2023 International Education Award Winners
The International Education Awards recognize outstanding faculty, staff and students for their commitment to international education. Awards are given at the annual International Honorary Reception during International Education Week in November.
Selection committees composed of individuals from across the university reviewed the nominations and decided award winners. Each recipient’s record of outstanding international contributions and accomplishments was recognized as worthy of distinction and inspiring to the students, staff and faculty of Georgia State.
Dr. Paul A. Lombardo
Regents’ Professor and Bobby Lee Cook Professor of Law
Center for Law, Health & Society
Paul A. Lombardo is a lawyer and historian who served from 2011-2016 as a senior advisor to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Lombardo has published extensively on topics in health law, medico-legal history, and bioethics and is best known for his work on the legal history of the American eugenics movement. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and has taught, lectured and done research at dozens of universities in the United States and in Italy, Russia, Pakistan, India, Austria, the Netherlands, England, and Canada.
In 2023, Lombardo was named Distinguished Professor of Bioethics and Law, by the Sindh Institute of Medical Sciences in Karachi, Pakistan, for his contribution to teaching there over the past two decades and recognized as a Hastings Center Fellow, “a group of more than 200 individuals of outstanding accomplishment whose work has informed scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science, and technology.”
In 2021 he received the Jay Healey Health Law Professor of the Year, from the American Society of Law, Medicine, & Ethics, and in 2019 he was named a Fulbright Specialist.
Lombardo joined the Georgia State Law faculty in 2006. As a member of the Center for Law, Health & Society, he teaches courses in Genetics and the Law, the History of Bioethics, Mental Health Law and the History of Public Health Law.
Learn more about Paul Lombardo.
Learn more about the Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement
Learn more about The Sheth Family Foundation’s endowment at Georgia State University
Dr. Nara Monkam
Associate Professor, Public Economics – University of Pretoria
Fiscal Policy Specialist
Dr. Nara Monkam, an Associate Professor of Public Economics, stands at the forefront of transformative initiatives at the University of Pretoria (UP). Joining UP’s Department of Economics in August 2022, her visionary leadership led to the establishment of the Public Policy Hub (PPH) in April 2023. This groundbreaking initiative positions UP as a knowledge platform in Africa, bridging academic research with government policy to foster sustainable, evidence-based public policymaking. The PPH champions the co-creation of transdisciplinary and policy-relevant research, aiming for better development outcomes across Africa. Through this seminal initiative, UP aspires to ensure its cutting-edge research translates into progressive policies, solutions, and innovations, driving societal advancement.
Before joining UP, Dr. Monkam held pivotal roles, including the Director of Research at the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) from February 2014 to April 2022 where she fostered strong relationships with member countries and steered ATAF’s research agenda to inform tax reforms and policy formulation in Africa. Notably, she was appointed to the Davis Tax Committee by the then Minister of Finance, Mr. Pravin Gordhan, from 2013 to 2018, playing a pivotal role in reassessing the South African tax system.
With over 17 years of experience, Dr. Monkam’s expertise includes public economics, domestic resource mobilization, tax policy and administration, intergovernmental fiscal relations, and property tax reforms. Her collaborations extend to international institutions and diverse countries, and she has offered her expertise to organizations like the UNDP, EU, GIZ, T20, IMF and the World Bank.
Dr. Monkam’s commitment to nurturing the next generation is evident in her role as a Postgraduate Mentor at UP and a mentor at Georgia State University (GSU), guiding students towards academic and professional excellence. Furthermore, her dedication to inclusivity shines through her appointment to the Diversity & Inclusion Committee of UP’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.
Holding a PhD from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Namur in Belgium, Dr. Monkam has established herself as a leading expert in her field. With French as her mother tongue and certification as an IMF’s Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT) Assessor, her contributions to academia and society have been impactful and widely acknowledged.
Learn more about the Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement
Learn more about The Sheth Family Foundation’s endowment at Georgia State University
Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences
Learn more about Lucy Popova.
