The Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) has named Denis Simon, executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan, as this year’s recipient of the Charles Klasek Award.
The award, presented each year at the AIEA’s annual conference, recognizes Simon’s outstanding service as a scholar and researcher, educator and mentor, senior administrator and adviser, and organizer and advocate in the field of international education.
“Receiving the Klasek Award from AIEA is one of the most prestigious professional achievements of my career, because it highlights formal recognition from my peers in the field of international higher education,” said Simon. “It also constitutes a statement that my work has had real, meaningful impact.”
Simon’s long and distinguished career has included positions at a variety of leading institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts, State University of New York, and Arizona State University.
He became executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan in 2015. Since then, he has overseen creation of the university’s undergraduate degree program and completion of the first phase of campus construction. Simon will step down from his current role in June.
Since first visiting Asia in the mid-1970s, and the Chinese mainland in 1981, Simon has developed an extensive network of professional relationships in the region, through which he has contributed to the development of Sino-U.S. collaborations in education, science and technology, and innovation. In 2006, he received the China National Friendship Award, the highest honor given by the Chinese government to foreign experts for their contribution to the country’s development.
“One of my previous bosses used to say that the true measure of one’s achievements in international education is having both global reach and global impact,” said Simon. “I believe my work involving China-U.S. cooperation, in particular, has helped build bridges of long-term understanding and trust that I hope can help sustain the relationship even when it finds itself in troubled waters.”
The AIEA, a member organization based in Durham, North Carolina, established the award in 1995 in tribute to Charles Klasek, a founding member and former president.