Assistant Secretary Ryan: "People-to-people ties benefit the entire global community”

International education and exchange are vital to U.S. diplomacy and allow students to acquire valuable skills and become leaders in their respective professions, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Evan Ryan told The PIE News in a recent interview.

“International education is an important element of U.S. foreign relations,” Ryan said, highlighting the benefits of people-to-people exchanges:

“The people-to-people ties and transfer of knowledge achieved through international education builds and sustains a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world that benefits the entire global community. International education and exchange is vital to our diplomacy efforts and establishes lasting ties between individuals today that translate into stronger relations between nations tomorrow.”

When asked about the possibility of measuring a student’s global experience, Ryan explained:

“Students who obtain global experiences develop knowledge and skills that position them as leaders in all sectors and professions. They learn to think with a broadened perspective, better understand cultural diversity, become more proficient in foreign languages, and gain skills that foster success in their educational pursuits, professional careers, and daily life.”

Speaking about the Bureau’s activities to promote study abroad, Ryan talked about the recent establishment of the U.S. Study Abroad office within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and its newly launched informational website studyabroad.state.gov. She further explained that ECA “will be announcing a new round of capacity building grants for U.S. institutions, and … will host capacity building workshops around the world for institutions who want to attract more American students.”

Citing that international education is “a two-way process,” Ryan also expressed the Bureau’s desire to increase the number of international students enrolled at U.S. institutions of higher education:

“This has always been a priority for us ... Given the strength, scope, and diversity of U.S. higher education, there is significant capacity to host more international students, providing them with high quality educational and cultural opportunities while internationalizing our campuses and communities. We are committed to increasing the number of international students on U.S. campuses, preparing both international students and Americans for the global economy and a future working together to address global challenges.”