U.S. Department of State Hosts Seventh Annual EducationUSA Forum for American Colleges and Universities

Dr. Jill Biden, (center-left) and Assistant Secretary for Education and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan (center-right) pose for a group photo at the 2016 EducationUSA Forum. [State Department Photo]

Lifelong educator and community college champion, Dr. Jill Biden, sent a powerful message in her keynote address earlier this month at the seventh annual EducationUSA Forum that “education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” The U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA network reaches millions of international students each year and provides accurate, current, and comprehensive information about opportunities to achieve their dreams of studying in the United States.

At this year’s EducationUSA Forum, 575 U.S. higher education community representatives, 60 EducationUSA education experts from around the world, and government officials convened to share best practices on how to recruit, retain, engage, and support international students on American campuses. Participants discussed traditional and virtual recruiting strategies, promoting access through digital resources, emerging trends in international student mobility, community college outreach, and more.

The State Department understands that student mobility and access to international educational experiences are essential to the development of the next generation of global leaders who can collaborate across languages, cultures, and borders to address the most pressing challenges of our time.

Secretary Kerry recently noted the importance of international student mobility to our work in foreign policy, calling it perhaps the single most important thing we do. He said, “In country after country that I have visited where I’ve had the privilege to meet with the finance minister, an environment minister, a foreign minister, a prime minister, or even a president, these individuals have taken advantage of programs of exchange during the course of their own education.”

Key foreign policy issues such as climate change, global security, and human rights will require that leaders in science, technology, business, and policy possess the knowledge and skills developed through overseas study.

The EducationUSA network assists with this effort, hosting over 400 student advising centers in 177 countries. EducationUSA also administers the Opportunity Funds Program that assists highly talented students who lack the funds to cover the upfront American college and university application costs.

The efforts of the Forum and EducationUSA to create an inclusive, diverse population of international students around the world is essential to building the next generation of leaders abroad and right here at home in the United States. This is supported by the State Department and bolsters our commitment to engaging Americans on foreign affairs. We believe that internationalizing U.S. institutions is important because when American students learn from their international peers, or study abroad themselves, they significantly enhance their worldviews, perspectives, and working capabilities to meet today’s global challenges.

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on DipNote, the U.S. Department of State’s Official Blog.