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Imara Dawson

Chief Administrator and Managing Director

Office Information:

Weiser Hall, 500 Church St., Suite 300
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
phone: 734.763.9200

International Institute; II Admin & Staff


JD, Indiana University
MA, Public Administration, Indiana University
BA, History, Hampton University

Mr. Imara V. Dawson is the Managing Director of the International Institute at the University of Michigan. Prior to working at the University of Michigan, Mr. Dawson served Executive Director and Senior International Officer at the Rinker Center for International Programs at Ball State University (2013-2017). In this capacity Mr. Dawson provides administrative leadership for and oversight of four administrative units within the Rinker Center for International Programs: Office of International Admissions and Recruitment, Office of International Student Services, Office of Study Abroad, and Office of International Academic Engagement and Global Initiatives. In addition, he provided the strategic vision and advice in working with faculty and administrators to internationalize the curriculum. 

Prior to working at Ball State University, Mr. Dawson served as Associate Director of the Office of International Programs at Chicago State University (2005-2011). In that capacity, he managed programs to promote internationalization and global visibility for the university, including planning, implementing and coordinating programs and activities, and by administering policies and procedures within the office. He also served as the Assistant Program Director for the USAID-TLMP/Ghana (2005-2011). An $18.5 million Africa Education Initiative (AEI) funded, USAID implemented Textbooks and Learning Materials Program (TLMP) that specifically focused on the challenges relating to lack of textbooks and other learning materials in Ghana. In addition, at Chicago State from 2001-2005, Mr. Dawson served as the program coordinator of a $3.5 million USAID funded South African capacity building grant called the South Africa Area Initiative (USAID-SAAI).

Mr. Dawson has also worked for Agricultural Business Systems, now the Africa Breeders Service-Total Cattle Management (ABS-TCM) in Nairobi, Kenya on a USAID funded agri-business grant whose purpose was to assist in the privatization of the Kenyan Dairy Industry and was managing director for Global Providers LLC a private company that dealt with the import and export of agricultural goods to Africa.  Also, while in Kenya, Mr. Dawson worked on development programs that developed the first Kenyan Digital Private Data Network and with ICT companies like the World Space Foundation and the Kenyan Education Network. He continues to serve as a trustee on the board for ABS-TCM in Nairobi.

Mr. Dawson holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree with an emphasis in International Business / Trade, International Law and International Intellectual Property (1998) and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis public and private partnerships within the context of International Development (2000) both from Indiana University-Bloomington. He also received his Bachelor of Arts Degree (cum laude) in History (High Honors) from Hampton University (1995), with as emphasis on pre and post-colonial African history. Mr. Dawson's research areas include examining the relationship between the public sector, private sector, and non-governmental organizations as a model for international development in developing nations.

Mr. Dawson is a child of a former Peace Corps Director (Fiji, Tanzania and Swaziland), and as such he has lived all over the world. He is also a 2015-16 Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) Presidential Fellow and is a current member of the AIEA Strategic Issues Committee.

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