Championing Inclusive Education: Diversity Abroad's Response to Legislation Curtailing Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

We at Diversity Abroad are deeply concerned by the recent enactment of Florida's law prohibiting funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion programming and other state-level attempts that have similar aims. This legislation has the potential to undermine the fundamental principles of global learning and international education, which are centered around embracing and engaging with difference.

For nearly 20 years, Diversity Abroad has been at the forefront of advocating for the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in international education. We have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of international education in shaping students' worldview, fostering intercultural competence, and positioning them for success. Global learning is not just about exposure to different cultures; it is about fostering understanding, empathy, and cooperation in an increasingly interconnected world.

By restricting funding for diversity initiatives, legislation like Florida's has the potential to hinder the development of these essential skills and limits opportunities for students - particularly those from historically marginalized backgrounds - to gain a broader perspective on the world. Such legislation can complicate efforts to further expand access to global learning and curtail the hard-won progress in diversifying education abroad, which has been recognized as a high-impact practice. Moreover, such legislation can also impact our international students. International students benefit from the opportunity to explore the full scope of U.S. society and embrace their unique cultural and social identities. They contribute to the diversity of our campuses, enriching the educational experience for all. Part of the appeal of U.S. higher education is the rich diversity that international students are exposed to. Legislative action that can signal to international students that they are not fully welcome can have an adverse impact on their interest in U.S. higher education.

Despite the challenges posed by enacted and proposed legislation, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that all students have equitable access to the global learning opportunities that position them to thrive academically, interpersonally, and professionally. We want to assure our members in Florida and states with similar legislation on the table that Diversity Abroad stands with you as you continue to strive for equitable access to the benefits of global learning and international education. Diversity Abroad will continue to support and advocate for inclusive international education, and we will continue to provide resources, guidance, and a platform for sharing best practices to ensure that all students have access to transformative global learning experiences.

Watch for information about upcoming events where we will discuss these and other initiatives in partnership with our member community.

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