2020 A. Noam Chomsky Global Connections Awards

December 8, 2020
By Janita Poe
2020-2021 STAR Scholars Network Journalist in Residence

Elspeth Jones, Tran Xuan Bach, Ly Tran, Raphael Panagalangan, Jasper Kun-Ting Hsieh, Yao-Tai Li, and Maria Pilar Lorenzo are the winners of the 2020 A. Noam Chomsky Global Connections awards.

The new awards recognize scholars from the Society of Transnational Academic Researchers (STAR) Scholars Network for distinctive contributions to transnational research that demonstrates the very best of scholarly collaboration among scholars around the world. Dr. Uttam Gaulee, current president of STAR, said the awards reflect the organization’s commitment to promoting transnational research, or collaborative research between scholars of two or more countries (e.g., joint publications, research partnerships, etc.).

“The works of these scholars are intellectually breathtaking,” said Gaulee, in an interview after the awards were announced. “I applaud them for their audacity and boldness in advancing global social mobility. What a powerful addition to the positive force that is shaping a more humane and just world.”

The awards include the following categories:

  •  North Star Medal of Lifetime Achievement. This is the Star Scholars Network’s premier acknowledgment of outstanding achievement and success in transnational research. The medal honors a senior scholar whose life-long service, leadership, and contributions serve as a guiding “North Star” for scholarly collaboration in research.
  • Shining Star Achievement in Research Award. The Shining Star recognizes influential scholarly contributions in any discipline, whether they be in the form of scholarly journal articles, books, book chapters, or other expressions of scholarly collaboration. Each year, the Star Scholars Network will celebrate up to two (2) exemplary achievements in transnational research.
  • Rising Star Emerging Scholar Certificate. This is the recognition of emerging scholars who have shown significant promise and commitment to transnational research. Each year, the Star Scholars Network will recognize up to two (2) scholars in this category. One award will recognize an emerging scholar (post terminal degree completion) in any field that has distinguished him or herself as a rising leader in advancing transnational research. The other award will recognize a current graduate student who has demonstrated significant promise of advancing transnational research through publications, leadership, or other relevant contributions. 

The winners are:


The North Star Medal of Lifetime Achievement is the Star Scholars Network’s premier acknowledgment of outstanding achievement and success in transnational research. The medal honors a senior scholar whose life-long service, leadership and contributions serve as a guiding “North Star” for scholarly collaboration in research.  


Elspeth Jones is Emerita Professor of the Internationalisation of Higher Education, Leeds Beckett University, UK and an internationally recognised thought leader, author and researcher in the internationalisation of HE. She is Honorary Visiting Fellow and member of the Academic Board, Centre for Higher Education Internationalisation at UCSC, Milan, Senior Expert at the Global Impact Institute, Prague and has held Visiting Professorships at a range of institutions. 

Elspeth has extensive experience in transnational research from her forty years in the field. Having lived in several countries, and speaking a number of languages she has far-reaching international networks and collaborates widely with both established scholars and early career researchers. 

As founding editor of the influential Routledge book series, Internationalization in Higher Education, she has worked with scholars across six continents on more than twenty books published or forthcoming. She has been involved in funded research and development projects in twenty-five countries, and with a range of cross-national institutions, including the International Association of Universities, European Parliament, European Commission and Columbus Association (UNESCO). Elspeth’s YouTube series includes conversations with a diverse range of international educators around the globe.

Elspeth’s research interests include internationalization of curriculum and intercultural competence development, inclusive and integrated internationalization strategy, and the student experience of internationalization, including personal and professional outcomes from international mobility. She won the European Association for International Education Award for Excellence in Research, regularly reviews for international journals and is on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Studies in International Education.


Each year, the Star Scholars Network celebrates up to two (2) exemplary achievements in transnational research. The Shining Star Achievement in Research Award recognizes influential scholarly contributions in any discipline, whether they be in the form of scholarly journal articles, books, book chapters, or other expressions of scholarly collaboration.  


Dr. Bach Tran is Vice Head of Department of Health Economics at Hanoi Medical University, Vietnam, and Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests include the application of epidemiological-economic models to explore the determinants of infectious diseases outbreaks, assess nations’ vulnerability, and identify cost-effective system and human behavioral responses. He has extensive experience in research, surveillance, and evaluation of global health threats in Asia and the Pacific. He is the winner of numerous international and domestic research awards, including the Hopkins Center for AIDS Research’s International Research Award and the Dang Van Ngu Award. He has been publishing frequently with over 300 papers in highly regarded international journals in global health sciences, including The Lancet, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, AIDS and Behaviors.

