western Massachusetts and Chicago, Illinois. We’re participants in a surreal world of “social distancing,” yet feel the importance of our connections to each other – and to you – more than ever.
We know you share our sentiments that it’s disappointing to work so hard to get students abroad and then welcome them into so many vibrant cities and wonderful institutions on site, just to watch them come back to the U.S. It makes no one happy and can leave us disheartened. And we don’t know yet what’s next or how this virus will continue challenging the work we all hold dear.
We’re grateful for all of you and our colleagues at NAFSA, The Forum on Education Abroad, and AIEA, for their letters to our U.S. leaders and government institutions that call for a rational response to this crisis and a focus on the facts.
We’re grateful for their reiteration of the value of international exchange of people and ideas, and for communicating the importance of our support, communication, and guidance provided to students abroad.
We know our students are in good hands – and as parents, we can sleep at night knowing this. (Well, sleep a LITTLE.)
Indeed, at the core of so many of our conversations together over the past few months is deep empathy for students who have had to abruptly return home from an experience that was not yet complete. As someone who faced evacuation during my own Peace Corps experience due to a coup d’etat, I can imagine what that feels like.
We share empathy with our colleagues at U.S. institutions and other provider organizations who are compelled to make decisions that seem at odds with their mission – and those who are doing so amidst school closings and daycare closings, and fear for their own families’ health and safety. Especially now, as we look to the future, we see the potential real human and economic impact on us – and on you.
Gary Rhodes, at the SAFETI (Safety Abroad First – Educational Travel Information) Clearinghouse put out a special issue on the Coronavirus situation. He stated: “Institutional leaders should be reflecting on the role of study abroad – and international students on the institutional mission of teaching, research, and community service…”
We must remember why we do what we do. We believe in the power of international education – it creates more resilient humans, stronger teams in the workplace, and more innovative problem solving.
We believe that, at its best, living abroad expands our human community. It expands our definition of who we consider that community to be. We believe it creates a more connected and compassionate world.
In the meantime, we’ll weather this together. And we remain boldly committed to: being kind to each other. Being patient with each other. And asking how we can help others.
It’s times like these when we show our true colors. Let’s make sure they are strong and bright.
Kris Holloway, President
Jeff Palm, Founder and Senior Vice President of Business Development
Joe Debiec, Vice President of Program Operations
Dr. Jennifer Engel, Vice President of Academic Affairs
Kailee Moszynski, Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Jessica Jones, Vice President of University Relations
Brian Waldron, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management
(in order of appearance)