Guest blog by Maureen McLaughlin, Senior Advisor and Director of International Affairs, Office of the Secretary
If it wasn’t already clear before the pandemic, it should be clear now that, in today’s interconnected world, many of our biggest challenges—reducing economic and social disparities, building prosperity, supporting public health, addressing climate change, and maintaining peace—are global in nature. To address these challenges, we must work together—not just within the United States, but also with others around the world.
Regardless of where you live, study or work, or whatever your field of work or study, what happens in other parts of the world can affect communities in the United States. And, what happens here can have an impact in other nations.
That’s why international education is vital: it promotes mutual understanding among people from different nations and helps ensure that Americans from all walks of life better understand the world and are prepared to effectively engage with our neighbors. It also builds lasting relationships among peers and future leaders across the globe.
As we recover and build back better from the pandemic and a difficult period, it is an ideal time for the U.S. Departments of State and Education to issue a Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education, with support from the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security.
The Joint Statement is the first such public affirmation in over 20 years. The U.S. Departments of State and Education have committed to undertaking actions to support a renewed focus on international education, with ten key principles of support. Highlighted examples of the principles include:
- A coordinated national approach to international education, including international students on our campuses, study abroad for Americans, and the internationalization of U.S. campuses and classrooms.
- A welcoming environment for international students coming to the United States, encouraging a diversity of participants, disciplines, and types of schools and higher education institutions where they can choose to study, teach, or contribute to research.
- Encouragement for U.S. students, researchers, scholars, and educators who reflect the diversity of the U.S. population to pursue overseas study, internships, research, and other international experiences.
- Promotion of expanded access to international education, including using technology where in-person experiences are not feasible, to connect U.S. students, researchers, scholars, and educators with their peers abroad.
- Partnerships of the U.S. government with higher education institutions, schools, state and local governments, the business community, and others to support international education.
These principles and the others reflected in the Joint Statement will help us to welcome international students to the United States and to develop the global and cultural competencies Americans need to navigate successfully the ever-changing global landscape. We look forward to working with our partners at the U.S. Department of State and in other federal agencies, as well as with education institutions across the United States, to pursue this important work.