Dr. Bach Tran earned his PhD (2011) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship (2013) in Health Economics and Policy from the University of Alberta, Canada. Dr. Bach Tran served as a Health Economist at the Institute of Health Economics, Canada (2013), and a research fellow of the International AIDS Society at the Johns Hopkins University (2014). Since 2015, he is co-chair of the Global Health Innovations Network (GHIN) which aims to fostering innovations, research and publications towards sustainable health and development in LMICs. He was an Executive Committee member of the Global Young Academy in 2018-9.  Serving as Vice President of the Vietnam Young Physician Association, Dr. Tran has also been a pioneer in promoting research and evidence-based medicine in the Vietnamese health care system. 



Dr. Ly Tran is a Professor in the School of Education, Deakin University, Australia and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. She was a lecturer at Hue University, Vietnam, prior to coming to Australia. Dr. Tran has published extensively on internationalisation of education, international students, international graduate employability, Indo-Pacific student mobility, and comparative and Vietnamese higher education. Her books and papers have won a range of awards.

Dr. Tran has a long-standing commitment to transnational research. Her transnational research publications appear in a range of outlets, from highly-esteemed academic publishers to non-academic but high impact outlets such as good practice guides, think pieces, policy analysis, and industry discussion. 

Through her research and publications, she has theorised the key aspects of student mobility and contributed the new vocabularies to transnational education research, as demonstrated through her series of articles, including ‘Mobility as becoming’, ‘Responsibility in mobility’, ‘Agency in mobility’, ‘Ethnicity and identity of mobile students’, ‘Student mobility as public diplomacy’ and ‘Student mobility, connectedness and identity’. Her conceptualisation of “mobility as becoming” and theorisation of the lived experiences of international students have appeared in British Journal of Sociology of Education.

Dr. Tran is committed to disseminating her research results to a wider audience outside the academia through writing commentaries in high impact magazines such as the Conversation and providing commentaries to a range of media outlets. Her coverage of international graduates’ circumstances on the Conversation, reaching 210,000 readers, has served the first in-depth analysis of the economic and humanitarian crisis facing this group during COVID-19.


Each year, the Star Scholars Network recognizes up to two (2) emerging scholars who have shown significant promise and commitment to transnational research. One award will recognize an emerging scholar (post terminal degree completion) in any field that has distinguished him or herself as a rising leader in advancing transnational research. The other award will recognize a current graduate student who has demonstrated significant promise to advancing transnational research through publications, leadership, or other relevant contributions.



Dr. Pangalangan is recognised for his outstanding scholarly work and legal practice. Pangalangan  practiced Criminal Law with the Office of the Ombudsman of the Philippines and was a Lecturer in Philosophy with the University of the Philippines under the mentorship of Professor Renato Manaloto. He thereafter completed a clerkship with the Office of the President of the UNIRMCT under Judge Carmel Agius, while simultaneously finishing his M.St. in Human Rights at the University of Oxford. 

While earning his LL.M. with the University of Cambridge, Raphael served as a Project Researcher for the Cambridge Pro Bono Project where he assisted on a Consultative Opinion filed before the IACtHR. He has written extensively on Transnational and International Law with the Brill | Nijhoff, the Oxford University Press, and the Cambridge University Press. His article, Dominic Ongwen and the Rotten Social Background Defense, was cited by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and was awarded the Human Rights Essay Award by the American University Washington College of Law. He is also the recipient of the Oxford-Morris Prize in Human Rights, the Hague Academy of International Law Scholarship, and the Korean International Association Grant for Comparative Law.

Dr. Pangalangan has continued his legal advocacy as a Junior Fellow with Reprieve, the Chief Academic Adviser of the Aristotle & Alexander Institute, and as a Consultant with Ocampo & Suralvo Law Offices. He sits as the Associate Dean and Assistant Professor in Human Rights of Jindal Global Law School—India’s premiere school of law.



Dr. Jasper Kun-Ting Hsieh is an emerging scholar in International Education since graduating from The University of New South Wales in 2016. Jasper has been an active member in the areas of International Higher Education, TESOL, the Sociology of Education, and Learning Design. He is serving as Associate Editor at Journal of International Students and Fellow at STAR Scholar Network. His most recent work is a monograph titled International Student Mobility: Exploring Identities and Engagements. Jasper employed ethnographic methods and followed a group of Taiwanese international students to Australian higher education for 4 years. With a rearticulated Bourdieuian framework, his ethnographic work teased out how social inequality has been produced, reproduced, and accepted ubiquitously through an internationalised and commercialised Australian higher education. Jasper is continuously conducting transnational research on improving the quality of internationalised higher education. He is currently working on two research projects on the learning design for students from diverse backgrounds with scholars based at Hong Kong University and The University of New South Wales.   



