Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General, to Speak at Opening of 2013 NAFSA Conference of International Educators

Dec 04, 2012, 15:35 ET from NAFSA: Association of International Educators

65th Annual Conference to Feature Prominent Peace and Justice Advocates

Oscar Arias, Former President of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Laureate

Rye Barcott, Former U.S. Marine, Peace Activist in Kenya

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nobel Peace Prize winner and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be the opening speaker at NAFSA: Association of International Educators' 2013 Annual Conference and Expo.

Annan will address 8,000 international educators from 120 countries expected at the conference's opening plenary session on Tuesday, May 28. The weeklong conference includes additional speeches from former Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias and former U.S. Marine and peace activist Rye Barcott.

NAFSA's annual conference is the world's largest gathering of professionals in international education. The conference offers a wide array of learning and networking opportunities for international educators, and features more than 200 sessions over four days focusing on the most crucial topics in international education and exchange with dozens of pre-conference workshops. It will be held in St. Louis, May 26-31.

About the Speakers
During his two terms as secretary-general of the United Nations from 1997-2006, Kofi Annan was a relentless advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals, and Africa. In 2001, Kofi Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, with Annan being recognized for his leadership in revitalizing the UN. Since leaving the UN, Annan remains active in mediation and conflict resolution through the Kofi Annan Foundation. In early 2008, he led the African Union's Panel of Eminent African Personalities to negotiate a peaceful resolution of Kenya's political crisis following disputed elections in 2007. His memoir, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace was published in September 2012. The opening session featuring Annan is sponsored by Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Oscar Arias, the two-time president of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Laureate, is a longtime advocate for peace in Central America and across the developing world. He was president of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 after five Central American presidents signed the Arias Peace Plan, ushering in a new era of cooperation in the region. In 1988, Arias used the monetary award from the Nobel Prize to establish the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, encouraging a culture of peace and democracy, gender equality, disarmament, and demilitarization. Arias served a second term as president of Costa Rica from 2006-2010.

Rye Barcott co-founded Carolina For Kibera, while an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, to prevent violence and empower youth in the Kibera slums outside Nairobi, Kenya. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years in Iraq, Bosnia, and the Horn of Africa. In 2006, ABC World News named Barcott "Person of the Year" for his dual service to Kibera and the U.S. Marine Corps. Carolina for Kibera has helped more than 250,000 people and was named a TIME magazine "Hero of Global Health." Barcott's memoir, It Happened on the Way to War, was published in March 2011.

Learn more about the speakers at www.nafsa.org/ac13plenaries.

About the Conference
A major highlight of the conference is the International Education Expo Hall, which features exhibitors representing hundreds of organizations from around the world including colleges and universities, study abroad and intensive-English programs, embassies and government agencies, and more. The conference theme for 2013 is "Ideals and Impact in International Education."

Learn more at www.nafsa.org/conference.

With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit us at www.nafsa.org. To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit www.ConnectingOurWorld.org.

SOURCE NAFSA: Association of International Educators