Hillary Clinton

On various occasions during her recent travels to Southeast Asia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underlined how important people-to-people exchanges are to building close ties between the United States and South-East Asian countries.

Speaking at the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Clinton expressed the U.S.’ commitment to deepening our “people-to-people engagement,” explaining that:

In a video message recorded on the occasion of the third EducationUSA Forum, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once more underlined the importance of bringing international students to the United States for study and the critical work of the EducationUSA Advising Centers in more than 170 across the globe.

The Obama Administration’s strong rhetoric in support of international education and exchange does not always match with reality, and is described by some to be “superficial,” according to an article in yesterday’s Chronicle of Higher Education:

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Last Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong “hailed the importance of people-to-people engagement during the third annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE),” according to a media note released by the Department of State.

The U.S. Department of State announced this week the online opening of the Virtual U.S. Embassy Tehran as “an opportunity for engagement between the peoples of Iran and the United States.”

The number of international students enrolled at U.S. universities has increased by five per cent, according to the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Open Doors 2011 report, released yesterday at a briefing that kicked off this year's International Education Week. Open Doors 2011 also reveals that international students contributed more than $21 billion to the U.S. economy in 2010-11, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data.

The first U.S.-India Higher Education Summit was held last week at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. Attendees of the summit, including numerous U.S. university presidents, leaders in the NGO international education and exchange community, and government officials, sought "deeper, broader, and more sustained collaboration" between the two countries, including educational exchange:

The Department of State plans to resume Fulbright student and scholarly exchanges and English language training programs in Libya, the Associated Press and the Chronicle of Higher Education both report.

Foreign language and culture training is “essential to our ability not only to protect our security, but frankly to be a nation that is well educated,” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said yesterday during a wide-ranging conversation with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National Defense University.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton posted on his website yesterday, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) noted that he is “concerned that the [Exchange Visitor] program lacks sufficient oversight of program sponsors and enforcement of the protections against abuse.” Udall asked Clinton to “provide an outline of the steps that the [State] Department has taken to ensure proper oversight and enforcement to protect against possible misuse of the visa program as it pertains to the protection of U.S. workers.”

Udall also wrote that his intention with this request is to work with the State Department “to maintain the true intent of the Exchange Visitor Program as an educational and cultural exchange that can serve as an important diplomatic tool while also protecting the interests of American workers.”

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