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To the Next President: To Get Public Diplomacy Right, Focus on International Education

August 12, 2008

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a set of policy recommendations for the next administration released today, NAFSA: Association of International Educators urges presidential leadership for a “revived public diplomacy” that would put international education and exchange front and center in the effort to repair the country’s reputation in the world and advance its global leadership.

In the introduction to International Education: The Neglected Dimension of Public Diplomacy, NAFSA notes: “At the heart of public diplomacy, in our view — and essential to the success of the rest of it — is the critical task of building, conducting, and sustaining the long-term relationships through which the world most fundamentally knows Americans and forms its core assumptions about what America is.”

The report goes on to set out specific policy recommendations in the areas of attracting international students and scholars; internationalizing U.S. education, especially through study abroad; and bolstering educational exchanges and volunteer-service programs. Among the priorities outlined in the report are: passage and implementation of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act; security and immigration policies that strike a better balance between control and openness; a proactive approach to attracting the world’s talented students and scholars to the United States; and expanding support for time-tested educational exchanges and the Peace Corps.

Central to the recommendations is NAFSA’s call for robust presidential leadership in support of “a major international education initiative designed explicitly to foster an America that knows, understands, and is able to communicate with the world, and to strengthen the relationships through which the American people and the world’s people can relate to, interact with, and understand each other.”

To read the full report, visit: http://www.nafsa.org/pdpaper08

Advance Praise for International Education: The Neglected Dimension of Public Diplomacy:

“To remain a global leader, America will need a new generation of leader — in government, business, and education — with a clearer understanding of the world and our country’s place in it. NAFSA makes a strong and persuasive case for the essential role of international education in producing such leaders.”

Lee H. Hamilton, President and Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; former vice chair, 9/11 Commission

“This helpful report shows how important education and exchanges are to America’s soft power in the world.”

Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard University; former assistant secretary of defense

“NAFSA conveys a disciplined sense of urgency about an issue that our nation must address. The next administration would do well to heed these prescriptions.”

Doris Meissner, Migration Policy Institute; former commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

“The association has to be commended for bringing attention to a vital issue impacting on national competitiveness. Americans need to pay attention.”

James Jay Carafano, Heritage Foundation

“This paper provides a convincing blueprint for building a more enlightened international education policy that can help restore America’s image in the world.”

Carol Bellamy, President and CEO, World Learning

With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit http://www.nafsa.org/

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

CONTACT: Ursula Oaks of NAFSA: Association of International Educators,+1-202-737-3699, ext. 253

Web Site: http://www.nafsa.org/




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