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Photograph of Senem Bakar

Senem Bakar Director, International Student & Scholar Services International Student and Scholar Services

MA in Economics; Catholic University of America, Graduate Certificate in Cross Cultural Communication; American University, BS in Economics and Finance; Ankara University, Elementary Teaching Degree; Turkey

Languages Spoken
Turkish, native English, fluent Turkmen-Azeri, advanced
Favorite Spot on Campus
University Club
Book Currently Reading
“Istanbul” by Orhan Pamuk which looks at the city from historical and cultural perspectives
With over 29 years of experience in international education, Senem is directing International Student & Scholar Services at American University (AU) and providing expertise to other university offices on international education exchange. Senem is the recipient of the Outstanding Contributions to International Education Award from NAFSA: Association of International Educators in 2015, the Fulbright International Education Administrators Grant to France in 2017, and the Service to the Community Award from AU in 2005. She has served in various  NAFSA leadership positions, including chairing the Embassy Dialogue Committee on Education (EDC) for 15 years, mentoring new professionals, and training at national conferences on J1 Exchange Visitor Regulations and Foreign Credential Analysis. She has served on the scholarship selection committees of the Boren, Fulbright, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, and the U.S. Department of State Critical Languages Scholarship Program. Senem has been interviewed by the US Department of State, VOA, NBC, ABC, WETA, WAMU, NPR, and several foreign media on international education matters. Senem researched and delivered numerous presentations at national and international conferences on topics relevant to international education. Prior to joining International Student & Scholar Services, Senem was instrumental in increasing AU's international profile when she managed international admissions and recruitment at AU for 8 years and traveled to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa to market the university. She has published an International Cookbook through AU to raise funds for international students who are in need of emergency funds and, researched and developed a reentry transition workshop for international students returning home after graduation. She has a published CD Rom by Rosetta Stone for Turkish Language teaching.
See Also

Partnerships & Affiliations

  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators
    Member, Leadership

  • Council of American Overseas Research Centers for US Department of Critical Language Scholarship by CRCIS
    Scholarship Selection Board

  • US Department of State
    J1 Responsible Officer

  • Department of Homeland Security
    Designated School Official

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Issues surrounding international students and scholars, cross cultural communication and crisis management.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Full Scholarship for graduate study in the U.S. by Turkish Government (1986-88)

Staff Performance Award by American University (2005)

Center for Global Education at UCLA – innovative practices of student support (2014)

Certificate of Appreciation by NAFSA Region 8 for Mentoring (2013)

Outstanding Contributions to International Education by NAFSA (2015)

Certificate of Appreciation by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2017)

Fulbright International Administrators Award by the U.S. Department of State (2017)


Rosetta Stone Turkish Beginners

Selected Publications

Tales of Taste International Cookbook

Professional Certifications

·         Elementary Teaching

·         Mediation Training

·         Targeted Selection