Dr. Yao-Tai Li is an assistant professor of sociology at Hong Kong Baptist University. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology (2017) from the University of California, San Diego. His recent publications offer a procedural and transnational understanding of migration decision, group relations, integration, social mobility, and identity in a trans-temporal, trans-cultural, and trans-spatial context. In particular, has has been interested in examining how Chinese migrant workers see integration and the “convertibility” of migration experiences in a transnational context, and navigate their future opportunities around both receiving and home countries. In an article published in Current Sociology (2020), for example, he demonstrated the complex relationship between transnational ties, migrants’ subjective aspirations, and integration. In this article, he discussed how temporary migrant workers “imagine” future scenarios, how they interpret integration, and what their aspirations are when maintaining transnational ties. The subjective aspirations of WHMs influence the ways they undertake transnational practice, maintain transnational ties, engage in socio-cultural activities, and envision their future toward both receiving and home countries during their journey of transnational migration. This publication is of theoretical importance to the field of transnational migration and has empirical significance to the policy-making in migration and youth mobility.



Maria Pilar Lorenzo joined Ghent University’s Centre for Higher Education Governance Ghent as a PhD candidate in November 2020. She recently obtained an MSc degree in International Politics (KU Leuven, 2020, magna cum laude), an Advanced MSc degree in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies (KU Leuven, 2019, cum laude), and a Master’s degree in Public Administration (University of the Philippines, 2018, summa cum laude ranking, top of the cohort). She is currently a Fellow of the Regional Academy on the United Nations, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Research Associate of the Philippine Society for Public Administration, an Associate Member of the National Research Council of the Philippines, a Member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and a Member of the ASEAN Think Tanks Network (by invitation only). She is a recipient of cumulatively 70 grants, scholarships, honors, and awards including the recognition by YSEALI Women’s Leadership Academy Alumni Network as one of the 2020 cohort of women leaders in Southeast Asia.

As a researcher, she is fascinated with examining issues relating to higher education regionalization processes and policies, governance, and social (in)equities. Her most recent study investigates the cross-border research of a Philippine higher education institution within the ambit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Her publications include “The imperatives of peace for development in the Philippines” (Center for Local and Regional Governance), “Social equity in the Philippines” (Palgrave Macmillan), “Jewish migration in the Philippines” (Graz University Press), among others. She also has three forthcoming co-authored chapters in edited volumes to be published by Palgrave Macmillan, Springer, and World Scientific. In addition, her think pieces have appeared in Channel NewsAsia, East Asia Forum, Modern Diplomacy, etc.

The 2020 Award Committee was chaired by Dr. Anthony C. Ogden, Vice President of International Learning and Engagement for the Star Scholars Network. Other members of the award committee included:

  • Dr. Krishna Bista, Morgan State University, USA
  • Dr. Fred Boateng, University of Ghana, Ghana
  • Ms. Janita Poe, Georgia State University, USA
  • Dr. Rosalind Raby, California Colleges for International Education, USA
  • Dr. CindyAnn Rose-Redwood, University of Victoria, Canada
  • Dr. Yuriko Sato, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan

The Network presented the awards on Tuesday, December 8 during the 2020 STAR Conference Closing and Award Ceremony, which can be viewed globally via Zoom and social media. 

Dr. Chomsky, the Laureate Professor of Linguistics, Agnese Nelms Haury Chair of The University of Arizona, will be the special guest during the Award Ceremony. A. Noam Chomsky Global Connections Awards celebrate the power of human connections. The awards recognize distinguished service to the global mission of the STAR Scholars Network. Several individuals with a deep impact on advancing global, social mobility are recognized every year. We live in a time when innovation and creativity in support of humanity are of great importance. The STAR Scholars Network recognizes the commitment of concerned people able and willing to make a difference in the lives of others. Nominations for this award are solicited from around the world. The nominee can be from any field.

STAR Scholars Network is an international forum of scholars that advances global social mobility through research and advocacy. In August 2020, Professor Noam Chomsky gave his name to the Global Connections Awards of the STAR Scholars Network.