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A Message From Our New President & CEO

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IES Abroad
August 3, 2020

A message from our new President & CEO, Gregory D. Hess, Ph.D.
 
Hello Everyone!
 
As the new President and CEO, I look forward to continuing IES Abroad's mission to educate students to become global leaders through premier study abroad and internship programs.
 
Study abroad changes lives. And changed lives change the world.
 
I speak from experience. Studying abroad at the London School of Economics changed my life. Study abroad also changed my wife’s life. Ditto for both of our daughters.
 
We learned to engage with the world, to learn from the world, and to see the world anew. We also made great friends. That’s the same magic that everyone who has participated in an IES Abroad program has enjoyed.
 
I feel fortunate to be given the opportunity to lead IES Abroad, and to inherit an exceptional organization from Dr. Mary M. Dwyer. Her leadership has made IES Abroad programs the standard to which all others are compared. She has also cultivated a superb management team, staff, Board of Directors, corps of Center Directors, international faculty, and university partners.
 
Great mission. Great organization. Great fundamentals to take on the three great challenges of our time.
 
First, we're facing the Covid-19 pandemic, which has hurt families, businesses, and communities around the globe. IES Abroad has been similarly negatively affected. Student travel for education purposes has been curtailed, and a majority of the cities where our Centers are located have been disproportionately affected. We are able to weather the global shutdown, but now more than ever we must stay focused and committed to our mission. We need the support of everyone who shares our belief in the value of study abroad: students, parents, colleges and universities, faculty, our staff, alumni, and so many more.
 
As the world re-opens we want to make study abroad possible, serving as many students as possible, including our underrepresented and first-generation college student applicants who will be in even greater need of our collective commitment.
 
Second, as a higher-education, mission-driven not-for-profit, we must do our part to address the continued global issue of institutional racism. Indeed, we have a responsibility to equip the youth of today with historical context, and a commitment to an open perspective to enable their passion for change. IES Abroad must first commit to leading this change by being more thoughtful and holistically inclusive – in the talent we employ, in the courses we teach, in the internship and service opportunities we provide. These actions in addition to our continued commitment to study abroad accessibility, will create a powerful vehicle for change.
 
Our third challenge to address is the rise of nativism throughout the globe. Nativism, in direct opposition to IES Abroad’s mission, rejects the importance of global education and global leadership. Ironically, the angst (e.g. economic insecurity, immigration, income inequality, etc.) that has fed the rise of nativism is best addressed and understood with more global education, not less. We will continue to be a part of this global conversation at the classroom level, by creating international classrooms that engage talented students from all over the world in discourse and global citizenship.
 
I have set forth on this IES Abroad journey at an interesting time to say the least. We are facing all of these challenges together, with a renewed sense of purpose after seeing so clearly how IES Abroad can and should play such a critical role in forming long-term solutions for these issues. I look forward to all the conversations, partnerships, and progress that no doubt lies ahead.
 
Warmest wishes, 
President and CEO
IES Abroad
 

 

Having joined IES Abroad in 2020, Greg is an extremely well-rounded leader, and brings a wealth of expertise and experience across higher education, liberal arts, and business. His passion for education and economics brings an important and distinctive perspective, which greatly benefits IES Abroad. Learn more about Greg.

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