Dr. Mark A. Ashwill - Managing Director & Co-Founder
I have spent my entire career as an international educator and education entrepreneur working in the public, non-profit, and private sectors in three countries.
Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo
M.A., University of Maryland, College Park
B.A., University of Delaware
Before I co-founded Capstone in 2009, I served as country director of the Institute of International Education (IIE)-Vietnam from 2005-09. Prior to that, I was director of the World Languages Institute, campus Fulbright adviser, and a part-time lecturer at the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo).
I earned a Ph.D. in Comparative and Higher Education from the SUNY-Buffalo Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. In addition, I hold M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Delaware, respectively. I also studied, taught, and conducted research in Germany, including the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
A word about my world view and the values system in which it is anchored. Once you know that about a person, everything usually else makes sense. I self-identify as a global citizen without national affiliation. This means that while I carry a US passport, it doesn’t define or limit me. I agree with George Santayana, the famous philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist, who once said, "To me it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography.” This in part explains why I find my work as an international educator and education entrepreneur so richly rewarding.
A quality overseas study experience in which participants take full advantage of every opportunity that comes their way is one way to develop both intercultural competence, a skill set that can applied to any number of values systems and placed in the service of good or evil, and to become a global citizen, which can be with or without national affiliation. (In other words, global citizenship and patriotism can be mutually inclusive; nationalism and global citizenship cannot.) Students who follow this recipe for success graduate as bilingual and bicultural individuals with personal initiative, an extensive international network, a solid foundation of knowledge, and an impressive range of semi-professional experiences, e.g., internships.
I am passionate about opening others’ minds, especially the young people we work with, and helping them explore their own interests, abilities, and potential so that they find their ikigai, or reason for being. Many of these students will end up studying overseas; most will not. Vietnamese in general but especially young people are mentally and psychologically prepared to become global citizens, with or without a substantive overseas experience. Most are open and naturally curious about the rest of the world – to their benefit and that of their country.
To learn more about my background, read this biographical sketch on my blog, An International Educator in Viet Nam.