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Archives of NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Description from the Special Collections Brochure Series


NAFSA: Association of International Educators concluded an agreement with the University of Arkansas Libraries in 1987 establishing the Special Collections as the archival repository for the association. These papers currently occupy about two hundred linear feet and chronicle the work of the association since its foundation in 1948. NAFSA will continue to set aside its permanently valuable records for inclusion in the archives.

The archives (finding aid available online) document NAFSA's internal operation as well as its work with government bodies and other organizations. The official records, 1948-1979, include minutes of the various governing boards of NAFSA, the name change in 1963-64, and the reorganization of the association in 1972-73. The records of the annual conferences include topical files documenting the annual meetings from 1947 through 1979.

The records of Education for International Development, 1960-1986, underscore the relationship between NAFSA and the Agency for International Development, which funds activities to enhance the experiences of AID participants from the developing world. Files include the work of the Global Issues Committee, particularly on hunger and population awareness, and materials pertaining to grants for study in China.

NAFSA also participates in several programs funded by the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). One of these, the Cooperative Projects Program, awards funds for campus or community programs that increase the involvement of foreign students in U.S. culture.

The records of the Field Service, another USIA funded program, 1963-1985, demonstrate NAFSA's efforts to develop in-service opportunities for professionals and volunteers to study aspects of international education, including organization and allocation of staff and other resources, administrative procedures, and program activities. Included are files of contacts with other organizations active in international education, ranging from the American Council on Education to the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Government Regulations Advisory Committee files, 1974-1988, record the work of the association with U.S. government agencies. As a founding member of the International Educational Exchange Liaison Group, NAFSA provides leadership and expertise on questions such as immigration, recruitment, evaluation of foreign educational credentials, admissions, and language policy.

The archives will also preserve copies of NAFSA's extensive publications. Between 1948 and 1993 NAFSA produced and distributed more than eight hundred publications and audiovisual materials. These cover a wide range of topics related to working with foreign students and scholars and to U.S. students studying abroad at all educational levels. Included are the NAFSA Newsletter, the Adviser's Manual of Federal Regulations Affecting Foreign Students and Scholars, NAFSA Principles for International Educational Exchange, and the NAFSA Directory, a list of more than seven thousand institutions and individuals involved in international education.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators is a nonprofit membership association that provides training, information, and other services to professionals in the field of international educational exchange. It was founded as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers in 1948, in response to the enormous changes in international education arising at the end of World War II. The NAFSA Archives reflect the impact on the foreign student population of both world events and American policy; for example, the effect of American unemployment on jobs for foreign students, the changing fortunes of Chinese students over five decades, the problems of students from Vietnam in 1975 or those from Iran in 1979. The archives will provide opportunities for investigating connections between the academic community -- university administrators, faculty, and students -- and government entities, such as the Department of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as well as local American communities and organizations.

In 1964 NAFSA altered its name to the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs, reflecting its broadening scope in international education. The organization adopted its present name in 1990. Its 5,000 members, from every state in the Union and more than fifty other countries, represent more than 1,300 colleges and universities, which enroll 80 percent of the foreign students in the United States. Other members represent elementary and secondary schools, public and private educational associations, exchange organizations, corporations and foundations, and community organizations. NAFSA's activities are governed by a Board of Directors elected annually by the membership. Day-to-day administration is conducted under the direction of the Executive Vice President from offices in Washington, D.C.

The division holds other significant manuscript resources for the study of international education and cultural exchange: the records of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES); the papers of Elizabeth Lam Vieg, executive secretary of the Committee on the International Exchange of Persons (now CIES) between 1950 and 1971; the archives of the United States Information Agency's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; and the J. William Fulbright Papers. The division welcomes inquiries from NAFSAns whose papers might be useful resources for research in international education.

For example, Clara L. Simerville, long-time foreign student counsellor at Oregon State University, donated her papers to the division in 1994.

Access to the archives of NAFSA: Association of International Educators is open to the public upon application to the Special Collections staff. A descriptive finding aid to the collection was completed in 1994, and the collection is cataloged in the libraries' automated system, InfoLinks (Telnet: tn library.uark.edu). Researchers may direct inquiries to Special Collections, but extensive projects may require a visit to the archives. To facilitate their work, researchers who wish to use the papers are advised to write or telephone Special Collections in advance.


Special Collections
University of Arkansas Libraries Fayetteville, AR 72701-4002

Telephone: (479) 575-8447
FAX: (479) 575-6656
Telnet: tn library.uark.edu (login: infolink)


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