Now that travel restrictions are being lifted, International Education Week (IEW), Nov. 15–19, 2021, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the US Department of State and the US Department of Education is part of an effort to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.
In a joint statement, the federal departments propose the following principles to guide their approach to international education, recognizing that the US government has a unique role in international education because of its responsibility to the American people; its purview over foreign affairs, national security, and economic and border policy; its capacity to provide national and global leadership; and its role in affecting how the US is perceived globally.
As US federal agencies involved in different aspects of international education, the departments commit to undertaking actions to support a renewed focus on international education, including seeking to:
- Participate in a coordinated national approach to international education, including study in the US by international students, researchers, and scholars; study abroad for Americans; international research collaboration; and the internationalization of US campuses and classrooms.
- Emphasize the US government’s commitment to supporting key facets of international education, in partnership with US higher education institutions, schools, state and local governments, nongovernmental entities, the business community, and other stakeholders.
- Incorporate a strong focus on international education as part of the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to build back better at home, maintain US global leadership, and promote equitable access to the benefits of international education.
- Welcome international students, researchers, scholars, and educators to the US in a safe and secure manner and encourage a diversity of participants, disciplines, and types of authorized schools and higher education institutions where they can choose to study, teach, or contribute to research.
- Encourage US students, researchers, scholars, and educators who reflect the diversity of the US population to pursue overseas study, internships, research, and other international experiences.
- Recognize the significant benefits that international students, researchers, scholars, and exchange alumni contribute to research, innovation, economic development, and job opportunities in many fields and sectors throughout the US.
- Promote expanded access to international education, including through the use of technology where in-person experiences are not feasible, to connect US students, researchers, scholars, and educators with their peers abroad.
- Implement policies, procedures, and protocols so as to facilitate international education and authorized practical experiences while promoting program integrity and protecting national security. Clearly communicate policy guidance and
- implement fair, efficient, and transparent support processes while maintaining national security and upholding the law.
- Leverage existing international education programs and resources to create new opportunities to broaden access and underpin US excellence and leadership.
- Foster increased cooperation among the federal government, the private sector, and educational institutions so as to maintain the integrity of federally funded and protected intellectual property and research endeavors from undue foreign influence and unlawful acquisition.
US secretary of commerce Gina M. Raimondo issued a statement of support: “For generations, the United States has proudly served as the premier destination for international students to pursue degrees, obtain world-class workforce training, and make meaningful contributions to our communities and the nation’s economy. These students’ dreams and successes would not be possible without the unwavering support of a robust US education industry—colleges and universities, public and private schools, and local programs all underpinned by education products, service providers, and technologies made in America.
“The Department of Commerce is proud to support the competitiveness of our education sector, which in 2020 ranked as the sixth largest US service export at $39 billion, a $32.3 billion trade surplus benefiting our economy. Educational service exports are generated when international students pay for tuition, housing, books, and other fees to study in the US. NAFSA estimates that international students studying at US colleges and universities supported nearly 416,000 jobs during the 2019–2020 academic year.
“I thank the teams at the Departments of State, Education, Homeland Security, and Commerce who contributed to this policy framework, which will better position the US to welcome the next generation of international students.”
Participation of all individuals and institutions interested in international education and exchange activities is encouraged, including schools, colleges and universities, embassies, international organizations, businesses, associations, and community organizations. Individuals and institutions tend to hold IEW events as it is convenient for them in their local communities.
To connect with and host international exchange participants living in your own community, visit www.globaltiesus.org/.