Peter A. Wollitzer Advocacy Award

The Forum’s Peter A. Wollitzer Advocacy Award recognizes the exceptional contributions of administrators, faculty, and staff who have challenged and inspired others to understand and support the benefits of education abroad. Through deep, multifaceted, and meaningful service to the field, these individuals have been remarkably effective in promoting the positive impact of education abroad on participants, institutions, and members of the home and host communities, and in advancing The Forum’s mission, vision, and foundational principles. 

The award is presented each year at The Forum’s Annual Conference.

The nomination deadline for the 2022 Award is January 13, 2023.


Submit a Nomination


Nomination Requirements and Selection Criteria
  • Self-nominations are welcome.
  • Nominees must be employed by a Forum member organization.
  • Nominations must be submitted by an employee of a Forum member organization.
  • Nominations must include a statement from the nominator, two additional letters of support, and a resume, C.V., or LinkedIn profile. 

Nominees must demonstrate:

  • Evidence of efforts to champion high-quality education abroad experiences that ignite curiosity, impact lives, and contribute to a better world;
  • Evidence of efforts to make education abroad integral to the mission of higher education;
  • History of a strong commitment to access, equity, diversity, and inclusion work in education abroad;
  • An impact on education abroad’s community of practice;  
  • An impact on their institutions and organizations of employment.  

Nominees’ advocacy work may be at the institutional level and within the higher education community. Lobbying is not a prerequisite. 

The Wollitzer Award Selection Committee shall be made up of five members:

  • A representative of the Forum Board of Directors (appointed by the Board Executive Committee)
  • A representative of the Forum Council (appointed by the Council chair)
  • Three representatives of The Forum’s membership (appointed by the Council chair)


About Peter A. Wollitzer

Peter A. Wollitzer

October 18, 1949 – February 19, 2006

Peter A. Wollitzer was Regional Director for Asia and Africa of the University of California Education Abroad Program. Before joining EAP in 1986, he was Assistant Director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of International Studies. Earlier in his career, he also served as Program Officer with the Institute of European Studies (IES) in Chicago. Peter earned his doctorate at The Pennsylvania State University in Higher Education/International Studies and his B.A. and M.A. degrees at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Berkeley respectively.

Peter served on many international task forces and boards, most recently being elected to the Advisory Council of The Forum on Education Abroad and serving as its first Chair (2002-2005). During his three-year term, he organized the Council’s governance procedures and structures  as well as its major activities which included the widely hailed project on Standards of Good Practice, two student research competitions, a national survey on curriculum integration and two conferences. All of these projects took place while Peter was being treated for the brain cancer that ultimately took his life. Peter was also a member of the CIEE Academic Consortium Board. He wrote and presented on a wide range of subjects related to international and higher  education in Europe and Asia.

Peter was an outspoken and untiring international educator who believed in programs that give access to all qualified student to different sources of knowledge available worldwide, to special pedagogical methods and field study opportunities, and, of course, to widely varying cultural, social, political, and economic environments. He was skilled in working with faculty and administrators abroad and extremely creative in designing new programs between UC and partner institutions, believing that collaborative relationships could assume new dimensions when focusing on academic integrity and high standards.

Peter was a capable international education professional and an engaging person. He was thoughtful and kind to others, and always encouraged, trusted and supported international education professionals who were new to the field. His leisure interests included music, photography, poetry, astronomy, and exploring Santa Ynez Valley wine country. His mantra was Martin Luther King’s quote: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

This abbreviated biography reflects the intellectual and exciting nature of his persona and his ability to reach out to those around him and to show his pride and deep commitment, belief, and dedication to international education. Those of us who had the pleasure of working with Peter admired his courage and his dignity when facing his disease. He will continue to be a force and an inspiration to many in the field of international education in the days to come. The Forum’s Peter A. Wollitzer Advocacy Award will ensure that his name and his legacy live on in perpetuity.

2022 Wollitzer Award

Headshot of Dr. Keshia Abraham.Dr. Keshia Abraham, founder and president of The Abraham Consulting Agency, receive the 2022 Wollitzer Award at The Forum’s 18th Annual Conference on March 25, 2022 in Chicago. The award was presented by Dr ‘Dimeji Togunde of Spelman College, who described Dr. Abraham as “a thought leader, scholar, practitioner, and facilitator in international higher education, […] a tireless advocate for advancing global engagement, the epitome of excellence in promoting study abroad opportunities for students through faculty-led programs and study abroad providers, and a nationally recognized practitioner who genuinely fosters the importance of Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in global learning.” He continued, “She is a visionary, doer, and spirited leader. […] She is a game changer!”

