National Collegiate Honors Council


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From Internationalizing Honors, ed. Kim Klein and Mary Kay Mulvaney (Lincoln, NE: National Collegiate Honors Council, 2020)


Copyright © 2020 National Collegiate Honors Council


Every December, the world turns its eyes to Norway for the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize, recognized as the “world’s most important, visible and prestigious prize,” according to Fredrik S. Heffermehl (xi). Since its inauguration in 1901, a pantheon of impressive individuals and organizations has assumed the title of Nobel Peace Laureate. Yet Alfred Nobel harbored a concern as he established the prize in his will: he wanted the prize to be a new beginning for its recipients, not an end to their stories. Nobel wrote, “I wish to help the dreamers, as they find it difficult to get on in life” (qtd. in Abrams 8). To this end, the Nobel Committee awards the peace prize not merely to congratulate a peacemaker or celebrate a lifetime of achievement but to “alter the course of a conflict, promote a cause, rebuke a disfavored leader or nation, or make a moral statement” (Nordlinger 51). In short, the prize becomes most exalted when laureates use it as a force for amplifying their impact. Similarly, study abroad opportunities provide students and faculty with opportunities to create social change. Proponents of international study champion its value for offering transformational experiences to its participants (Braid and Schrynemakers; Hoffa and DePaul; Karsan et al.; Lewin; Montgomery and Vasser; and Otero). Furthermore, research by honors education scholar Mary Kay Mulvaney shows that study-travel impacts students long after graduation. Reporting findings from a longitudinal study of honors alumni, Mulvaney found “positive long-term impact for students who study abroad as undergraduates especially in three of the four areas examined: career and educational pursuits; internationally oriented leisure activities; and institutional loyalty” (59).1 Students who travel are positioned to attain a prized experience worthy of sharing with others. As international education professionals have emphasized, robust attention to post-travel engagement, both in the classroom and through co-curricular events, is critical to fostering and sustaining a culture of internationalization in the honors program and on the campus.