AIEA Secretariat 

The AIEA Secretariat is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, USA. 

altDr. Darla K. Deardorff, Executive Director

Darla K. Deardorff is Executive Director of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), based at Duke University. In addition, she is a research scholar in the Program in Education at Duke University and has held national leadership positions with NAFSA and with Forum on Education Abroad. Editor of The Sage Handbook of Intercultural Competence (Sage, 2009), she has published widely on international education and cross-cultural issues. She is also lead editor of the Sage Handbook of International Higher Education, (Sage, 2012) along with co-editors Hans de Wit, John Heyl and Tony Adams. Other recent books include Building Cultural Competence (Stylus, 2012), Demystifying Outcome Assessment for International Educators (Stylus 2015), and Intercultural Competence in Higher Education: International Approaches, Assessment and Application (Routledge, 2017), co-edited by Lily A. Arasaratnam-Smith.  With nearly 20 years of experience in the field of intercultural education, she teaches courses in international education and intercultural communication and is on the faculty of Harvard University's Future of Learning Institute, The Summer Institute of Intercultural Communication in Portland, OR, is research associate at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (S. Africa), Meiji University (Japan), Shanghai International Studies University (China) and adjunct faculty at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies (formerly Monterey Institute). She has given invited talks, trainings and workshops around the world on intercultural competence, international education assessment and global leadership and serves as a consultant and trainer on these topics. The intercultural competence models developed from her research are being used in numerous countries and she is recipient of several awards related to her work. Founder of ICC Global, her areas of specialty include cross-cultural training, assessment and evaluation, teacher/faculty preparation/development, curriculum internationalization, global leadership, and intercultural coaching. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees from North Carolina State University.

Katy Rosenbaum, Acting Associate Director

Katy Rosenbaum is Acting Associate Director at AIEA. Katy holds a Master in International Studies with a focus on international higher education from North Carolina State University and an undergraduate degree in history from Agnes Scott College. Katy joins AIEA after over four years in Morocco, first as a rural health education Peace Corps volunteer and then creating and facilitating short-term study abroad programs as Project Manager at Morocco Exchange. She currently serves on the board of the North Carolina Association of International Educators (NCAIE) as co-coordinator of two annual student conferences on global leadership development and re-entry. Katy has studied Spanish, French, and Tamazight Berber and has dabbled with Moroccan Arabic and Mandarin Chinese. 

Mel Simmons, Acting Assistant Director 

Mel Simmons is the Acting Assistant Director at AIEA. She has an extensive background working in education both in the United States and abroad. Mel most recently worked in elementary education in the United States as a Literacy Teacher. She has worked in international higher education in China for eight years, where she taught English and supported international student programs. Mel has conversational proficiency in Mandarin Chinese. For many years, she has served as a global volunteer traveling throughout Africa and Asia promoting intercultural learning through teaching. She devotes her expertise in literacy to non-profit youth organizations supporting children in the areas of reading and writing. Mel received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Daniel LawrenceDaniel Lawrence, Office Assistant

Daniel Lawrence is the Office Assistant at AIEA. He spent several years working with English language learners in Durham, North Carolina, first as an AmeriCorps member and then as coordinator of an adult ESOL program. Most recently, Daniel received his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Virginia Tech; he also holds an undergraduate degree in English Literature and Romance Languages from the University of North Carolina.


Sonali Kathuria

 Sonali Kathuria, International Education Intern

Sonali Kathuria is the International Education Intern at AIEA. She is an International Studies graduate, from North Carolina State University, who has done extensive research on the impact international borders have on national politics in South East Asia. She is fluent in Hindi and English and she put her bi-lingual skills to great use when she studied abroad in India to broaden the perspectives of her research on international borders. With these skills under her belt, she recently worked with UNESCO on a project which aimed to analyze the various ways Global Citizenship values were implemented through a plethora of cultures. Sonali is also an enthusiastic teacher of ESL and mentor for refugees in North Carolina.

Dr. Dafina Blacksher Diabate, currently on leave of absence 

Dafina Blacksher Diabate is currently on leave of absence from her position as Associate Director at the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), where she manages the daily operations of the Secretariat, based at Duke University. Dafina negotiates contracts with universities, governments and for profit and nonprofit organizations in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, raising a quarter of a million dollars annually. She currently serves as the treasurer of the North Carolina Association of International Educators (NCAIE). Fluent in French, she has also taken beginning courses in Spanish and Arabic. Dafina earned her bachelor’s in psychology from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a master’s in Africana studies from Cornell University, where she conducted fieldwork in Zimbabwe and research on the African publishing industry. She received her doctorate in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania in August 2017.

AIEA Associates

Accountant/HR Consultant - Charlotte Fleming
Conference Planner- Jo Ann O'Connell/  
Conference Registrar - Metro Connections /
Publications Designer - Claire Doyle Ragin, Red Beret Design /
Shipping - Maury Klein, The UPS Store