Dr. Abraham’s acceptance remarks were powerful and emotional, and brought the audience to its feet. She concluded by saying, “The past two years have really provided us with beautiful opportunities to learn more, grow more together, and I just want to keep doing that. I want to keep building relationships with all of you who are serious about this work. I want us to be open to coming together to find solutions as a community of leaders. […] Thank you so much, for being a part of the change I always dreamt of and can’t believe that I’m standing here seeing, right in front of my eyes.”

Selection Committee

Jessica Sun, University of Pennsylvania (Chair)
Sam Brandauer, Dickinson College
Lee L’Hote, IES Abroad
Leo Rowland, Syracuse Academy
Bianca Schonberg, University of Houston-Clear Lake

2021 Wollitzer Award

Headshot of J. Scott Van Der Meid, showing a middle aged man with a beard and glasses in a white polo shirt posing in front of a bright blue wall.The 2021 Peter A. Wollitzer Advocacy Award was awarded to the late J. Scott Van Der Meid at the The Forum’s 17th Annual Conference, held virtually March 1-5, 2021. The award was accepted on his behalf by his husband, Shinji Sato. The nomination was submitted by a group of seven colleagues, led by Eowyn Greeno of University of Puget Sound and including Janet Alperstein (New York University), Amy Bartnick Blume (Gateway International Group), Martha Johnson (University of Minnesota), Mark Lenhart (CET Academic Programs), John Lucas (ISEP), and Kathleen Sideli (Indiana University). Greeno said,

“Scott led by example as a consistent and passionate advocate for students. His expectations for all members of the education abroad community in this regard were uncompromising. Before the Standards were drafted, I could always ask myself, ‘What would Scott do?’ Even after we were several editions into the Standards, I was still learning from Scott and seeking his advice and his perspective. I know I’m not alone in my gratitude for the attention and support that I received from Scott. In fact, I marvel at how vast his network was. I still wonder where he found the time to get to know so many people on such a deep and meaningful level. I will be forever grateful that Scott welcomed me into this family of professionals and friends.”

Scott passed away in July, 2020. He served as Associate Dean of Study Abroad at Brandeis University.

Selection Committee

María José Angel Mex (Lorenzo de’ Medici)
James Brazelton (WorldStrides)
Pascale Parker (Texas A&M University)
Bianca Schonberg (Forum Council, University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Patricia Scroggs (Forum Board of Directors, Howard University)

2020 Wollitzer Award

Dr. Michael Woolf was presented with the 2020 Wollitzer Award during The Forum’s 16th Annual Conference, held virtually April 21-23, 2020.

The award presentation included remarks from Mike’s nominators, Martha Johnson of the University of Minnesota and John Christian of CAPA The Global Education Network. Johnson described Woolf as “the original practitioner-educator” in the field of education abroad, and someone who has “pushed the scholarship and research agenda of the field […], particularly making space for qualitative research and arguments along with the data-driven outcomes we have come to look for.” Christian spoke of Woolf as “an influencer,” who “pushes the boundaries on learning abroad” and ” has helped shape the expectations of our field, the delivery of our programs, and the substance that we count on to make sure this remains intellectually engaging, challenging, and forward thinking.”

Woolf’s acceptance remarks were characteristically witty and irreverent, as well as sincere. He began, “These are indeed very strange times. Firstly, and the strangest thing of all, is that this must be the only occasion on which the Wollitzer Advocacy Award has been awarded to someone for being a nuisance.” He concluded by stating, “I can honestly say that there has never been a day that I was bored, or a time when I went to work reluctantly. […] Education abroad has given me intellectual and emotional satisfaction, contact with people I’ve learned to love, and that is a great and precious gift.”

Woolf currently serves as Deputy President for Strategic Development at CAPA.

Selection Committee

Allie Agati (Yale University)
Tony Pinder (Forum Council, Emerson College)
Maryann Rapposelli (University of Delaware)
Leo Rowland (Forum Council, SACI)
Lorna Stern (Forum Board of Directors, Arcadia University)

2018 Wollitzer Award

Martha Johnson, Kathy Sideli, and Mary Dwyer
Kathleen Sideli (center) with nominators Martha Johnson (left) and Mary Dwyer (right) at the 14th Annual Conference in Boston.

