Imara Dawson, managing director of the International Institute, will be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this month attending the 8th Annual International Exhibition & Conference on Higher Education (IECHE) as an IECHE Fellow. This is the first year for the fellowship program, aimed to increase participation from educators and policy makers in higher education. Dawson is one of only 62 fellows selected worldwide by the Saudi Scientific Advisory Committee to the Ministry of Education.

Founded in 2009, IECHE is an annual university fair and two-day academic conference. The fair brings nearly 400 international, higher-education institutions to Riyadh, where university representatives can meet Saudi students who plan to travel abroad. The conference offers Saudi educators and international attendees the opportunity to collaborate, partner, and discuss the challenges facing higher education in a constantly changing world. IECHE is the liaison between institutions, providing networking venues to encourage and promote a free exchange of knowledge.

Building on his experiences while at Ball State University, Dawson will attend breakout sessions and workshops where he’ll gain a deeper insight into educational institutions outside of the United States. “Area studies in the United States is different,” he explains. “Outside of this country, area studies is often housed in government think tanks. I’m interested to see what is going on in other parts of the world, what the emerging issues are within area studies—and bring that knowledge back to Ann Arbor.”

In addition, he’ll promote foreign language and area studies training occurring within the II, as well as the new Masters in International and Regional Studies, to an international audience that includes an expected 300,000 students and parents from the Kingdom and neighboring countries.