Interim director named for International Affairs Forum

TRAVERSE CITY — Jim Bensley, a board member of the International Affairs Forum (IAF) at Northwestern Michigan College, as well as an instructor and director of International Services and Service Learning at the college, has been named interim director of IAF.

For 27 years, the IAF has offered a monthly lecture series featuring experts in foreign and domestic affairs, politics and the media. Usually held at Milliken Auditorium, lectures have continued virtually during the pandemic. “Outlooks on U.S. National Security” is scheduled for Feb. 18.

Bensley will serve for one year, working with the IAF board to more closely integrate its work with NMC. He is ideally positioned to strengthen the IAF-NMC connection. As an instructor, he has enriched his classes at the college with visits from many IAF lecturers, even during the pandemic, and has led the creation of NMC’s Global Endorsement Certificate. He has also led many student study abroad experiences.

Bensley succeeds Leila Hilal, who in 2019 became the organization’s first-ever director. A search committee composed of IAF board members and NMC representatives will conduct a search for a permanent director. This task is expected to be completed by December 31, 2021. With the enduring support of members and corporate sponsors, the International Affairs Forum is energized to continue its mission of advancing understanding of the world and its critical issues. Find out more at


Release date: February 16, 2021

For more information:

Jim Bensley
IAF interim director
(231) 995-2527


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.