The 2018 Wollitzer Award was presented to Dr. Kathleen Sideli of Indiana University at The Forum’s 14th Annual Conference in Boston, MA.

The Award was presented by Mary Dwyer, President and CEO of IES Abroad, who described Sideli as follows: “The recipient is one of twenty founders of The Forum. As one of the twenty, I can assure you that as hard as the rest of us worked for years, none of us matched the stellar, herculean efforts of the recipient to establish The Forum. […] This nominee is the kind of person that makes you ask yourself, ‘What was I doing while she was accomplishing all of this?’”

Upon accepting the award, Sideli declared, “I have the best job in the world! Working with wonderful colleagues like Mary and so many of you keeps me going to work every day—with no plans for retirement anytime soon, by the way!” She ended her remarks by reminding us all to take an active role in the organization, saying, “At this pivotal time in The Forum’s history, please play your part, no matter how minor it might be. Pay attention. Get involved. The Forum is us! This is us. Thank you!”

Sideli is Associate Vice President for Overseas Study at Indiana University, where she also taught in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for twenty-five years. She was The Forum’s first President and Chair.

Selection Committee

Joy Gleason Carew (Forum Board of Directors, University of Louisville)
Tracey Bradley (Advocacy Committee, Tennessee Consortium for International Students)
Mary Ann Letellier (CUPA)
Terence Miller (Marquette University)
Tonija Hope Navas (Howard University)

2017 Wollitzer Award

Margery Ganz is presented the Wollitzer Award at the 13th Annual Forum Conference in SeattleDr. Margery Ganz was awarded the Peter A. Wollitzer Advocacy Award at The Forum’s 13th Annual Conference in Seattle, WA.

In his nomination letter, ‘Dimeji Togunde wrote, “Margery is a tenacious advocate, who understands the transformative impact of sending students abroad so they can acquire knowledge of global issues and develop skills needed to be successful in a global society.”

Kathy Sideli wrote, “It is hard to imagine the field of education abroad without Margery Ganz… Margery has been ubiquitous in the field of education abroad for the better part of four decades, devoted to ensuring high standards in study abroad while intensely demanding that study abroad opportunities be more accessible to all underrepresented students… She worked assiduously with her own creative ideas and networks to make sure something actually was accomplished to change the landscape. The face of study abroad today is very different because of her tireless efforts.”

Ganz served as the Director of Study Abroad & International Exchange and Professor of History at Spelman College, and retired in July 2017 after 36 years of service to the field.

Selection Committee

Donna Scarboro (Forum Board of Directors, The George Washington University)
Tracey Bradley (Advocacy Committee, Tennessee Consortium for International Students)
Leanne Johnson, University of Maryland
Davina Potts, The University of Melbourne
Carmelo Urza, University Studies Abroad Consortium

2016 Wollitzer Award

Wollitzer DSC_0392The 2016 Peter A. Wollitzer Advocacy Award was awarded to the late Joe Brockington at the 12th Annual Forum Conference in Atlanta. The award was accepted on his behalf by his wife, Cathy, and sons, David, Sam and Drew. The award was presented to the Brockington family by Joe’s colleague and friend, Margaret Wiedenhoeft, Acting Director of the Center for International Programs at Kalamazoo College. According to Wiedenhoeft:

“Throughout his twenty-plus years in international education, Joe Brockington consistently contributed to and advocated for the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, mentoring colleagues at institutions on how to develop and provide programs incorporating The Forum’s Standards that met curricular goals while also fully supporting students. His contributions to the research of theWollitzer DSC_0347 development of the profession of international education helped to create recognition of the increasing professionalization of our work while acknowledging how much the field has changed. Throughout his career, Joe never missed an opportunity to remind colleagues that having standards was so important because, as he would say in his very Midwestern, dry, humorous tone, ‘that next to parenting, education abroad is the world’s greatest amateur sport.'” Click here to read Wiedenhoeft’s full citation.

Brockington, a member of the founding Board of Directors of The Forum, passed away in August 2015. He served as associate provost for international programs and professor of German language and literature at Kalamazoo College. He was instrumental in the founding of The Forum and over the years contributed to the field in innumerable ways by presenting at conferences and initiating projects.

