Award for Global Engagement

2005 Recipient

Josef A. Mestenhauser

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Josef A. Mestenhauser has devoted his career to international education as teacher, researcher, administrator, counselor, and consultant—both at the University of Minnesota and around the world.

Mestenhauser has advocated the importance of the role of international students in higher education, promoted campus-community relations, insisted on a strong relationship between research and student programs, and advanced the professionalism of international educators. He is widely known as an interdisciplinary and visionary thinker.

Mestenhauser fled the political turmoil of his native Czechoslovakia and eventually enrolled at the University of Minnesota as a graduate student in 1950. His first position was in the international student adviser’s office. He continued working in student affairs for three decades, becoming director in 1979. He is remembered fondly for his assistance and friendship by scores of international alumni and scholars around the world. He served as director of the system-wide Office of International Education from 1986 to 1992, when he joined the faculty of the College of Education and Human Development. In the College he helped to build the graduate program in Comparative and International Development Education and a free-standing minor in international education. He became professor emeritus in 2000, though he continues to be active in research and advocacy.

He was involved in the early years of the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs, now known as NAFSA: Association of International Educators, eventually serving as president. He also played a major role in the early development of the Minnesota International Center. He won senior Fulbright awards in the Philippines, Japan, and his native Czech Republic. He has consulted with education ministers and influenced the educational systems of many nations. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Silver Medal from the Czech Republic.