Learn more about the Faculty Award for Global Engagement – Research & Scholarship
Professor of History and Associate Chair, Business and Cultural and Behavioral Sciences
Perimeter College (Newton Campus)
Dr. Salli Vargis, Professor of History and Associate Chair of Business and Cultural & Behavioral Sciences at Newton Campus, Georgia State University Perimeter College has a PhD in American History (Women’s History with a minor in Asian History) from Mississippi State University, MS. In addition, she has an M Phil in History with a specialization in Art History of India from Madras Christian College, University of Madras, India. Her areas of research include women in America and India, Indian church history, politics, art and the economy of India. She has published articles in the Encyclopedia of the Ancient World and in Education About Asia. She has also presented at various national and international conferences on different themes. She has taught in Virtual Exchange Modality and negotiated a Memorandum of Cooperation between GSU PC and Stella Maris College, Chennai, India for five years of collaborative international exchange in research, study abroad, etc. Dr. Vargis has directed 2 Faculty Development Seminars to India and 3 Study Abroad Programs for University System of Georgia. Teaching Asia Workshop Series is her contribution to infuse Asian content into the curriculum which she started under the aegis of the Asia Council of the System Council on International Education of the USG. This series, started in 2011 is an annual event for the past 11 years. She has many awards to her credit, they include but not limited to the NISOD national award for teaching, NACADA regional award for advising, and the Cole Fellow Award. She is past president of the Southwestern Social Science Association (SSSA).
Learn more about the Faculty Award for Global Engagement – Teaching, Service, & Outreach
Diana Wrenn Rapp
Atlanta Global Studies Center
Diana Wrenn Rapp served as the Associate Director of the Atlanta Global Studies Center, a Title VI National Resource Center, from 2019 until 2023. In this role, Ms. Wrenn Rapp coordinated and communicated with a dynamic network of university and community partners who work together on projects and programs that expand language learning and international cooperation in the Atlanta region. In addition, she managed the prestigious FLAS Fellowship Program for graduate and undergraduate students at GSU interested in advanced language learning and global area studies. Before joining the Atlanta Global Studies Center in 2019, Diana taught English as a Second Language to international college students in GSU’s Intensive English Program for over 10 years, mentored and trained new teachers, directed special programs, and organized events. Diana is currently pursuing her PhD from the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. In her free time, Diana likes to explore Georgia’s many natural parks and trails.
Learn more about the Staff Award for Global Engagement
School: School of Law
Niki Nourollahi is a recent graduate of Georgia State University’s College of Law Class of 2023. During her second year of law school, Niki spent her spring semester studying international law at Aarhus University. Niki also previously studied abroad during her undergraduate education at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business with Toulouse Business School in Toulouse, France for six months. Upon returning to GSU Law from Denmark, Niki has maintained relationships with her friends abroad and assisted new international exchange students in Atlanta as they arrived. She is passionate about her study-abroad experience and loves to share with others how the experience has enriched her life. Niki has recently accepted an associate position with Burr & Forman LLP in Atlanta as part of their corporate and tax practice group, with a concentration in securities transactional work. She hopes to continue traveling, connecting with others, and incorporating international law into her career as it moves forward.
Learn more about the Study Abroad Student of the Year Award
Felipe Benitez Ulloa
Major: Ph.D. in Mathematics
School: College of Arts and Science, Mathematics and Statistics Department
Home Country: Chile
Felipe Benitez, Mathematical Engineer from the Universidad de Concepcion, Chile, came to Atlanta in 2018 to pursue a Master’s in Mathematics at Georgia State University. His performance as a GLA and his high grades caught the attention of his professor who offered him the opportunity to transfer to the Ph.D. program and as a GTA and GRA . He also worked many times as a Volunteer International Student Assistant (V.I.S.A.) Leader for International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) at GSU. He welcomed numerous international students and helped them on their transition to a new life in Atlanta. At the same time, he has been involved with the Georgia State and Atlanta community sharing his Latin culture through dance.
Learn more about the International Graduate Student of the Year Award
Abdul Samad Yousuf
My name is Abdul Samad Yousuf, and I’m on an exciting academic journey pursuing a bachelor’s degree in finance. My passion for finance and dedication to excellence have shaped my educational path.
I kickstarted my academic voyage by graduating with the highest honors from Perimeter College, where I proudly earned an Associate of Science in the Summer 2022. My hard work and determination led me to receive esteemed scholarships like Georgia State University’s 100% Campus Atlanta Transfer Scholarship, the Alumni Association Transfer Scholarship, and the State Farm Transition Scholarship.
I’ve also been recognized for my performance in Quantitative Reasoning Math, earning the coveted title of Student of the Semester. My commitment to excellence consistently places me on the President’s List and Dean’s List, showcasing my dedication to maintaining top-tier academic standards.
Beyond the classroom, my passion for Business Administration has earned me the STAR Award, a recognition of my contributions and commitment to the field.
Looking ahead, my aspirations go beyond finance. I’m driven by the goal of attending law school and becoming a lawyer. I’m excited to combine my financial acumen with legal expertise, and I’m determined to make a lasting impact in the world of law.
As I continue to pave my way through academia, fueled by my passion for both finance and law, I’m excited to see where my dedication and determination take me next.
Learn more about the International Undergraduate Student of the Year Award