2015 Wollitzer Award

WollitzerMichael Steinberg, Executive Vice President of Academic Programs for IES Abroad, received the Peter A. Wollitzer Advocacy Award at The Forum’s 11th Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Steinberg wrote in an email: “I am grateful for this recognition by The Forum on Education Abroad, an organization that has added so much to our field in its relatively short life. I was especially touched to receive an award established in memory of Peter Wollitzer, who was a colleague during both of our early years in study abroad and a close personal friend until his sad, untimely death. Peter and I shared a vision of concern for the personal and academic growth of each student who has the opportunity to study abroad.”

Steinberg was presented the award by Tracy Williams, Texas Christian University, a member of the Wollitzer Award Selection Committee. Other members of the Committee were: Patti Brown, IFSA Butler; Jim Buschman, New York University; Enda Carroll, University College Dublin, representing the Board of Directors; and Alicia Stanley, Northwestern University, representing the Council’s Advocacy Committee.

Barbara Rowe, Lorna Stern, Enda Carroll, Liam Ó Dochartaigh, Jon Booth, Michael Paige, Brian Whalen

2013 Wollitzer Award

Congratulations to Liam Ó Dochartaigh, former Director of International Education at the University of Limerick, who was awarded the Peter A. Wollitzer Award on April 5, 2013.  Enda Carroll, Centre for Study Abroad Manager at University College Dublin, presented the award to Mr. Ó Dochartaigh at the Forum’s Ninth Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

Michael Vande Berg and Jon Booth

2012 Wollitzer Award

The Forum proudly congratulates this year’s two recipients of the Peter A. Wollitzer Advocacy Award, Jon Booth, Executive Director, Syracuse University Abroad, and Michael Vande Berg, Vice President for Academic Affairs, CIEE.  Jon Booth’s award was presented by Michael Calo of Syracuse University, and Mick Vande Berg’s award was presented by Martin Hogan of CIEE.

2011 Wollitzer Award

On April 8, 2011 Dr. Susan Pugh, emeritus associate vice provost for enrollment management and director of student financial assistance at Indiana University, was awarded the Peter A. Wollitzer Award. Kathleen Sideli, associate vice president for overseas study at Indiana University, remarked for the conference attendees that Susan Pugh defined for the field of education abroad the highest standards of good practice regarding financial aid. Dr. Pugh embraced the cause of widening the availability of financial aid to students going abroad by promoting the concept among organizations in her own field, such as the National Association of Student  Financial Aid Administrators. Until that time study abroad was not widely seen by either financial aid administrators or federal education officials as an integral part of an undergraduate degree program. Her advocacy efforts helped change that perception.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Pugh commented that she kept up her efforts over the years, despite it being outside her own experiences, because she wanted “to remove the various barriers to the success of others, so they might realize their dreams.”

2010 Wollitzer Award

Dr. James Langridge, University of Wollongong  received the 2010 Wollitzer Award. To a rousing standing ovation, James Langridge of the University of Wollongong accepted the Peter A. Wollitzer Advocacy Award at a plenary session at The Forum’s Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jon Booth, Executive Director of Syracuse University Abroad, and a member of the Award’s Selection Committee, stated in his introduction to the ceremony, “The Peter A. Wollitzer Award is to honor a Forum member who has been remarkably effective in influencing institutions of higher learning to understand and support education abroad. We all need heroes. We all need role models. The Forum set up this award to identify heroes and role models amongst The Forum membership.”

2008 Wollitzer Award

The Forum is proud to congratulate the recipient of the 2008 Wollitzer Award, David A. Larsen, founding Board member of The Forum and Vice President and Director of Arcadia University’s Center for Education Abroad. Lorna Stern Laniak’s warm citation for Dr. Larsen spoke of the breadth and depth of his service, and led to a rousing ovation. Dr. Larsen provided some words of appreciation.

2007 Wollitzer Award

The recipient of the Wollitzer Award in 2007 was Professor R. Michael Paige, of the University of Minnesota. Diane Elton’s award citation, presented at The Forum Conference in Austin, TX, noted Dr. Paige’s many achievements, accomplishments and dedication on every level to education abroad.

2006 Wollitzer Award

The first Wollitzer Award was presented posthumously to Peter Wollitzer himself.  Peter was the Forum Advisory Council’s first chair, and was instrumental in helping to develop the Standards of Good Practice, the Council’s governance procedures, and much of the Council’s early work.  He did all this while working as Regional Director of Asia and Africa of the University of California Education Abroad Program, serving on the CIEE Academic Consortium Board, and while being treated for the brain cancer that ultimately took his life. Read the introductory remarks from the 2006 Annual Meeting.