CONAHEC Member Institution


The idea for The Forum was first conceived in San Diego in May 2000 by a group of education abroad professionals who felt the need for a stand-alone organization for education abroad. The concept was further explored later that year and again in January 2001, where an organizational statement and goals for a new organization were defined. A meeting one-month later in Tucson resulted in the creation of a mission statement with five areas/goals, the development of criteria for voting membership and the establishment of subcommittees to produce a Communications Plan, Business Plan, Incorporation Plan, Member Services/Tasks plan.

In July 2001 at a meeting sponsored by Arcadia (Beaver) University, the decision was made to incorporate as The Forum with the creation of an organizational structure, business and communication plan and membership. Over the course of the following year, a Board was created and a search for an Executive Director took place. The Forum co-sponsored the University of Minnesota's Curriculum Integration Conference and agreed to partner with Frontiers.

The first annual meeting of The Forum was held in May 2002 with over 150 members in attendance, who approved an Advisory Council. Geoffrey Bannister, The Forum's first executive director, opened the Forum's office at Smith College on October 15, 2002.

Interesting to note is that when The Forum was created, the founding members agreed to a three-year membership commitment to provide the new organization with a financial base to get started. In fact, the original Board also donated personal funds to get the organization off the ground.

The Forum is coming to the conclusion of an amazing three-year membership phase of growth and development. In June 2004, the Forum published its groundbreaking Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, which has been adopted by faculty and university administrations in the U.S. and abroad as the guide for evaluating study abroad programs. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission recognized The Forum as a Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad. In November 2004, The Forum held its first annual conference, a series of facilitated roundtable discussions. Attendance at the Santa Fe event exceeded original projections and the feedback from the conference evaluations was overwhelmingly positive. With the help of a dynamic Conference Committee, plans are well underway for the 2005 conference in New Orleans.

The Forum network has also grown to include 180 institutions, with a growing presence of non-U.S. institutions, most notably from Australia. The membership represents 60% of the U.S. study abroad market.The Forum is a global membership association whose exclusive purpose is to serve the field of education abroad. It was created by experts in the field specifically to meet the needs of the profession. Its members worldwide are educational institutions, consortia, agencies, organizations, and individuals that provide, direct, manage or support education abroad opportunities. The Forum members represent 60% of the U.S. student population studying abroad. No other association provides the services and products provided by the Forum.

Key Personnel

Name/Nom/Nombre Email Institutional Role Department Paísorden descendente
Torres, Melissa President -- United States
Whalen, Brian whalenb@dickins... Primary Contact United States