Ms. Eleanor Spiegel

(KNFP-09 Advisor)

Focus Areas

Higher Education
Finance / Fundraising / Administration
Leadership Development
Social Justice
Gender Issues
Immigration & Border Issues


Eleanor Spiegel has spent the better part of six decades advocating for international understanding and education, and even in retirement, is still active in championing issues she cares about. In the 1950s, Spiegel became co-executive director of the International Student Center located at Cambridge, MA. This began a long career supporting international and underrepresented populations both in the United States and abroad. For 10 years, Ellie served as the director of programs and resident services at the International House in New York, where she developed countless new programs and initiatives aimed at providing valuable support to international graduate students. In her time as director, she used her energy and dedication to bring distinguished speakers such as Bishop Desmond Tutu to “I House.” She played a key role in launching the East/West Leadership Program in 1989 for residents of Central and Eastern Europe. She was successful in relating international students to communities and neighborhoods throughout Greater New York. Ellie was awarded the Region X Lifetime Services Award at the Region X 2010 conference for her extensive service to the regional and/or national NAFSA: Association of International Educators community (NAFSA). Perhaps Spiegel's greatest legacy from her time at the International House was her creation of the Women's International Leadership (WIL) Program, which still lives on today. The WIL Program prepares a select group of women from diverse cultures and disciplines for future leadership positions. Since leaving the International House in 1994, she has maintained a role supporting the WIL Program. Ellie has served NAFSA in a number of ways. She has built a robust partnership between the organization and the United Nation's Department of Public Information. As the first NAFSA's representatives to the UN, her tireless efforts have been aimed at involving as many universities and students as possible. Throughout her career, Ellie worked with a variety of educational endeavors. She taught as a volunteer in Kenya, South Korea, and the Philippines. While serving on the Leonia (NJ) Board of Education, Ellie helped start an alternative high school taught by community members and was appointed to the committee to create the Thomas Edison State College (NJ's external degree institution) of which she eventually became chair of the Board of Trustees. She also founded the Community of Friends in Action, working with undocumented immigrants in Northern New Jersey. Mrs. Spiegel continues to work with nonprofit organizations. Since 2011, she and others hold weekly vigils proclaiming "War is not the answer." Like many other peace vigils in this country, they have been on the street corner every week without fail. Their signs may change, but the message is always the same. Fifteen years ago they initiated the observance of the UN International Day of Peace, observed in communities throughout the world on September 21. Leonians of all ages and backgrounds gather to recommit ourselves to peace.