Advancing the Work of DEI in International Education Through Thought Leadership and Research

August 30, 2023


This thought piece emphasizes the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in international education. It highlights the underrepresentation of scholars and organizations of color in thought leadership due to biases in academic recognition. The article advocates for recognizing and supporting practitioner-focused entities like Diversity Abroad. It suggests actively citing their work and encouraging academic institutions to value practitioner-focused research, ultimately aiming to enhance DEI in the field.


  • Jinous Kasravi, PhD| Diversity Abroad, Director of Membership & Community

The world we live in is complex, connected, and ever changing. The challenges and issues our field and our students contend with on a daily basis require inclusive solutions that recognize and honor the rich variety of experiences and perspectives that shape our global community. The importance of understanding and valuing diversity in all its forms has become increasingly urgent. For those working in the field of international education, this means that we must continue to advance our research and scholarship agenda. Despite the importance of including diverse perspectives in thought leadership in our field, organizations and scholars of color - who may already face barriers to recognition and advancement - may often not be one of the first avenues we turn to for thought leadership in the field.

An article by Inside Higher Education (2021) discusses the inequity in the field of higher education as it pertains to undercitation or incorrect citation by diverse scholars. One reason for this undercitation may be the tendency to prioritize prestige in academic publishing. Journals with high impact factors or institutions with well-known names may be more likely to receive citations, even if their work is not as relevant or practical as that of practitioner-focused organizations like Diversity Abroad. This is a problem not just for Diversity Abroad, but for the field of international education as a whole. By failing to recognize the important work being done by diverse scholar-practitioners, we risk perpetuating the inequities and biases that have long plagued our field.

So, what can we do to change this? One step is to actively seek out and cite the work of practitioner-focused organizations working to advance DEI in the field when conducting research or writing publications. Another step is to advocate for greater recognition and support for these organizations and scholar-practitioners in our field. This might mean encouraging academic institutions and journals to prioritize practitioner-focused work in their promotion to tenure practices, similar to what Griffin (2019) suggests to engagement of service being undervalued when faculty of color are considered.

Diversity Abroad is the leading organization dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in international education. We provide a space for scholar-practitioners in our field to get published in our editorial reviewed publication the Global Impact Exchange, submit articles on various topics for posting on our website, and contribute as an author in our other research and reports.

Ultimately, the work of promoting diversity and inclusion in international education requires all of us to be active and engaged participants. By contributing to and citing the work of organizations like Diversity Abroad and others focused on similar missions, we can help to advance the number of scholars of color in our field.


12 Women Scholars (2021, August 16). A Disturbing Pattern. Inside Higher Education.

Griffin,K.A. (2019, February 14). Redoubling Our Efforts: How Institutions Can Affect Faculty Diversity. American Council on Education.

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