Fanta Aw

Executive Director & CEO

NAFSA: Association of International Educators
Fanta Aw

Fanta Aw is a transformative leader in the fields of international and higher education. She is the executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. In this role, she champions innovation and transformation within higher education.

Originally from Mali, Aw has traveled to more than 60 countries and lived in several before relocating to the U.S., providing her with a vast and diverse cultural perspective. Aw also dedicated over three decades to American University (DC), where she occupied several leadership roles, including vice president of undergraduate enrollment.

Aw is dedicated to addressing pivotal issues in higher education and beyond. She often contributes to global media outlets and serves as a keynote speaker internationally, where she shares her expertise on internationalization; international education exchange; diversity, equity, and inclusion; women in leadership; public policy; and immigration. She also covers topics ranging from humanity’s coexistence with artificial intelligence to the social responsibility of educators to prepare and nurture the next generation of empathetic, interculturally fluent leaders.